Monthly Archives: July 2016

Cultured language: why advertising authentically and informally is important

We’ve talked about translation being a creative process on this blog before, but what we haven’t mentioned recently is the need for knowledge, not only of other languages but also of the different business cultures across the world.

For any one business person, it can be difficult to specialise in more than one language and culture, but that’s where the translation industry and its global reach comes in. Translation partners from other nations, ones who can help you understand local business languages, are a huge boon in creating something that feels authentic.

Engaging with someone’s emotions makes a noticeable difference in advertising, so dry clinical language – such as that, perhaps, of someone who is not fluent – can result in an advert of less persuasive quality. The difference between formal and informal language is significant, and generally speaking we learn formal versions of foreign languages at school (and to a lesser extent in higher education). If we try to advertise using this sort of language it may well create the wrong sort of perception of a product.

Technically accurate language may get the message across, but it can lack verve. The difference between ‘It is summer every day at ‘Generic’ Restaurant and we are loving it’, and ‘Summer never ends at Generic Restaurant! We’re loving it!’ illustrates this. One feels like English, the other a hesitant translation. Ultimately, the feeling you get from an advert, like it or loathe it, should be that it’s communication from someone who speaks your language. Authenticity counts for a lot here, and if you want your brand to be internationally recognised you’re going to have to hire translators and interpreters who can provide it.

Rosetta Stone, Global Connects

Languages – more important for business, but in decline in schools

In 1996, roughly forty thousand pupils achieved a pass in Standard Grade French. Eighteen years later, and the number had fallen below half that figure. The figures for studying German reduced by a similar percentage.

Until 2015, the statistics showed a decline in the number of Scottish students studying languages at Higher. In that year there was a ten per cent rise in those taking French, and Spanish continued to rise in popularity. While there was some optimism regarding these figures, there was some wariness that this could simply be a temporary blip. Languages such as German and Italian can experience brief surges in popularity as a result of schools only teaching them in alternating academic years.

Learning Chinese – despite funding from the Chinese government – has not been popular. Russian, despite being widely spoken across Europe, is being scrapped as a Higher after a mere 41 pupils sat the exam.

Part of this has been due to the reform of the exam systems in Scotland, but it is nonetheless a worrying figure considering the potential for employment that bilingualism brings. Obviously, if you speak another language, the possibility exists for employment anywhere that language is spoken. Languages such as French, Spanish and Chinese are spoken across the world, and in the latter’s case would potentially give you a career inside the economic structures of what is expected to be the next global superpower.

Translation services will be necessary of course, as trade necessitates international business ventures and as the world gets smaller art will also be exchanged across cultural and linguistic divides. So whether you have a head for business or an artistic temperament, there’s an area of translation you can flourish in. Recently, The Vegetarian by Han Kang won the Man Booker International Prize after being translated into English from Korean by Deborah Smith. Anime and Manga series are popular in the UK, but of course someone has to translate these into English first. Alternatively you could be translating pitches and documents in business negotiations, thriving under the pressure of helping to seal important deals between international companies. Consider the travel, the chance to see the world.

It’s rare that somebody knows what they want to do with their life at school age, so it’s worth considering the options that are out there. Learning another language is, even if not a long-term thing,  a very useful skill to have, but there’s also the potential there for something greater, something that will provide for you in later life. It all starts at school. Why not include it as part of your studies?

Rosetta Stone