In case you're not aware, today we celebrate International Mother Language Day - launched by UNESCO back in 1999. This annual celebration gives us an opportunity to reflect on linguistic diversity, and promote awareness of the 6,500 languages spoken throughout the world.
As a business, it's important to consider your customers' language, cultural enrichment and how to communicate with them in a way that fosters trust. But, with so many languages, how can companies ensure they're speaking to customers in their own, mother language? Lucie Dubas-Moorhouse and Juliette Dubois, both senior translators from SDL, offer insight on how they, as linguists, advise brands on why they shouldn't rely on pure translation, and instead consider the art of transcreation when speaking their customers' language.
- Read the whole brief and ask queries right away if anything is unclear (do not go on assuming anything because… well, we all know what happens when we assume).
- For languages that have formal/informal pronouns, make sure you know which one to use. If the client isn’t sensiblized to the subject, make sure someone tells them about the stakes.
- Check with your project manager if you will have access to a client representative for your language during the task.
- Start brainstorming and at this stage make sure you write down every single idea you might have (even the ones that you don’t think fit – you might be able to make them evolve/fuse them with other ideas, etc). See the infographic below to give you an idea of how to map out your brainstorming sessions.
- If in any doubt about a legal aspect of something: make sure you contact your project manager about it. Example: in some countries, advertising for cigarettes and/or alcohol falls under a very strict legal framework that might make your work harder (you want to make sure your client knows about it to avoid having to rework your entire proposition when it gets rejected by your legal department).
- Come up with a few propositions and submit them to your local client representative if possible (to confirm/infirm the path you’ve taken).
- Ensure back and forth communication, exchanging ideas and propositions. Some clients can be very participative, others can be more laid back, or even unreachable.
- In general, favor quality over quantity.