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Posted on 20 February 2020 by Ceris Burns

Languages matter!

International Mother Language Day was started by UNESCO to celebrate the world’s languages, and encourage people around the world to preserve them, championing the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity.

The theme for this year is ‘languages without borders’, helping to promote peaceful dialogue, social inclusion and cultural ties and to preserve indigenous heritage.

The importance of communication is often overlooked, which can lead to mistranslation and misunderstanding. As international PR experts, we know how vital it is to get your messages right.  If you’re planning on reaching global communities, and marketing to an audience that doesn’t speak English as its first language then you need to consider translating your content for that country. You’re much more likely to communicate your message successfully if it is done in the audiences’ native tongue.

However, sharing information with international audiences in their language is more complicated than straight translation. Different communication styles and cultural references need to be taken into account. It is often not possible to say exactly the same thing in another language, particularly when you are marketing an idea, product or service.  To ensure the message resonates well in a different cultural context, it may require the text to be recreated, taking into account variations in meaning and culture, in a process known as transcreation.

Although social networking has no borders, not every country’s most popular platform is Twitter or LinkedIn. You should ensure you know the most relevant social network for the country and audience you are targeting. UNESCO encourages and supports the inclusion of multilingualism in the digital world, and the creation and dissemination of content in local languages on the Internet and mass communication channels, and multilingual access to digital resources in the cyberspace.

Other important considerations that need to be factored into your international communications include differences in demographics, time zones and regulations. You also need to ensure that you have the time and resource to respond to feedback from your target audiences.

To find out more about how we can help you successfully engage with audiences nationally and internationally, let’s talk!


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