Expert tips for connecting authentically with multilingual audiences

28, Mar 2022

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Expert tips for connecting authentically with multilingual audiences



When running an international business, it’s important to create a real connection with your prospects — just like it happens with any domestic business. 

Excite their interest, present your product well, establish your reputation as a trustworthy seller, then fulfill their expectations of your product and service — and you’re sure to earn faithful foreign customers.

However, unlike it happens in domestic marketing, language issues will probably be standing in the way of your international marketing. And not only language, but also some more subtle aspects of communication. 

So, here are a few tips to help you get your global campaigns right.

1. Don’t just translate — localize

This is an absolute must. Sometimes, it won’t do to just translate the words in your marketing materials — whether they are website pages, product labels, Facebook ads or anything else. Why? Because the context is different from country to country, and something which resonates with a German audience may leave a foreign audience entirely uninterested.

So, your best course is to localize your content — adapt it to the cultural region where you will be selling. This means using local language and taking local culture into account.

2. Use the local language

And we don’t mean the official language of that country, but the language of the actual people you want to sell to. 

For instance, if you are selling in Argentina, the language is officially Spanish — yet it’s a very different Spanish from the one spoken in Spain. 

And even if Argentinians can perfectly understand your website in European Spanish, they won’t relate to it as much as they will relate to a website that speaks to them in their own everyday language.

So, make sure that you employ translation services which — like we do at Upwords — can translate into the local variety of your target language.

3. Adapt to local culture

We mean “culture” in a very broad sense, as anything in your prospects’ experience that shapes their emotions and thoughts about the way you present your product. 

For instance, if you are selling to a Latin American country, one way of adapting to local culture would be to use models that look like locals — and not like Norwegians or Swedes. (Last time we checked, Thule had forgotten to do this in Brazil.) 

But there are countless other factors to consider. Here are just a few elements of marketing whose meaning, and effect can vary from culture to culture:

  • humor
  • historical and geographical references
  • artistic and pop culture references
  • gestures and body language
  • colors
  • models’ clothing

4. And when needed, just recreate

When translation into another language is not enough, and you decide to that to adapt to local culture you must recreate your material, the process is called transcreation

Don’t worry, you don’t need to transcreate everything. Often, you can localize your content without radically changing it. But sometimes, this is not possible — for instance, if your ad is based on a clever untranslatable pun in your native language, and an image that matches it. 

In this case, professionals at your translation company may find a great pun in the target language — one that conveys the same emotions as the original one but requires a different image. Your ad will be effectively recreated for your foreign audience, so that you transmit the same message to them as you did to your original native audience.

When you consider local language and culture and adapt or recreate your communication to cater for it, you are showing your prospects you know and care about them. You are inviting them to create an authentic connection with you and your brand.





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