All posts by Linguistica International

The 5 Most Translated Authors of All Time

The 5 Most Translated Authors of All Time

The weather is certainly doing its best to boost the mood of the nation, but we thought it was time we also did our bit. So, rather than our usual brand of hard-hitting translation tips and tricks, we decided to explore some of the most translated authors of all time, in a new segment we’re calling ‘Lockdown Lite’ – or something.

So, without further ado, just who are the most translated authors that are uniting readers around the world right now? These figures from UNESCO reveal all.

1. Agatha Christie

The world’s most translated author is Torquay’s very own Agatha Christie. The prolific Dame Agatha wrote more than 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections. She is particularly noted for those that feature the prim but worldly wise Miss Marple and the moustachioed Hercule Poirot. Some of her most famous works include Murder on the Orient Express and The Mousetrap. With 7,236 translations of her works from English, thousands of people around the world will have their noses in an Agatha Christie novel right now.

2. Jules Verne

Jules Verne is probably not the best-known author on this list, but name a few of his books – 80 Days Around the World, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth – and you’ll quickly understand why he’s firmly in second place. With 4,751 translations of his books originating from French, the Nantes-born novelist is the most widely read science fiction writer of all time.

3. William Shakespeare

“O William, William, where art thou published, William?”. Well, according to UNESCO, all over the world. There are 4,296 translations from English of the British bard’s work, with many of his plays, sonnets and poems known all around the globe. Having received a dismal grade after trying to do an A-Level English Literature module on Hamlet without reading the book, your humble narrator has rather taken against Shakespeare – but to be fair, it probably wasn’t his fault.

4. Enid Blyton

Having sold 600 million books, Enid Blyton continues to be one of the world’s best selling authors. Her most notable works include the Famous Five and Secret Seven series, but she also deserves a huge shout out for her work on Noddy! There are 3,924 translations of Blyton’s books from English, which is testament to her enduring and universal appeal.

5. Barbara Cartland

Now you’re talking! With titles such as The Wicked Marquis, Cupid Rides Pillion and The Earl’s Revenge, Barbara Cartland was a proper writer. Focusing on romance in the Victorian era – and why not – Cartland wrote an astounding 723 novels and rightfully has a place in the Guinness World Records for writing the most books in one year. For all those procrastinators claiming to suffer from writer’s block, Cartland wrote 23 novels in 1976 alone, and we have no doubt that each and every one is brilliant.

Connecting people around the globe

We hope it has brought you some comfort to know that the global lockdown has probably given a taxi driver in Chennai the time he’d never normally have to get stuck into a Barbara Cartland novel. But it’s not just the world’s most translated authors that are bringing us together.

At Linguistica International, we are continuing to connect businesses and customers all over the world. For help with your next translation, transcreation or copywriting project, please call 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com today.

 

An antique telephone that's probably not used by our telephone interpreters

Telephone Interpreting: What is it and How Can it Help You?

COVID-19 is changing the rules of personal interactions. Over the last few weeks, many forms of face-to-face communication have become impossible, creating new technological challenges and making life particularly difficult when participants speak different languages.

Telephone interpreting is a service that’s ordinarily used by the court system, government agencies, call centres, police forces, emergency services and more. However, with COVID-19 blocking many traditional forms of communication, telephone interpreting has become an effective way to overcome language barriers while maintaining social distancing.

What is telephone interpreting?

Telephone interpreting is a fast and efficient way to communicate with non-English and limited-English speakers. Very simply, two people who wish to speak to each other but do not share a common language are connected to a human interpreter via the telephone. After each person speaks, the telephone interpreter converts their spoken language into the language of the listener, so both parties can understand each other.

Most commonly, telephone interpreting is performed consecutively, with the interpreter waiting for each speaker to finish before translating what they have said into the other language. However, there’s also simultaneous telephone interpreting, which is better suited to longer sections of speech, such as the delivery of presentations. By translating the speech while it’s being spoken, it cuts down the need for much longer and more expensive calls.

When can telephone interpreting be used?

Telephone interpreting can be used to facilitate conversations in a range of settings:

  • Healthcare – Telephone interpreting has always played an important role in the provision of healthcare to those who do not speak the native language. However, given the current crisis, many healthcare providers are relying on telephone interpreting more than ever before, particularly for more minor issues. In this case, professional medical interpreters are a must, as they understand the medical terminology used in both languages.
  • Virtual meetings – Business meetings around the world are now going online. By using the skills of a remote video interpreter, you can ensure that everyone has a voice. Video interpreters are much the same as telephone interpreters, but instead of interpreting via the telephone, they join the video call and interpret what’s being said in real-time. This allows participants to hear the speaker and ask questions in their own language with minimal delays.
  • Call centres – Businesses that operate overseas but do not have a multilingual contact centre use telephone interpreters to deliver customer services to non-English speakers. The NHS’ 111 contact centres are another area where the demand for telephone interpreters has increased.

How to get started

Do you need a medical telephone interpreter or someone to interpret your virtual meetings? At Linguistica International, our professional, mother-tongue telephone interpreters provide expert assistance for local authorities, government agencies, SMEs, healthcare providers and many more.

We offer immediate access and the best level of service at low rates. Read more about our telephone interpreting service or call 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com for a free quote.

A girl translating on a blackboard. It's a translation management system of sorts.

What is a Translation Management System and Do You Need One?

When we translate content for our clients, it’s not simply a case of assigning the task to a single linguist who is responsible for translating one document after another. There’s a whole team involved, including an editor, a proofreader and a second linguist, and a host of processes we go through to make sure that your translated content is 100% accurate, on-brand and localised for your target market.

Managing these processes in-house on a small scale can be done using standard business tools such as spreadsheets and databases, but when translation volumes start to increase and multiple new markets are entered, the complexity of managing the translation process increases dramatically. That’s when you need a dedicated translation management system.

What is a translation management system?

A translation management system (TMS) is a piece of software with an integrated package of tools that makes the translation process more efficient and controllable. It can eliminate repetitive tasks, help to maintain consistency across multiple projects and enable high volumes of translation work to be completed at the same time.

Put simply, a TMS can reduce costs, give you greater control over multiple projects across different languages and reduce turn-around times so you can get to market more quickly.

Do you need a translation management system?

It’s very common for professional language service providers, such as the team here at Linguistica International, to have a TMS platform to increase the efficiency and consistency of their translations, but when might a TMS be a worthwhile investment for you?

Many UK businesses that operate in multiple overseas markets will invest in a TMS to better manage their translation process. They may produce and manage the translations in-house or use external freelancers or agencies and have a TMS to ensure the consistency of the editing, review and approval process. An organisation producing such a large number of translations might even recruit a dedicated localisation manager to oversee the process.

What are the benefits of using a translation management system?

  • A single resource – All translation resources, such as translation memories, glossaries and workflows, are in a single, centralised location.
  • Greater consistency – You gather data about your translated content as you go, which can help to train machine translation in your company’s style and terminology.
  • Increased productivity – Implementing a TMS with a translation memory can greatly improve the productivity of internal teams.

What are the drawbacks of using a translation management system?

  • Poor compatibility - If you work with freelance translators, they may have their own tools they like to work with which are not compatible with your TMS.
  • Limited choice of vendors – Some language service agencies may not be willing to work with your chosen TMS or it may reduce their efficiency and increase your costs.
  • Cost – Most translation management systems charge on a price per licence model and often have features that are available at an additional cost for specific functionality. That can make the cost prohibitive for small businesses.

We’re happy to work with any TMS

At Linguistica International, we have our own translation management system to increase the efficiency, accuracy and consistency of your translations while reducing the cost. However, we’re also happy to adapt our process to work with any TMS you may have in-house.

For more information, take a look at our translation and transcreation service pages, email info@linguistica-international.com or give us a call on 02392 987 765 today.

 

 

Medical translation is essential for everything from information to medical products like face masks

Why Medical Translation is Crucial in the Coronavirus Crisis

Medical translation has become a central part of the academic and medical response to global pandemics. This began in 1918, in the aftermath of the Spanish flu epidemic, which swept across the globe killing an estimated 50 million people. In total, some 500 million people were infected, which was around a quarter of the global population at the time. It is thought that one of the primary reasons for the devastating impact of Spanish flu was the lack of professional medical translation. This prevented countries from sharing information about the disease and tips about how to best counter it.

The lessons learned from Spanish flu

There were many lessons to be learned from the catastrophic consequences of Spanish influenza and the way it was handled by governments around the world. Central institutions and policies were subsequently put in place and global organisations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), were created to research, analyse and share information about serious medical conditions. The aim was to create a rapid and global medical response that could mitigate the human, economic and social impact of future outbreaks.

The role of certified medical translation

The services of certified and medical translators have since become an integral part of the global response to any pandemic or natural disaster. The use of machine translation has increased dramatically over the last few years, but when it comes to communicating the latest information about outbreaks such as COVID-19 and the SARS outbreak of 2003, only trained and certified translation professionals are used. While machine translation can produce accurate literal translations, in a field as full of nuance and technical terminology as medicine, human translators provide the unwavering accuracy required.

A global shortage of translation professionals

In the current coronavirus pandemic, information is being routinely shared between nations and dispensed by the World Health Organization to countries around the world. Unfortunately, a worldwide shortage of certified medical translators and interpreters is threatening to delay the global crisis response. According to official figures, the requirement for interpreters and translators is projected to grow by 19% from 2018 to 2028, far outstripping many other occupations.

In the coronavirus outbreak, the number of cases introduced by foreign nationals has created the need for medical translators and interpreters at a local level. Having interpreters at medical centres around the world is an effective way to disseminate accurate information in a language those suffering from the virus and in high-risk categories can understand. That’s why professional medical translation is so crucial to the global response and management of this crisis.

Medical translation you can rely on

At Linguistica International, we have a team of mother-tongue medical translators with translation qualifications and professional medical experience. The result is medical translation that you can trust, even in the most testing times. Call 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com to discuss your requirements with our team.

 

Multilingual content on YouTube

How to Create ‘Sticky’ Multilingual Content on YouTube

YouTube is the world’s second most popular search engine after Google, making it a resource that many companies already use very successfully, and a platform that many more would love to break into.

The potential reach of a YouTube video is enormous, and if the multilingual content you produce ‘goes viral’, it could completely change the fortunes of your business. Even if you don’t use YouTube videos to directly sell your products and services, a YouTube channel that’s popular among your target market could become a valuable revenue stream in itself.

But before you reach for the camera and start brainstorming content ideas, it’s well worth taking some time to think about how you can build and engage your audience. 300 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute, so how on earth are you going to make your multilingual content standout?

Create content in your customers’ languages

You’ll certainly know better than us where your target market lives and what languages they speak, and YouTube gives you a very cost-effective way to target them all. YouTube operates in 80 different languages, from widespread languages like English and Spanish to lesser-spoken languages such as Azerbaijani and Armenian. Creating content in the native language of your customers, even if many of them speak a more common second language, will really help to engage your audience.

An example of this native language bias can be seen in India, where 95% of online content is consumed in local languages and dialects. Initially, the bulk of YouTube content was in Hindi, but over time, many more speakers of India’s minority languages have come online and want to watch content that has been created specifically for them.

Tick all the necessary search engine optimisation (SEO) boxes

Like any search engine, YouTube uses an algorithm to determine which videos it will show in response to particular viewer searches. So, to make your multilingual content as visible as possible, you need to make your content easy for YouTube to index. To do that, there are a number of fairly basic SEO rules you need to follow. These include:

  • Renaming your video file using a target keyword
  • Inserting your keyword into the video title
  • Optimising your video description
  • Tagging your video with popular keywords that relate to your topic
  • Categorising your video
  • Uploading a custom thumbnail image for your video’s result link
  • Using an SRT file to add subtitles and closed captions

You can read more about each of these YouTube SEO tips over at HubSpot.

When creating optimised content for your videos, such as titles, descriptions and tags, they must be consistent with the language you’re using and localised for every market you want the video to be available in. You should also include outbound links in your video description to your website and to other content you’ve created that’s relevant to the video.

Make a cohesive channel

As well as making sure that each video is on point, you should also consider the overall presence of your channel. Your channel should be branded so that the link between your business’s website, offline presence and YouTube channel is clear. You should also make sure that all content in your channel is joined by a well-thought-out link strategy and the keywords you use for every video are relevant to the topic area and market you’re trying to target.

If you produce a video that you’re really proud of and think deserves a little more attention than it would typically receive, then you also have the option to pay for reach on YouTube. This will increase your content’s visibility in the short-term and potentially give your channel better organic reach later on.

Multilingual content creation assistance from Linguistica International

Do you need help translating YouTube video transcriptions or localising content for a particular language and market? If so, then get in touch with the team at Linguistica International. Just call 02392 987 or email info@linguistica-international.com today.

 

UK beauty products destined for China

Why is China Such an Attractive Market for UK Beauty Products?

Is 2020 the year when you decide to overcome the complexities associated with global expansion and finally sell your beauty products overseas? If you’re ready to capitalise on the tremendous opportunities that exist outside of the UK, China could potentially be a very lucrative market for your brand.

Currently, beauty products of every kind, but specifically those offering anti-ageing benefits, are huge news in China. Keeping the signs of ageing at bay is the top priority for Chinese women, with the rapidly growing market for anti-ageing creams recently becoming the largest anywhere in the world.

One of the drivers of this meteoric market growth is the social media generation, who are showing an interest in age-prevention at a very early age. Many Chinese women in their 20s are spending a high proportion of their salaries on beauty products and see maintaining their physical appearance as an investment. In fact, anti-ageing products have become a higher priority for this group than other luxury goods such as handbags.

What type of anti-ageing products are popular?

Anti-ageing products are not only growing in popularity in China; they’re also extremely popular in any market that has an ageing population with disposable incomes and high consumer awareness of beauty products. While beauty is big business in the UK, that pales into insignificance when compared to the US, Japan and China.

The beauty products that are popular in these markets are much more diverse than just face creams. Hair dyes, facial massages, complex skin routines, food supplements and corrective and preventative procedures such as facelifts and Botox are all big business. There’s also a high demand for luxury spas that offer exclusive treatments and an emerging interest in high-tech beauty devices that can be used at home and in salons to detect and correct beauty issues.

Why are beauty brands flocking to China?

British brands, whether they’re vehicle makers or fashion companies, are perceived as prestigious by Chinese consumers, and that gives UK beauty products a valuable head start.

There are also distinct differences between the way anti-ageing treatments are approached in China and the West. In the UK and the US, beauty products form part of a positive self-care regime, with at least some effort to accept and celebrate beauty at every age. In China, their approach to beauty tends to be far more regimented, with a very small window of what’s considered ‘beautiful’ and a regrettable culture of age-shaming women.

Another important difference is the amount of time that Chinese women routinely invest in their daily skincare regimes. Skincare routines with multiple stages are commonplace, with many different products used. Chinese consumers also tend to be less cynical than those in the West of the claims made by beauty brands, which can make them easier to market and sell to.

The challenges of selling in China

Of course, selling in a market as large, culturally diverse and competitive as China also presents huge challenges to domestic brands. There are significant cultural and linguistic hurdles to overcome, with the localisation and translation of product information and marketing materials a priority. The beauty market is also extremely competitive and fast-moving. What’s hot one day is not the next, so UK beauty brands will have to be ready to innovate to keep up with the changing demands of Chinese consumers.

Preparing your beauty products for the Chinese market

At Linguistica International, we offer a full range of Chinese translation, localisation and copywriting services to make your brand look its best in this demanding market. Call 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com to discuss your requirements with our team.

 

How Multilingual Referral Programmes Can Boost Your Business in 2020

How Multilingual Referral Programmes Can Boost Your Business in 2020

Are you looking for simple ways to supercharge your business in 2020? Well, few strategies are easier to implement or more cost-effective than creating multilingual referral programmes.

Referral programmes are very simple processes that you put in place to encourage and reward your customers for recommending your products or services to other prospective customers. Word-of-mouth referrals can be a hugely powerful tool for businesses of every kind. Multiple studies have shown that they are not only more trusted by consumers, but they also tend to generate higher profit margins than sales made through other means.

So, if you sell to customers overseas, a very simple way to boost your international sales is to make your current referral programme available in their mother tongue.

The importance of having a referral programme

No matter how confident you are in the quality of your products or your outstanding customer service, you should never take it for granted that your customers will recommend you. Research shows that although customers feel inclined to make a referral, they often don’t get around to doing so. In fact, although 83 percent of satisfied customers say that they would be happy to refer a friend, less than a third actually do. That’s why you need to give them a little nudge in the right direction.

If you don’t already have a referral programme in place, the good news is that there are plenty of tools on the market that will help you create a formalised and automated referral programme for your business. However, the bad news is that very few of these tools allow you to create and manage multilingual referral programmes, so we’re here to give you a little help.

How to create successful multilingual referral programmes

Whatever country your overseas customers are from, you must take them through the entire referral journey in their language, otherwise they’ll decide that their efforts are not worth the reward. The person they make the recommendation to is also likely to speak the same language, so the referral path must take them to content that has been translated and localised specifically for them.

To increase the success of your multilingual referral programme, you should adhere to the EAST framework, which is often used by policymakers to encourage the public to adhere to certain behaviours. You should make it Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely for users to make a referral by following these simple steps:

  • Easy – Give your customers an easy way to make referrals to your business. Place a ‘share’ button at the end of your payment process and offer discounts that customers can share with their friends that are available with a single button.
  • Attractive – Giving customers the right incentive can make a big difference to your referral rates. Some businesses offer discounts to customers who successfully recommend products to their friends, while others provide service upgrades and even cash rewards.
  • Social – Social validation is enough of a reward in itself for some customers, particularly in highly collectivist cultures such as China. Giving customers easy ways to recommend products to their friends on social channels is a cost-effective way to market your business to hundreds of potential new customers.
  • Timely – When is the best time to ask a customer to recommend your business? Success rates tend to be highest not immediately after purchase but at a later date, once customers have had time to use your products and form their opinions.

Capturing customer referrals is not rocket science. By creating a simple referral programme that’s delivered at the right time and in the customer’s native language, you can greatly increase your sales.

How we can help

At Linguistica International, we can help you translate and transcreate your referral programmes to get your customers talking, wherever they are. To find out more, please call 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com today.

Get your international export labelling right of there'll be no gifts this year

Your International Export Labelling Checklist

With the festive season upon us, we thought we’d take the opportunity to share something that would really get you in the mood. And it doesn’t get much more Christmassy than international export labelling!

Those of you who think that export labels are just about the antithesis of Christmas are about to be proved very wrong. We all know Father Christmas is real – that goes without saying – but he can’t deliver every gift we’ll receive this Christmas. Sometimes there’s just not enough room in the sleigh. That’s where international shipping can help.

If Christmas is going to be one to remember this year, then it’s essential that all the international companies you’ve been ordering from get their international export labelling right!

International export labelling 101

As UK exporters will know, every market has its own set of rules. However, no matter where your products go, some rules are relatively constant. This includes the following:

  • Language

It’s a universal rule that all labels must be printed in the official language or languages of the destination country. All the information included on your labels must be translated accurately, as any errors could put your products in violation of local rules. The most notable exception to this rule is a trademark. Trademarks can still be written in English, but only if they have been registered in English in the destination country.

  • Country of origin

The vast majority of destinations require products entering the country to be labelled with their country of origin in the local language. For example, products in the UK but are shipped from China, must be labelled ‘Made in China’. The best practice is to use the most recognisable abbreviations, such as the ‘UK’ or ‘US’, where they exist.

  • The name and location of the manufacturer, packer or distributor

Many countries also ask that the name and location of the manufacturer, packer or distributor are included on the export label. This is known as the ‘declaration of responsibility’, as it provides the details of the party responsible for introducing the product in package form. If the responsible person is a business, then the label must list the legal name of that company.

  •  Product descriptions

The requirement for product descriptions depends largely on the type of product you’re selling and the destination country. However, you’ll typically need to include details of the contents of the product in the local language, along with the net quantity of the item in the measuring system of the destination country.

  • Compliance marks

Some products must also be labelled with a compliance mark, which signals that the product complies with a regulatory standard in the destination country. For example, any product in a category that’s covered by a CE mark must display that mark on its label if it’s to be sold in the EU.

What if you get your international export labelling wrong?

If you do not include the required information on your export labels or it’s not translated accurately into the local language, then your products may not make it through customs. This will lead to significant waste, high costs and unhappy customers.

At Linguistica International, our export labelling translation experts ensure  thatyour products comply with the relevant regulations before they’re shipped. To find out more, give us a call on 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com today.

Could Southeast Asia be Your Next Overseas Ecommerce Market

Could Southeast Asia be Your Next Overseas Ecommerce Market?

With new internet users coming online all the time, and a young population with lofty consumer ambitions that local retailers can’t satisfy, Southeast Asia holds plenty of promise for online retailers.

Southeast Asia consists of five dominant countries including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, each boasting a large population and a vibrant economy. It’s also made up of some much smaller but very wealthy territories such as Singapore and Brunei. Much of this region already has an established ecommerce sector, but it’s the scale of its growth that’s creating so much interest from domestic ecommerce retailers.

The opportunity

Every month, nearly four million people go online for the first time in Southeast Asia, adding to the 350 million existing internet users. There’s also an increasingly urban population with incomes that are steadily rising, meaning many consumers have money to spend but are unable to find domestic retailers that can meet their needs. That makes cross-border ecommerce an increasingly common solution.

The majority of people in Southeast Asia access the internet from their smartphones rather than computers. Therefore, a mobile-first strategy essential for any online retailer intent on cracking this potentially lucrative market. Social media is also a significant influence, with many businesses using social ecommerce as a sales channel they can access relatively easily and cheaply.

The challenge

Although the Southeast Asian ecommerce market looks extremely promising for UK retailers that are looking to expand overseas, there are also plenty of challenges they’d have to overcome to make the move a success.

Some of the countries that make up the region have low levels of participation in the formal banking system, making online transactions difficult. In some parts of the region, people also lack the formal ID necessary to become part of the banking system. In other areas around the world that are underbanked, fintech has provided mobile-friendly solutions such as bank transfer apps and digital wallets, but these are still underused solutions in Southeast Asia.

The logistics could also prove to be a challenge for smaller firms. As yet, there is no reliable, low-cost logistical infrastructure in place across the region, so companies have to rely on a patchwork of local providers. For that reason, you’d have to seriously consider how you’d deliver your products to consumers before giving your overseas expansion the green light.

The important role played by messaging apps

To successfully enter the Southeast Asian ecommerce market, domestic firms will also have to change the way they market their products. Rather than relying on online content and search engines, Southeast Asian consumers predominantly use ecommerce apps, which fuse social media, messaging apps and shopping, to browse online and buy.

An example is LINE, a Japanese messaging app that’s incredibly popular in Southeast Asia, which combines the messaging facilities you’d expect from WhatsApp with mobile payments, music streaming and shopping tools. This type of app gives Western retailers a unique opportunity to engage with Southeast Asian consumers in ways that would not be so successful in their domestic markets. This presents a content challenge for businesses entering the region, but also a huge opportunity for those that can get it right.

Ultimately, it’s the customer experience that will determine whether your ecommerce marketing efforts are a success. Gamified and user-generated content typically performs well in the Southeast Asian market and customers must be served in a language they’re comfortable with. As more and more online retailers flood into this extremely promising market, it’ll be those that understand and meet the demands of local consumers and cater to their specific needs that get ahead.

Moving into the Southeast Asia ecommerce market?

At Linguistica International, we provide a leading range of professional translation, transcreation and copywriting services so you can speak your customers’ language, wherever they are. Call 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com today to discuss your requirements with our team.

The Impact of Culture on Buying Behaviour

The Impact of Culture on Buying Behaviour

Language is not the only factor you need to take into account when expanding your business into overseas markets. As we all know, culture has a huge influence on our thought processes, but recent research has shown that it also affects our buying behaviour.

Our culture shapes how we perceive the world around us, our place in it and how we make decisions. Add all that together and it’s sure to play a big role in how we consume goods and services. In some cases, that could manifest in an obvious way. For example, some cultures are prohibited from consuming certain products such as alcohol and meat, while cultural preferences may determine styles of clothing and the household products we buy.

However, in other cases, it’s much more subtle. Inherent cultural biases influence elements of shopping, such as trust, social interaction and time orientation (whether a culture tends to focus on the past, present or future), and this can alter our buying behaviour.

Which cultural elements influence buying behaviour?

Culture is something that consumers are rarely aware of, but it influences what feels right, normal and desirable to them. To be successful overseas, retailers must be aware when they are asking consumers to swim against their cultural tide and understand the changes they can make to bring their product or service back within their consumers’ comfort zones.

The following cultural elements may impact buying behaviour:

  • Masculinity vs. femininity – Masculine cultures are more competitive, and material rewards for success are expected. Feminine cultures have a preference for cooperation, modesty and quality of life.
  • The power distance index (PDI) – How does a society handle inequalities among people? People in societies with a large degree of power distance accept a hierarchical order, while those with low power distance strive to equalise the distribution of power.
  • Individualism vs. collectivism – Cultures that exhibit individualism are expected to take care of only themselves and their immediate families. Collectivism represents a preference for a tightly knit society where relatives or members of particular groups look after each other.
  • Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI) – This is the degree to which a society feels uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. Cultures with a strong UAI maintain rigid codes of belief and behaviour, while weak-UAI societies have a more relaxed attitude to new ideas.
  • Long-term vs. short-term orientation – Societies that score low prefer to maintain time-honoured traditions and norms, while those with higher scores welcome modern education to prepare for the future.
  • Indulgence vs. restraint – Indulgent societies allow the free gratification of basic human drives related to enjoyment and having fun. Restrained societies suppress the gratification of needs and regulate it with strict social norms.

You can read more about the six dimensions of national culture here.

How does culture impact buying behaviour?

Researchers have conducted some intriguing studies on how cultural elements impact the buying decisions of consumers. For example, a study by the University of Hong Kong found that the Asian cultural emphasis on saving face meant that even low-income consumers buy luxury brands.

Another study explored the tendency of consumers in Western and Asian markets to make impulse purchases. It found that ageing was a factor that was likely to reduce the propensity to make impulse purchases in Asian consumers, but it had no effect on Western consumers. Instead, it was cultural elements such as risk avoidance that were more likely to reduce impulse buying in Western markets.

What impact does culture have on your marketing campaigns?

It’s extremely difficult to adopt the mindset of a completely different culture, particularly if the goal of a brand manager is to persuade a new audience to change its buying behaviour. For that reason, really making the effort to understand the cultural frameworks that are at play is imperative before launching a product or service into a new market.

While academic research can play its part, it can be hugely challenging to translate academic research into actionable insights for your brand. Instead, working with a professional localisation and translation team can help. As natives of the overseas markets you’re trying to target, they will instinctively know the right and wrong ways to get your brand’s message across.

Localised marketing with a global impact

At Linguistica International, our native translation and transcreation experts will help you create marketing messages that appeal to the cultural sensitivities of customers in your target markets. Call 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com to discuss your project with our team.