• Rick White - Director of Client Services

Cultural Considerations to Keep in Mind for Inclusive Translations

Culture and language are so intertwined that it can be hard to differentiate exactly where one ends and where the other begins. We may not even realize how much our culture is amplified in our language use, but everything from social media posts to television advertisements and the music we listen to all has language in some way.


Language is more than just the words on a page and should be looked at holistically. Our increasingly globalized world requires more inclusion than ever before, making it extremely important for businesses of all kinds to invest in inclusive translations. Without inclusivity, it’s easy to marginalize your employees, prospective customers, and readers - and it all starts with the content you produce!


Why is Inclusive Translation Important?


Proper language inclusion means everyone has access to your materials and messaging, with a good user experience to boot. Plus, inclusive translations can result in:

  • Increased brand recognition and authority,

  • Creating trust and loyalty within your industry,

  • Better employee retention and job satisfaction,

  • Enhanced customer service which results in greater customer retention,

  • Reaching new audiences and generating more customers.


To create as inclusive of a world as possible, here are some cultural considerations to keep in mind when writing your content, before it is given to your localization service provider.


It All Starts With Localization


What is language localization? Language localization is the process of adapting your content to the culture of your locale and target audience. Localization services go one step further than translation as they consider all cultural customs and societal norms when extracting your meaning from the content. Without language localization, your content and messaging won’t feel natural to your readers and can feel forced.


Keep the Sentence Structure Simple


The more complex your sentences are, the harder it will be for your linguist to localize your content properly. Short and concise sentences are much easier to translate and localize as their meanings are pretty cut and dry.


Chances are your sentences are long because of unnecessary words, so we recommend going through your sentences one by one and paring down the excess. If you think you should remove a word, you most likely can!


Use Plain Language


Remember, different languages translate differently and colloquialisms are almost impossible to translate from one language into another. It can be hard to determine what exactly is “plain language,” so here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Avoid homonyms,

  • Stay away from compound sentences,

  • Don’t use words that can be considered slang or jargon,

  • Spell out all acronyms,

  • Remove any contractions and spell out both words fully.


Focus on Gender-Neutral Language


While it may seem second nature for English speakers, it is important to take a step back and use gender-neutral language wherever possible. Gender is viewed completely differently around the world, and there are multiple grammatical conventions for gender depending on the language you’re working with. In fact, some cultures don’t even have a word for the female and male genders, making it almost impossible to translate your content if it was gendered.


Gender-inclusive language means using gender-neutral nouns, pronouns, and even gender-neutral variants, if possible.


Choose Images Carefully


An image is worth a thousand words, so you’ll want to be extra conscious of what images you use, and when. While images can be powerful for maximizing your message, if the image is offensive or not relatable, you’re better off not using one at all.


There are certain elements within an image that can be offensive to specific cultures, such as gestures, clothing, and even having males and females in the same setting. Working with a localization service provider like Language Intelligence will mitigate the risk of an image being offensive as we work with native-speaking, in-country linguists who understand the ins and outs of the target language and culture. We’ll make sure your images are culturally appropriate and ready for global distribution.


Inclusivity and Localization Go Hand in Hand


The purpose of localization is to make your content feel familiar to the reader, and that means being as inclusive as possible. However, this can be easier said than done, especially if you are a business operating in multiple foreign markets and in a variety of languages.


At Language Intelligence, we’re localization experts. We have created end-to-end localization services to meet your every need, whether it is by formatting an e-learning course in four separate languages or by providing proprietary translation technology to ensure seamless content integration with your market research platforms. Our goal is to provide you with inclusive translated content, suitable for global distribution.


Get in touch to start your localization journey, today.