Having at least some background information about a certain country is a requirement of any professional language services because of the huge impact culture has on global business. Language services, translation in particular, needs to bridge cultures in order to make your finished projects usable in another country. It is also important for the business professionals to familiarize themselves with the local culture; a foundational and necessary step ahead of reviewing projects, communicating and negotiating deals so that businesses are driven to a much greater global success. Read on while we give practical advice and explain how you can benefit from the impact of culture on global business.
Higher Language Standards Speak to Cultural Differences Not Just Syntax
The increasing number of freelance and in-house professional translators puts more competition into the language industry and gives prospective clients a much bigger pool to choose from. This has also led business executives and entrepreneurs to raise their standards and require better language services. One of the things that makes translation better is when it is transparent, or reads as if a native of the country prepared it. All translated projects should be accurate and grammatically correct, but preserving meaning while speaking to a new culture is a much harder task.
A Step Beyond Accuracy
A felt trend in the language services industry is a much greater demand for human translation. Business professionals know that AI software such as computer-assisted translation tools is as useful in the translation business as it is in any other in demand industry that requires speed and high output. Clients are becoming aware of the need to address an audience member’s culture and requesting human translation done by experienced linguists who have in-depth subject and much-needed cultural knowledge.
After researching the topic, we found that more than half of all existing companies as well as those started just this year are expanding into the global market sooner. In other words, a startup might start marketing to foreign audiences during its first year. This highlights the impact of culture on global business when reaching prospective customers if the focus is on language translation alone. Businesses can overcome these challenges and more by considering some points.
What Modern Language Services Clients Should Consider
Challenges to Language Barriers
Businesses that decide to expand into new markets need to include two key actions in their marketing plans: identifying a culture’s needs and translating material accurately. For example, if you want to build a strong relationship with foreign audiences make sure you have some idea about their social customs through one of the following ways:
- Reading current popular culture trends
- Read what your clients are reading (for example, a translated Chinese business magazine)
- Invite client to a business dinner
- Talk to natives
- Watch a few popular movies in subtitles
- Join a group on Facebook that discusses relevant topics
Familiarizing yourself with the target culture will help you develop a whole new perspective of and respect for that audience that will become obvious through your work with them.
The Effect of Culture on Business
When a business owner decides to take their business to a new global level you should have at least a basic understanding of the cultural differences between your local market and the target market. This knowledge will help you choose the best language services provider for your needs and will allow you to evaluate their work guaranteeing its usability and success for your company.
Avoid Misunderstandings and Increase Brand Popularity
Understand the impact of culture on global business to avoid misunderstandings that can result from inaccurate or low-quality language services. Common areas of daily business that become affected by cultural differences and can lead to misunderstandings are listed below.
Your company’s ability to communicate your ideas to a foreign audience is hurt when that audience’s culture is not taken into account. This is especially important if you plan to outsource any business services to a foreign company or getting ready to form new partnerships with companies or individuals in that country. Also, you should avoid the possible barriers to communication these cultural differences pose by being familiar with the language your target market speaks. You are not expected to become fluent in every language of every audience group, but a basic background is valuable.
Communication includes online correspondence and video conferences, but you may find yourself in a live meeting or on a business trip with other professionals who speak the language of your foreign audience. A common salutation or hand gesture in your culture may be seen as offensive by a foreign business partner or client. When you know that a future in-person meeting is likely, try familiarizing yourself with some of the socially accepted rules of in-person communication in your target culture. These points about etiquettes in business will help.
Etiquette in Business
Etiquettes change from culture to another, for instance, Canadians and Americans usually use first names when dealing with business partners while Eastern cultures typically use “Sir” and Ma’am”.
In China and South Korea, you have to address people formally by adding Mr. or MS. before their last names.
Business professionals in the United States, Russia, and South Korea expect participants to arrive on time. In contrast to other cultures that view time more leniently.
If you are interacting with associates or clients from Germany, you are expected to arrive at least 10 minutes earlier than the official meeting time.
It is acceptable to arrive 30 minutes late to a business meeting in Mexico.
Negotiations are necessary in any business agreement and may depend on the social beliefs of each culture to a great degree. For example, the act of negotiating is associated with forming a strong relationship in Asian countries. In contrast, Western countries view negotiating as a competition and may approach it with suspicion and caution. Knowing this will affect how you initiate a negotiation and may even help you make a much better business deal.
Business professionals across fields and specialties should be aware of the importance of culture on business success, the huge impact of culture on global business, and how it changes from country to country especially when considering language services to break cultural barriers.