How to Make Content That Crosses Cultural and Linguistic Borders

Posted on August 15th 2014

How to Make Content That Crosses Cultural and Linguistic Borders

Statistics tell us that people spend an average time of 16 hours per month on the internet – that’s a global internet population average. If we were to be more specific, say the US population, they spend 32 hours per month on an average. Capturing the attention of 79% of America (according to the ‘World’s Online Population Per Region) is already enough audience, but how about the 85% of UK’s internet population? Or Germany’s 81.85%, Japan’s 80% or China’s 34.30%? If we want to take advantage of the world’s massive population online, we must be able to write content that crosses cultural and linguistic barriers especially now that you can make your content more accessible with HTML5 conversion. Though that may seem ambitious, there are a couple of ways we can do so. Here’s five:

1.       Use Numbers

One language that surely everyone understands is numbers. Whenever you create content for your website, be sure to include numerical figures. Why? Numbers are one thing that must never be inaccurate. Whatever language it is translated to, figures must be the same. Most ebook conversion services make huge efforts just to make sure that numbers are the same across different digital publishing formats – it is that important. Even just misplacing a decimal point one place further makes a ton of difference. As a business owner, writing in numbers validates your articles. Numbers speak facts – and facts must be the same in whatever form of language they are expressed.

2.       Use Images

As they say, “a picture speaks a thousand words”. With text, it’ll take a few minutes of careful reading and a couple of grunts for comprehension before you effectively transmit a message across. But with images, as long as it isn’t some abstract painting by Pollock, you can immediately help the reader understand your content by giving them some hints. The catch here is that you have to use the appropriate pictures.

3.       Use Video

Don’t you find it so cool that Asian culture is making its way to the west? I’m not saying that I like the “Gangnam Style”; it’s just that different cultures are thrown into the mix that the mesh is a beautiful chaos – somewhat, in terms of crossing borders. We have seen videos cross from one continent to the other. This is a testament that if you’re creative and have mad skills in video, you’re video content has the potential to cross linguistic and cultural borders.

4.       Better Yet, Make Infographics!

What’s trending, in the internet especially, is the making of infographics. What are infographics, why do people love them? They are long images or video that contains numbers and facts that are presented in layman’s terms making them ridiculously easy to understand. In a nutshell, an infographic is translating heavy technical jargons into a very-easy-to-comprehend chart-like image or video. Why do people love ‘em? ‘Cause it’s very easy to understand! No need to have supplementary research.

5.       No Direct Translations

It’s funny how a lot of advertisements were lost in translation. Here’s a couple:

  • Pepsi had this slogan, “Come Alive With The Pepsi Generation” which reached Taiwan this way, “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead.”
  • KFC’s famous slogan is “Finger lickin’ good” which came out in China as, “Eat your fingers off.”

Whoah! Huge difference. If you specifically want to make sure that certain messages, maybe some key phrases, reach your readers in the right way then go out of your way to have it translated the right way – much better than have them “eat their fingers off.”

As business owners, we want to tap into the multitudes of people who traverse the internet and convert them into leads. Though we are divided by cultural and language barriers, there will always be a common ground upon which we can interact.

mishkatolentino

Mishka Tolentino

 
Mishka Tolentino is a business student at University of Westminster. She is a freelance writer, web enthusiast and social advocate. She spends her free time listening to classical music and taking creative snapshots. Follow her on twitter @mishkatolentino. 
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