Sharing positivity: business benefits of inspirational words in multiple languages during times of crisis
In times of crisis, a multilingual marketing campaign that focuses on positivity at its core can be a powerful tool for any brand. Whether your company delivers translation services or sells clothes, acknowledging the crisis in a way that furthers the connection with your customers can provide the best possible chance of recovery once the crisis has passed.
The Coronavirus Pandemic and Multilingual Marketing
The coronavirus outbreak has certainly provided businesses with the opportunity to test their powers of creativity when it comes to multilingual marketing initiatives. Rarely in peacetime have people around the world been quite so in need of positive words and inspirational input.
Brands that reach out to customers during the coronavirus lockdowns that are taking place around the world have the opportunity to build loyalty and prepare to come back bigger and better when life finally returns to normal. More than that, on a simple human level, they have the chance to help spread positivity when it is most needed. Companies that use language services to deliver multilingual campaigns can do so with more than one audience at once.
What are Language Services?
Language services incorporate translation services, localization services, interpretation services and more. From document translation to conference interpretation, language services allow companies to conduct their operations in a way that connects them with multilingual audiences, whether internationally or domestically.
How do translation services work? Quite simply, they enable businesses to convert content from one language to another. The successful translation is more than just a matter of converting language, though. To connect with customers who speak multiple languages, the business must also localize its translated content.
What is localization? It is the shaping content to suit a particular audience. This means converting measurements, dates and times into the relevant format, removing/replacing content that could cause offense (or unintentional humor), swapping out idioms and much more. Ultimately, localization maps the original content to fit with the cultural expectations of the audience in question, making it feel as though it was written for that audience in the first place.
Business Benefits of Sharing Positivity in Multiple Languages
Let’s consider an example of the business benefits of inspirational words during the coronavirus crisis. In the US, 39 million people speak Spanish natively, while a further 11.6 million are bilingual. With such a huge population of Spanish-speakers available, many businesses are able to survive and thrive by operating solely in Spanish.
However, the coronavirus has put many firms in a precarious position financially. Indeed, job losses in the retail sector alone are projected to run into the millions. The sector and its associated industries employ one in every four workers in the US – some 52 million people – and account for $4 trillion worth of gross domestic product.
A decent Spanish translator could be just the ticket for companies looking to shore up their foundations by expanding their customer base (or at least their potential customer base) during the crisis.
A professional linguist who can translate Spanish to English accurately can provide a Spanish-speaking business with the opportunity to engage with English-speaking customers. In the US, that means potentially connecting with 225 million English-speaking citizens. Not a bad result for a simple Spanish to English translation exercise!
Opening up your company to a whole new audience can also serve to make you look at the business in another light. For many small business owners, it presents an interesting opportunity to revive their passion for their business, by seeing its value through the eyes of a new audience.
Pitfalls to Watch Out for During Localization
Converting content from one language to another is not without its risks. There are two main pitfalls to avoid. The first is using translation services without using localization. While translation can result in accurate copy in terms of the language conversion, the resulting document may not resonate perfectly with its new audience.
That’s because it has not been localized to suit their particular expectations. This means that the copy could sound slightly ‘off.’ It could include cultural references that the new audience won’t get. Measurement formats might seem odd. Or perhaps the positive words used in the original language are over-used or considered ‘corny’ in the target language. These are all matters that a translation company can address when delivering localization services.
The second pitfall to watch out for is a machine translation. It’s fast and it’s free, but it’s also not good enough for professional purposes. Businesses that want to get ahead and share their inspirational words in a way that connects them to their readers should opt for human translation to ensure that quality standards are maintained. Sharing positive words can help businesses to achieve great things, so it’s important that it’s done in the right way, particularly when it comes to reaching out in multiple languages.
Ofer Tirosh is CEO of Tomedes, a language service provider founded in 2007 that specializes in translation, localization and interpretation services.