Showing posts with label geography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label geography. Show all posts

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Translation vs. localisation: how to boost your brand in another language

When it comes to online content, I always notice cross-cultural differences, especially when there is a marked difference with Greece. I am a translator, after all.

The good news is that these local differences can be explored to boost a brand.

How can this be done?

With localisation.

ENTER THE LOCAL NARRATIVE

What is localisation? Well, localisation is just like translation, but at the same time, it is much more than that. When it is done right, it looks as if the brand was specifically created for a certain market. 

In localisation, every word is important as it determines whether the brand fits the local narrative or not. And this is crucial for success.

A localised website can help a brand find its place in the local narrative.

Some cultures prefer more detail-oriented product descriptions. Even in a website that sells toys for children, they want to see facts and figures. For them, an informed decision is what matters most.

However, I cannot imagine a Greek commercial website that sells toys mentioning facts and figures. Traditional countries like Greece prefer to see the social and cultural values behind a product or service.

For the example above, I would expect that the Greek website would mention that the toy can be given as a gift. In our culture, it is customary to exchange gifts on many occasions. Greek children receive gifts all the time: on their name days, on their birthdays, on Easter, on New Year’s Day. We do shower children with gifts.

Another example is the content that refers to recipes and food. Many Greek recipes underline the fact that this is something that children will like and thus eat voluntarily (as child nutrition is very important in our culture). Numerous milk ads feature children hopping up and down, impatient to drink up their glasses of milk, filled up to the brim.

LOOK FOR AUTHENTICITY

We cannot say that some strategies are more authentic than others. Each is authentic for its respected audience. That is why websites and online content should be localised, not just translated. Not written from scratch, but not just translated either.

Localisation begins in the target text but it is not chained to it. If something is not working in the target culture, localisation simply throws that out of the window and tries to find an alternative way to make it work in the target culture.

For example, Befana can become St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, or Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great.

Beware: this works only in the context of website commercial translations. If you are translating a novel, Befana will have to stay Befana.

Local culture, local images and local problems make more sense to local people. So, they are more likely to buy from you when your content is adapted to their preferences.

A good place to start is to watch out for:

  • Idioms and fixed expressions

  • Graphic design and images

  • Currency, geography, religion and cultural-specific concepts

Are these adapted for your local audiences?

THINK LOCALLY

Global brands are popular. People all over the world want to be part of them. People are thrilled to be able to try out new products or services.

Very often, though, the product or service needs to fit the narrative of the local market. You cannot expect loyalty from customers and clients when the product or service plainly ignores them.

Rather, it is better to present yourself as aware of the local narrative; this way, your brand becomes relevant. It becomes part of the solution.

If not, people will not be able to relate to it. It will not be relevant to them or their needs. They have to be able to visualise themselves using the product or service. They have to be able to see clearly how the product or service is going to satisfy their own particular needs.

Each of us experiences life differently. Our culture is part of who we are, whether we like it or not. And it almost always informs our decisions when it comes to buying a product or hiring a specialist. A good brand strategist needs to think locally to effectively enter a new market. A local specialist will make a difference. And localisation is key.

If you want to know more about Greek, check out this post: 5 good reasons to learn Greek.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Are you planning a trip? Think like a geographer!


I recently planned a sightseeing tour for a friend who was visiting Athens. We had less than a day in our hands, that’s why we tried to make the most of it.

How we did it? Well, I decided to think like a geographer. And it worked: my friend was able to enjoy some of the most important sights and to appreciate the unique flavour of the city, something that is not obvious at first sight. In other words, even if we had such a little time available, the choice of sights was to the point, insofar as my friend got a true sense of place regarding Athens.

Are you planning a trip or a short holiday? These three tips will help you make the most of it:

#1 PLAN AHEAD

I totally recommend planning ahead. For instance, if you are travelling in the summer, note on the map the places you would like to visit taking into account that it would be better to visit the western places in the morning and the eastern places in the afternoon. This way you avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun.

While some travellers prefer to be spontaneous and discover the place on the spot, without any planning whatsoever, I personally believe that when you have a good idea of the place beforehand you can enjoy the place more. When you are more in control of your trip you feel more relaxed and less tired, and what’s more: when you avoid fretting over details such as finding the correct bus, you can appreciate your surroundings and focus on your immediate experience.

#2 USE PRINTED-OUT MAPS

While it’s becoming more common to use maps on our smartphones, printing them out has its own advantages. For once, you save battery. Then, it’s safer when you ask passers-by for directions – if they want to run away with your printed map, let them! Besides, with a printed-out map you can navigate and talk on the phone simultaneously. Finally, it’s easier to take notes directly on the map, mark places for future reference etc.

Don’t worry about the lack of a GPS – you are a geographer now! Look for the place of the sun, and according to whether it’s morning or afternoon you will be able to locate the East and the West respectively.

#3 LOOK FOR THE SENSE OF THE PLACE

Geographers are not tourists; they do not wish to accumulate encyclopedic knowledge about places. Rather, they are looking for the sense of the place, the connections and the relationships that create and constitute that place. That’s why me and my friend, when we visited a location, we tried to reflect upon it and upon the feelings it gave us, while me, as a local, brought up some background stories of these locations. This was not done in a tourist-guide fashion, but in a way that made the place alive and meaningful to my friend who was not an Athens native.

Geography is not just locations, coordinates and historical sights; besides, too much information can be rather. But, when everything else about a place is forgotten, its sense will remain. Wherever you travel, try to discover the sense of the place.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your trip!