The world is a fast growing global village and for many companies, surviving this globalization will mean expanding and adapting to different local market. However, economic globalization does not mean language globalization. It includes being flexible enough to anticipate and respond to the needs of local markets while maintaining your global strength. One of the major need any local market will require from a global company will be for the latter to communicate its product and services in a language that thy can understand and trust.
Based on this, two factors will shape the success of a global company on a local market. Firstly, its ability to communicate its product and/or services in a way that its customers, employees or associates can understand. Secondly, its ability to build a long lasting relationship. Communicating in the local language or dialect of your target market makes your customer, employees or associates to have a sense of comfort. A language comes with a culture attached to it. This means you understand them. This in itself builds trust since they feel you are part of them. This is the start of a long lasting relationship as both new and old customers will keep coming back.
The impact of local language and dialect on customer, organization or internationally operating company compared to a different language
Customers don’t fully understand the content of a product or service when it is not served in a language that they understand. This makes them feel excluded and creates a lack of trust and hesitancy to purchase. Having your content in your target customer’s native language or dialect show that you are open for business. This fosters understanding, confidence and trustworthiness towards your brand.
A study published in 2020 and termed “can’t read, won’t buy ” by Common Sense Advisor Research made use of large representative samples from 29 different countries. The aim was to determine the importance of multilingual websites for international B2C and B2B and the pitfalls for English-only websites. Below were the findings:
- 40% won’t buy in another language.
- 65% prefer content in their native language.
- 73% want reviews of products in their language.
- 65% prefer content in their language — even if it’s of poor quality.
Looking down to a 2014 survey of “can’t read, won’t buy ”, the data becomes even more interesting:
- 30% of the respondents never buy at English-language sites.
- Another 30% rarely buy at English-language sites.
- 56% either boycott English-language URLs altogether, or spend more time on sites in their own language.
- 75% of respondents want product information in their native language.
Another survey from the European Commission on user language preference showed that
- Only 53% would accept using an English version of a website if there was no option for their own language.
- 44% feared that they are missing out on information because it is not available in their language (over 50% in countries such as Spain, Portugal and Greece).
From the data above, it becomes clear that language influence perception and perception determines behavior. Also, language affects the way we feel and think. Not speaking in local language or mother tongue does not only affect your customers but also your employees and associates. It can cause misunderstanding, unwanted response, adverse reactions or feelings of being offended or dominated. Although using an online translator can help, it will be of little importance to your customers, employees or associates due to lack of accuracy associate with such services. Therefore investing in a professional translation language can really help to boost your brand experience.
To survive in internationally, you’ll therefore need to maximize your chances. This you can achieve by speaking the local language and dialect of your target audience or market.
This article was inspired by the Voice Talent a British Voice Over Agency.