In the travel industry, messages are targeted for different segments and group languages. While strong cultural differences make marketers aware, more subtle ones let them down, reports Travolution. It is now known by international marketers to be careful with the use of colours or numbers in Asia, and that white is a sign of death and red of prosperity in China. However, they are not so careful in communicating among English-speaking countries, whose cultures are nevertheless very different.
ENGLISH-SPEAKING DOESN’T MEAN GLOBALISED
The English language spoken in Malta is not the same as in South Africa. Expressions, spelling and grammar are also not the same. That’s why English content should also be localised and specific to one country. English is indeed the official language of 69 countries, from the United States to Australia, passing by Samoa, Ireland or the UK. Among these 69 countries, some are in America, some in Europe, others are in Africa, Asia or in Oceania. Each of these countries have a specific use of oral and written English and also of slang.
CULTURAL MISUNDERSTANDING DOES EXIST
Misunderstandings are not only due to languages, but also to culture. Misunderstanding does exist between English-speakers. Formatting is an important issue. When thinking about the date format for example, in the US, 05/12 means the 12th of May, whereas in Europe and in the UK, it means the 5th of December. Vocabulary is a much more important issue, as some expression are specific to a country. For example, British “boxing day” or “bank holiday” ring no bell in the US.
CONSUMERS WANT LOCALISED CONTENT
Content not adapted to a market, if not misunderstood, are usually mistrusted, either considered as spam or as non-professional. In the UK, content written in American English will irritate the readers and therefore disengage them. American English is treated as misspelling by UK readers - and misspellings do raise consumers’ mistrust regarding brands.
CHALLENGES FOR TOURISM INDUSTRY
When tapping into a specific market, destinations should pay attention not only to the translation of their content but also to its localisation to avoid misunderstanding and mistrust. It is important also to use country specific expressions related to travel and be clear about dates and seasons. Don’t forget that winter in North America and Europe is summer in Australia and Argentina!
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