I recently heard a story of a Chinese visitor who was reprimanded at Auckland airport for smoking. The sign said ‘SMOKE FREE’. The visitor thought (understandably) that he was free to smoke.
Why not just say ‘NO SMOKING’? That way, there is no doubt.
Lost in translation…
If you are dealing with overseas visitors whose first language is not English and you provide information to them, whether written or verbal, try to think from their perspective. It’s about giving them a great experience, isn’t it?
Being a Dutch native, I had no choice but to learn multiple languages at school as few other nationalities speaking Dutch. I was also lucky to live in France and the US when I was young and learnt French and English at a young age. And I also learnt German and Spanish in school.
So, I have always been fascinated by language and fortunate to have the ability to view things from different cultural perspectives.
Why is it so important to make it easier for international visitors to understand your messages?
How can you avoid your message being lost in translation? Here are 6 tips to provide better information to your international markets:
1. Put information on your website in the languages of your target markets. It doesn’t have to include EVERYTHING, just the info and products that apply to them. It can be in the form of a pdf.
2. Have a QR code on your brochure with a link to that information.
3. Get the information professionally translated and DO NOT use Google Translate. You can contact your RTO for recommended translation services.
4. Keep in mind that ‘kiwi English’ is difficult to understand for most other nationalities. Speak slow, use simple language (no jargon) and ensure people understand you!
5. Research cultural differences
6. Ask your customers with that nationality for feedback (is the information clear, is the guide easy to understand etc).
Have a great weekend!
Marijke Dunselman. Click here to read more about us!