Yeah, not only am I referring to the avoidance of that movie title “Lost in Translation”; it’s so much more than that. As borders around the world become thinner and thinner by the second, languages take a great deal of importance in so many different scopes in our daily lives. Be it business, politics or basic communication skills, people are left with no choice but to interact with other cultures and their languages.
What options are there then? 1. Learn a new language. Sure, it takes time and patience, but then again not only does your resume gets fattened up, but you learn to appreciate a new culture.
2. Trust someone you know to portray the message you want to say. Probably the way to go when faced in a situation where instant feedback is needed, but will that person be at all times with you? What if it’s a business meeting and the person who you trust and speaks the language knows squat about your field?
3. Trust the instant translator on the net. Want to see what’s happened to several brands around the world when they thought this was the way to go? Here are some examples:
Russian Gazprom –> http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/01/gazprom-branding-blunder-cmo-network-gazprom.html
Vauxhall (trying to reach the Spanish market) –> http://brandaideblog.com/uncategorized/brands-lost-in-translation-nova-%E2%80%9Cdoes-not-work%E2%80%9D/
And oh well, just a bunch of them put together in one shameful spot http://dianhasan.wordpress.com/2010/08/30/culture-brand-building-avoiding-brands-lost-in-translation-risk/
Of course, we are all exposed to these mistakes once we’ve decided to step into the unknown. But we first have to professionally make sure we know what we’re doing before exposing our brand to worldwide laughter. Thus, option # 4: hire a professional translator.
Hire someone who has lived and is part of the culture you are trying to reach. Who better to know their people if that person is part of them? If you are in the Mexican area perhaps, check this translator out… I’ll give you a hint, it’s me 🙂 http://www.traduccionesro.com/
And as to avoid being biased on this matter, here’s a pretty neat article explaining the importance of the enrollment of a professional translator in your business from Entrepreneur Magazine. http://www.entrepreneur.com/ebusiness/sellingonline/article203568.html