Why localise your project?
Even though corporate institutions use terms like globalisation, plain language and business psychology on a daily basis, one ponders why they are still not applying it as a business principle? Corporates are often ignorant and arrogant in assuming that everyone will understand their sometimes much too complicated communication in a “jargon filled” language. This has never been truer especially during an era of disappearing geographic borders and a flattened world.
Communication is key to virtually every business aspect - from acquiring and retaining customers to improving engagement and performance. More than just the words, corporates need to understand the psychology behind the words to get their message across. Simply put: If your target market does not understand you, they will be reluctant to do business with you.
Assuming that English is the world’s minimum language or lingua franca might translate into an expensive mistake. With the accelerating pace of globalisation, and the rising influence of many non-English-speaking countries, the flaws in this thinking start to show. Companies who operate solely in English (or worse even solely in American or British English) will miss opportunities to capitalize on the explosive growth in developing, untapped markets locally and abroad. These companies run the risk of misunderstanding their customers’ needs and requirements. Worse, they find themselves competing against upstarts from emerging countries who already operate in their home market’s preferred language.
The nature of business is too complicated to run the risk of getting lost in translation or not translating at all. Often clients opt for English only versions of manuals; programs; descriptions; etc. Translation is often seen by corporates as a “too expensive exercise”, not considering the Return On Investment (ROI) by unlocking potentially many new markets.
Furthermore, making the content local to a specific market is also hugely important. One cannot refer to miles in a document meant for countries who have converted to the decimal system (many as early as the 1960 where the younger generations do not even know there exist two systems). The importance of localising your product manual; description; program is underwritten by the famous words of Nelson R Mandela:
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.