Now you’re talking my language

In this MultiConnexions blog, Account Manager and Head of Language Services Taylor Emerton muses on the importance of high quality in-language communication in multicultural marketing.

Did you know that one in four people in Australia speak a language other than English at home? That is insane! If that’s not enough, Australia’s non-English speaking population has grown by close to one million people from 2011-2016. So, in our population of 25 million, that is almost 6.3 million people!

Or for marketers, if your marcomms is English-only, that is 6.3 million consumers you are missing out on. People who speak a language other than English (LOTE) are substantial in size and formidable with their combined purchasing power ($100 billion annually).

So, what languages do they speak?

After English, Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in Australian homes, followed by Arabic. These languages are accompanied by strongly rooted and heritage-rich cultures. According to our latest Census, Australia’s top 10 languages spoken at home are:

1.Mandarin (596,703 people)
2.Arabic (321,720)
3.Cantonese (280,943)
4.Vietnamese (277,602)
5.Italian (271,602)
6.Greek (237,583)
7.Filipino/Tagalog (182,498)
9.Hindi (159,637)
9. Spanish (140,813)
 10.Punjabi (132,500)

But a rough translation chucked in here or there does not cut it! Artificial intelligence totally misses the human element and context.

There are many cultural components and nuances to consider when creating meaningful translations.

If one needs proof, let us think about our own language in Australia – English. What do you call swimwear? Is it togs or swimmers or bathers or something else entirely? Even in our own backyard, the language we use differs depending on where we live. And do not get us started on the potato scallops vs. potato cakes debate. (FYI it’s #TeamScallops FTW)

Language can change based on whether it is written or spoken too! Typically, written communications are more formal than verbal messages. Some languages have significant changes when they are in writing. For example, according to CMU Arabic speakers rely on Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) to communicate across dialect groups. MSA is not spoken as a mother tongue, but rather as a common language in situations where a native dialect will not be understood.

Many top tier brands have recognised the importance of addressing these audiences but have fallen short when it comes to their translations. An oft-cited example is when Pepsi attempted to say, “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” but blundered with their Chinese translation as the end result said: “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead”.

Brand messages should be emotive and show that you know and care about these audiences. A nice way to make your messages stand out in a sea of computer-generated translations, is to highlight the cultural insights, include idioms/sayings and relate back to their place of origin shared experiences.

Language, translations and speaking to these significant audiences can be overwhelming when you are unfamiliar with it, so MultiConnexions’ Language Services is here to help! We work with 100+ languages, providing expert translations from Arabic – Zulu! (See what we did there?)

In addition to our high-quality in-house content writers, we have expert NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) qualified translators and independent checkers who work together to create high quality, culturally relevant and impactful translations. NAATI experts set the industry standard and are professionally certified who have the highest level of credibility for translations.

Independent checking ensures authenticity of the language. With our multi-step process, we can ensure reliability and peace of mind.

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