Thoughts on language and communication
Federico Fellini is one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, which automatically gives him some credibility when it comes to insight on how people think (in my book at least!). Let’s head straight into the quote, we’ll talk about what it means to crisis management, and in particular communications, after the jump.
It’s not sufficient to Google translate your latest message and assume that’s that for any audience that speaks another language. After all, it’s not just words that change when you transition into another language. An exact translation is rarely sufficient even if you have the correct words simply because another language brings a different set of backgrounds, beliefs, influences, and emotional connections.
A couple of tips:
#1 – Consider how your latest messaging, tweet, ad slogan, etc. translates into another language, and how it’s interpreted by other audiences. This extends to imagery and logos as well, what might be a generic symbol in one part of the world could easily have serious implications in another.
#2 – Get a native speaker who is PR-savvy to help with your translations, interpretations, and the like. The internet makes it relatively easy to find someone who fits the bill, and whatever you spend to do it right will cost far less than having a crisis of miscommunication on your hands.
These two items will prevent a great number of the crises we see caused by failure to give language barriers proper attention, and help you take a peek at the different vision of life held by your audiences around the world.