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How to Really Speak the Language of Your Target Audience

Speaker and crowd
in Blog

In business, authenticity is crucial to success. Audiences can tell when a company is faking enthusiasm, or bluffing its way through something it doesn’t truly understand. Vegetarians, for instance, know a dish containing Parmesan shouldn’t have a V beside it on a restaurant menu, just as motoring journalists know a van-like people-carrier wasn’t designed with the “passion” and “muscularity” described its press pack claims. Making allowances for PR hyperbole is one thing, but few people will respect a company that’s clearly missed the point.

New Worlds to Conquer

Heightened consumer savvy poses a particular challenge for new businesses. Unless they’ve been founded by industry veterans, start-ups have to begin speaking another language like established experts. Today’s astute and cynical consumers are unsympathetic to communication breakdowns or rookie errors. For instance, a manufacturer using the word ‘sustainably’ when it really meant ‘ethically’ won’t be forgiven in today’s plastic-aware culture. Indeed, words like ‘organic’ and ‘recyclable’ require detailed justification – these claims shouldn’t be made lightly. Technical industries like computing are particularly jargon-heavy, so knowing your HTTP from your HTML is critically important.

The challenges of accurately conveying information are multiplied when targeting overseas consumers. Speaking another language doesn’t just involve conversational basics and a good understanding of adverbs and gender rules. It requires an appreciation of effective sentence construction, knowledge of cultural sensitivities and the ability to accurately convey sentiments in another language. If there isn’t a specific word for the concept you’re attempting to convey, sentences require careful construction to get the point across. And just because something makes perfect sense in English doesn’t mean it’ll translate seamlessly into Slavic or Germanic languages.

Mind your Language

Considering the damage a badly-phrased comment or inaccurate sentiment could do to a company’s reputation and growth prospects, it’s crucial to get terminology right. These are our tips for making the right noises, even if it sounds like you’re speaking another language:

  • Immerse yourself in your chosen field or specialism. This is particularly relevant for new businesses, or people branching out into unfamiliar industries. Attend launches, speak to experts and read books relating to your chosen niche or market, making notes which you can refer back to when producing your own content. Audiences relish authoritative voices, but they’ll see straight through bluster – especially if they’re more knowledgeable than you. And while product brochures are relatively easy to assemble, the blogs and news stories required to maximise search engine optimisation present numerous potential pitfalls.

 

  • Study competitors. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and there’s nothing wrong with learning from key market rivals. Whether your firm is a start-up or an established presence, pay attention to competitor experiments with new innovations and campaigns. Firms with a visual element to their work could launch YouTube channels, offering behind the scenes insights or product guides. If these channels are attracting significant traffic volumes, they’ll rank highly in search engines (especially Google, which owns YouTube). It might be time to begin scripting your own clips – ensuring narration or interviews adhere to point one above.

 

  • Employ specialist translation services. USPs and marketing messages could get lost in translation when targeting foreign markets. It takes a skilled translator to accurately convey nuances and humour while speaking another language. This is where Language Connect comes in. Our qualified and experienced transcreators are attuned to local and cultural sensitivities, from slang terms to grammatical idiosyncrasies. This localisation process can make a British brand seem almost indistinguishable from an indigenous rival – creating a level playing field even in foreign markets

For more information on how Language Connect could help take your company into new markets, get in touch today.



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