In this series on why cultural localization is important for business, we’ll open with French and why a localized marketing strategy is needed based on where a language is spoken.
As the world becomes more and more interconnected through technology and travel, it is becoming essential for business platforms to diversify within the global market to stay relevant and competitive. This has increased demand for translation and localization services as it has become increasingly essential for international business on websites, eLearning platforms, and various eCommerce services.
Cultural localization is catering a product or platform for a specific market or region, which factors in the local language and its cultural diversities, beliefs, values, experiences, and social constructs. Why is this important? When culture is considered for localization strategies, people show more interest in the content or product. Further, cultural considerations create relatable products, increasing positive perceptions of the product and its sales.
To show you how important cultural localization is, here’s a look at the French language and how a one-size fits all approach doesn’t work for every region it’s spoken in.
There are approximately 80 million native French speakers worldwide, and it is the official language of 29 countries. French is highly regarded as one of the most important business languages as it is one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, and more. It’s also a language renowned for its history and culture; in fact, the word ‘culture’ is derived from French.
French originated in Gaul, now part of France and Belgium, after the Romans took over. The Germanic invasions also had a large influence on the language, and by the 9th century, French was well established as its own distinct language.
While French variants in different countries are generally well understood by any French speaker, there are still many nuances depending on where it is spoken.
In 1534, Jacques Cartier left to find an expedition route to China and found himself in the new world, modern east coast Canada. As French settlers expanded in the area, the French language became the native language of its growing community.
Canadians continued to speak French after Canada was ceded to the British in 1763. As Canadian French developed in isolation from the rest of Europe, it created its distinct cultural variant.
Due to its isolation from Europe, Canadian French has managed to retain French verbs, expressions, and accents that date back to 17th and 18th century France.
After France ceded Canada to Britain in 1763, the French-speaking community became more isolated, allowing certain phonetic sounds from the elite French-speaking classes to remain.
As the French-speaking parts of Canada are near the English-speaking parts of Canada and the United States, they adopt more words from the English language. Further, some words are even adopted from the indigenous population of Canada, such as carcajou (wolverine) and atoca (cranberry).
Canadian French uses more informal means of address. The informal tu (you) is used more often than the formal vous.
Catholicism is the most practised religion in the French-speaking regions of Canada, whereas France is more secular.
French is now the lingua franca of around 7.4 million Canadians, making up nearly 22% of the country’s population, as well as being one of the two official languages in the country. In the province of Quebec, 95% of the population uses French as their first or second language. Differences in slang, idioms, and religious beliefs are some of the biggest differences between these French variants. They are essential considerations when creating a localized strategy for your business.
Canada isn’t the only country deeply influenced by the French. After the colonization of Africa and even after the French withdrew from many of the African nations, the language stayed and is often spoken alongside many of the indigenous languages. 44% of French spoken today comes from sub-Saharan Africa, with estimates that by 2050, 85% of the continent will speak the language.
French is no longer just the language of France, and this evolution of the language is something to pay attention to when forming a good localization strategy.
Blunders in cultural localization can ruin any localization strategy. For example, if you were promoting an eCommerce business that sells items for children, the word gosses in France is a playful word for child; however, in Canadian French, the word means testicles! This would be a serious, albeit hilarious, mistake in any marketing strategy. The same goes if you wanted to reach the market in France but used informal tones or Canadian idioms and slang in your approach; it would make your strategy appear tone-deaf and make your product less attractive to the local market in France. While these may appear as subtleties, it’s this type of attention to culture that can make or break a localization strategy.
Related: The Top 10 Translation Blunders in Advertising
Hire marketing, translation and localization specialists to create a localization strategy that ensures quality translation that involves the appropriate cultural research needed to create a successful marketing strategy.
Consider idioms, jokes, and sayings specific to the region’s language.
Consider the context of the culture when selecting images for products for an eCommerce platform or eLearning course.
Cultural localization and creating a good localization strategy may feel overwhelming if you’re looking to enter a new global market, but it doesn’t have to be!
Into23 specialises in translation and localization in all major global languages offering global language solutions for your business. All we need is a website or file to get you started with a free quote. Contact us today for all your global quality translation needs.
eLearning courses fit perfectly in today’s modern world and in comparison to traditional learning, eLearning has substantial benefits to both learners and employers. Students who take online courses have graduation rates that are 9% to 21% higher than students in a traditional education setting. Further, the use of eLearning for companies shows that when employees take eLearning training their retention rates increased by 25% to 65%. It’s apparent that eLearning has become an essential way of continuing education and skills in the 21st century but like all technology, to stay relevant and successful, eLearning courses and platforms need to be updated regularly.
eLearning content needs to stay up to date to stay relevant, this includes not only technological features but context and tone as well. Dated aesthetics or content won’t hold the attention of a young learner and to make a course successful they need to be catered to the modern generation.
In 2017, Adobe announced that it would stop supporting flash with a phase-out that started in 2020. The majority of eLearning courses in the early and mid-2000s were once built with Flash but now HTML5 is generally the standard used in many eLearning courses which also makes courses mobile friendly. The best eLearning platforms made this transition as soon as possible and the companies that missed out on updating their eLearning software found themselves with courses that their learners could no longer use.
If you’re overdue for a revamp of your eLearning courses here are six areas to look into when updating your courses.
It may not seem like much, but visuals play a huge part in the success and retention of a course. If your course looks like something that should still be on dial-up you aren’t going to gain the attention of any modern learner.
Take a look at your images and be sure that they represent your market audience in a modern way, that includes where the photos are located and what’s in them. For example, if you have a picture of a workplace and the people in the photos are sporting 90s attire and are using massive old school computers, you’ll want to give that a modern makeover. This also means having a look at your templates and designs up to date, so if your design has a MySpace feel, it’s time for an overhaul. This also applies to eLearning localization, if you are updating your courses to expand globally make sure that the content you update with is relevant to the localized audience, that your eLearning voiceovers match the dialect and accent, and that your eLearning translations are done by professional business translation services.
With that, evaluate your templates and get them back to basics with a clean and simple look and feel that will give them a more modern and timeless feel.
If your course uses the same font throughout and follows the same format of plain content with a recap, it’s time to shake it up. Ditch the lists and bullet points and start including charts, graphs, and infographics. Infographics are especially useful for summaries as they are visually appealing and easy to read which increases retention.
Updating your old courses doesn’t mean you have to get rid of them, you can repurpose them into a microlearning library by breaking down the course into smaller sessions. This creates a microlearning library that allows access to concise content that is very accessible to learners. Microlearning libraries allow learners to jump in and quickly get the exact information they need with little hassle.
When eLearning first kicked off most of the content on it was rather static and often consisted of the information, usually laid out in short paragraphs and bullet points, then followed by some sort of standard assessment. Since then, technology has broadened to allow for the creation of highly dynamic and interactive content. Ditch the multiple-choice for a simulation, make use of videos and create exams and content that allow learners to immerse themselves with the content, and give them opportunities to practice what they’re learning.
Find ways to connect your learners outside of their courses with the use of social media. Not only does it create a community but it offers continued means for your learners to expand on their knowledge, as well as create and collaborate. It ensures that your learners have a space to ask questions and foster new ideas. This is also really important if you have learners from around the world as it’s a great way to bring people together.
Are your courses entertaining? If you’re not entertained by the content, then chances are your learners won’t be either. Creating an enjoyable course experience is one of the best ways to ensure course success and knowledge attainment. Try to avoid using too much text and don’t shy away from humour by adding images, memes, a joke, or even a comic strip. Something that will break up the course and make your content more memorable. This is especially important if your target audience is a younger crowd. Just ensure that if you are localising your eLearning platform that you use media localization as not all graphics, memes, and jokes translate over to other languages and cultures. This is why it’s important to use eLearning localization services to make sure your courses reach your learners the way they’re meant to, no matter where they are in the world.
Need help taking your eLearning platform global? Into23 has all your global translation solutions with high quality translation services and multimedia localization services by certified legal translators. Contact into23 today for a free quote to get started.
With more than 6000 languages worldwide how do you decide which ones to use for your business platforms? The belief that English is the language of business isn’t valid anymore with the increase and demand for online shopping, eLearning platforms, and eCommerce services like Shopify.
Historically, English has been the international business language but the emergence and reliance on the internet has completely altered the way we do business. In the mid-1990s, around 70 million people used the internet with Native English speakers making up for 80% of these users. However, today there is a whopping 4.6 billion internet users worldwide but English users make up for just 25.9% of that number.
If your business aims to enter the international market you need to speak to customers in their own language, meaning that integrating translation and localization into your business platforms is crucial. A survey performed by Common Sense Advisory looked at 2,430 different internet users across eight different countries and found that,
So while languages like English and Mandarin have long been some of the most important languages to learn for business, they are not the only ones to consider as eCommerce business continues to expand globally. Countries that have been on the sidelines in terms of global business now have a fast-growing number of internet consumers. Take a look at these top nine emerging languages for your business platforms.
Portugal is a relatively small European company but its language, Portuguese, has a large number of native speakers around the world, approximately 258 million.
Brazil is generally the main attraction in terms of business as Brazil is Latin America’s largest eCommerce market, it also ranks in the top five for the internet market as well as the smartphone market. Its growth has also not gone unnoticed, the British Council created a report on the ten most important languages for the future in the UK and Portuguese ranked in at number six.
Arabic is a widely spoken language, making for 274 million speakers globally. It’s also the official language of at least 23 different countries.
In the same report by the British Council that Portuguese ranked in, Arabic came in at second which, is no surprise as there are several Arabic-speaking countries that rank in the UK’s top 50 export market for goods.
Despite some of its political difficulties, many parts of the Middle East have a wealth of internet consumers and a steadily growing economy. With many Arab people only able to speak Arabic, translation services or localization is crucial for reaching this market.
Russian is spoken by 258 million people worldwide, with the majority of them located in Russia. Russia is the up and coming hotspot for eCommerce as Russia lacks a main eCommerce platform like Amazon which, makes them the last remaining major market without a dominant online retailer. According to Morgan Stanley, eCommerce sales in Russia could triple by 2023.
Capitalising on the Russian market will require, at minimum, eCommerce translation services, as the large majority of Russians do not speak English. The best method, of course, would be a localisation strategy from a certified translation company.
Hindi is the official language of India with 600 million people speaking it, that number in and of itself says a lot. While there are many other languages spoken in India, English has often been used to conduct business, however, that is changing. Hindi is quickly becoming more prominent among new entrepreneurs as 85% of India does not speak English. In a CSA Report, Hindi saw a gigantic 67% increase on the top 100 online languages chart, making Hindi a language and a market to pay attention to.
While Japan had a rough go after WWII it has since become one of the most rapidly growing eCommerce markets in the world. It’s estimated that 93% of the population in Japan use the internet and with 126 million Japanese speakers, it’s a consumer market worth noting.
Relatively few people in Japan speak English, meaning that to succeed in this market translation and localization will be required.
Indonesia is home to 277 million people and a rapidly growing eCommerce market, thanks to an increase in middle-class consumerism and a high percentage of smartphone use. In a report by McKinsey, the consulting firm has predicted that the value of the Indonesian eCommerce market will rise 800% by the end of 2022. To enter this market, translation and localization will be essential to your eCommerce business plan.
Korean itself doesn’t rank high in terms of the world’s most spoken languages but they do have nearly 47 million internet users and a very expansive and popular eCommerce market. Currently, 96% of the Korean population use the internet with its total eCommerce transaction sales amounting to 135 billion dollars USD in 2020 alone. This makes Korea a hub of interest for eCommerce business that is sure to continue growing.
77 million people speak Vietnamese and it is the main language of trade within Vietnam. With an increase in eCommerce consumerism, it’s predicted that Vietnam will have 70 million online shoppers by 2025. Engaging with the Vietnamese market and its consumers will require translation and localization as a crucial part of any eCommerce business plan.
Poland is the ninth largest country in Europe with 41 million people speaking Polish. Poland is already home to many eCommerce companies that operate in Europe and worldwide such as Amazon. Even United States officials have taken note of Poland and the importance of eCommerce on its economic development and its intense growth over the pandemic. It’s worth considering Polish when choosing what languages to add to your business platforms if this is a market you want to break into.
Into23 offers global language solutions with quality translation and localization services. With 24/7 accessibility and fast delivery, Into23 can transform your business to enter the global market and reach even more customers. Whether you’re looking to enter the Chinese market and need English to Chinese translation services or you want to step up your website or eLearning platform, Into23 specialises in helping companies with Asian languages. Getting a quote is easy, just show us your website for a free quotation on our translation services.