There are many challenges that one will face when trying to access foreign markets, most of them being the same as the ones one has to face when trying to access any market, such as a lack of technology, unreliable supply chains, inability to process all the information one gathers in a timely fashion, et cetera. The bigger problems with trying to access foreign markets, however, are the linguistic barriers, and attached to those, the cultural ones. They are issues that are very delicate when it comes to translating matters like mobile Apps, websites and software, to name a few examples.

Language and culture are very tightly intertwined with each other. As language is a way to express thoughts and concepts, it is influenced by culture, seeing how one only uses words or expressions that are needed to convey one’s ideas about the things that are of interest in one’s particular aestheticism. This means that, when translating, words are not the only thing that should be translated. The message - and its context - that has to be conveyed should also stay the same, meaning that the cultural background should be taken into account during translation so that the translated product complies with the original.

Specific Types of Linguistic and Cultural Barriers and How to Surpass Them

The most basic problem is the one of routine communication. This is something that can different from culture to culture, and therefore from language to language. With culture, a population is used to thinking and perceiving things in certain manners. This means that there is a certain essence to the words they use, which can be easily lost in translation. In order to avoid this problem, one can simply do some background research on the type of culture that the language is correlated with. An example of a situation where such research may be useful is seen in the difference between how people from different cultures greet one another. We can use English and Chinese as example languages: In England one may address another person by saying “Hello!” as this is a generally accepted and normal way to greet someone in the English culture, whereas in China you might hear “Have you eaten?” (Roughly translated) instead, which is a greeting that was established in their culture after a long period of famine in more ancient times. This example clearly depicts how large the differences in similar small expressions may be from language to language, and how important it is to pay attention to such details.

Paying attention to preserving details is another way to prevent avoidable unnecessary mistakes in translation. What exactly is seen as a normal way of expressing oneself in the language one is translating from, and how can these be converted into the language that is being translated to? What does the original text try to get across? How are the concepts worded, and what is the effect of this on the overall image and outcome? Trying to keep all of these things intact during translation is a crucial and highly technical cause, which is required for a translation of high quality.

It is not only about preserving the language that is translated from, though: the language targeted at the end of a translation also plays a large role in being able to access a foreign market. There may be certain expressions that are simply not used in the target language. This may cause a translator to need to be creative in order to find a way to make sure the message still can be converted, while still making sure that the target audience is able to grasp said concept in a way that feels natural.

Result of Considering Problems in Accessing Foreign Markets

A translation may be adequate, even when not incorporating the difference between cultures. It will, however, make a very primitive impression on your targeted market and clients. Your business will seem a lot professional when attention is paid to cultural characteristics and distinctions, causing clients to put more of their trust in your concepts. This is shown in a survey done at Common Sense Advisory, which found that 72.1% of the 2,430 consumers from 8 countries surveyed spend most of their time on websites in their own language, and 72.4% would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language. An additional study from the European Commission states that 19% of European consumers never browse websites in languages other than their own, and a tremendous 42% said they never buy products or services that are not available in their native language.

The statistics mentioned above give a clear representation of how important it is to know the consequences that not being aware of the importance of quality translations may have for your company. Vocabridge helps with taking on these challenges, enabling you to access foreign markets in a linguistic advantageous way that is sure to aid your business in prospering.

To discuss your challenges and see how Vocabridge can help, get in touch with us on: +44 843 289 2423 or contact us by email.

- Eva Lazar