Cultural Adaptation (aka Transcreation)

Think of Language as the tip of an iceberg called Culture.

Most texts relating to your products and services might only require a linguistic approach. But others require addressing the whole target culture you are trying to reach. Just as you wouldn’t try to sell your beach umbrella to the small communities living beyond the Arctic circle, there are myriad ways of sticking your own corporate foot in your mouth by not paying sufficient attention to the cultural aspects driving the success or failure of your product.

You need to learn about recycling rules for your product in a different market. You want to avoid those embarrassing translation mistakes when you name your product. You may wonder about the attitudes towards Social Media, Fitness and Food in different countries and cultures. We did too, and we found some interesting facts after performing many cultural consultations for our clients:

  • No matter how good your beer is, and how much it abides by the Reinheitsgebot or “German Beer Purity Law” (which stipulates that the only ingredients allowed in beer are water, barley and hops), Germans will look down on it if it is sold in a can.

  • No, your incredibly edgy, innovative play on words using the imperial system will not cut it in Europe.

  • You have a good slogan that took hours of brainstorming from your marketing team? Then avoid using machine translation. The results will be embarrassing for your brand!

  • The French insist that Champagne can only come from a clearly defined region in France.

  • Most countries have different recycling attitudes and rules. It might prove challenging to adapt your packaging to fit one of Kamikatsu’s 34 recycling categories.

  • The perception of numbers and money differ across the globe. In Asia, some coins have a mystical value. 5-yen coins are used for donations at temples because their name sounds like ご縁 (fortune).

Consider that you have a product or a service with similar requirements to the ones described above. Or completely new challenges. What to do? Do you need to adapt your product? Can you assume that it is an imported product and less stringent rules apply? Who is going to help you navigate these challenges?

We have helped our clients with many of these questions. And we would love to help you! While BeatBabel does not offer legal advice, we can help with the market and cultural research that needs to go into preparing for your product launch abroad. And we have great marketing copywriters, too.

Read more about BeatBabel’s service for linguistic and cultural aspects and transcreation.