International Marketing: Foreign Language Skill Importance

Learn a foreign language.

By: Anson Zong-Liscum

As international marketers you must have great communication and social skills in order to sell your products to potential buyers. Without a successful set of communication skill sets in your arsenal you probably will find your marketing job relatively short lived. When we look at doing marketing from an international perspective, your communication skill bars must be set much higher. Trying to reach out towards a foreign audience or consumer market is no easy task and requires much more out of you as the marketer to help them understand the benefits of your products. However, if you are able to speak a foreign language and reach out directly in a personal manner to your potential customers then you may have just sealed the deal.

Learning a new language is definitely a great challenge. As with any difficult task, in order to reap the benefits there must be hard work and sufficient time put into achieving the goal. A language is no different. For some it may take half a year to nail down a great amount of fluency in the language, for others it could take years just to engage in a normal conversation. If you are involved in international business the language skill sets almost become a necessity to achieve any further success or gains for your future. The world is becoming more global than ever and will only grow in this direction.

I list here five important reasons for you to learn a foreign language. There are of course many more reasons to learn a new language. However, I believe these are some reasons that will get you thinking even deeper about the great amount of options that will be given to you once you can speak a foreign language.

1. Connections and the development of new relationships: Have you ever thought about the amount of new interesting people out there that you could never before communicate with because of a language barrier? Those other people could be future potential business partners, customers, friends, or great contact sources.

2. Secret  communication channel: Ever watch those movies where one side of the negotiators speaks two languages and the other can only sit and stare dumbfounded? What kind of advantages can that bring to you and help wiggle you out of tough situations.

3. Learning a language branches into more advanced skill sets: Learning a new language is one valuable skill set. However, once you learn that language what other paths could that language skill set lead you on to? The paths are limitless.

4. Challenge yourself: A language is tough, but if it were easy wouldn’t every person be speaking multiple languages? Learning a language challenges yourself in ways inside and out. In the end you will find yourself a more successful, intelligent, and culturally broadened individual.

5.  Job prospects You will be light years ahead of the competition and have numerous opportunities shown to you because of your diverse skill sets.

Further Readings if you would like to read more about learning a foreign language

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Anson Zong-Liscum

Twitter: AnsonZongLiscum


Transcreation: The New Essential International Marketing Tool

Mitsubishi Ad

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By: Anson Zong-Liscum

Businesses these days are no longer working just within their own national borders and dealing with just domestic consumers. These days businesses are all about becoming global and gaining as large of an international audience as they are capable of reaching out too. The term international reaches new levels each year and continues to advance into newer areas that may not have even thought would be related. With around 200 countries known to exist in the world today, the international market continues to grow and pose new dilemmas for business marketers to deal with. A major problem for many global marketers has been with languages. With hundreds of languages and local dialects it can be a huge mess quick for international marketers to direct their products accurately and efficiently towards. Many companies have fought through many of the language issues by hiring translators to literally translate the words or slogans into a direct  representation of the words. This has brought both positive and negative feedback for companies. In most case scenarios, international companies have fought through their early trial errors and dealt with them immediately. However, a new riddle has developed for marketers to learn to adapt and deal with. This is with the very recently developed word known as Transcreation.

Transcreation is defined by marketers as “ The process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone and context.”  The main goal behind transcreation is to successfully transfer the same emotional appeal and cultural context of the original ad to a whole new culture. This indeed is a very difficult and time consuming task for marketers to successfully bring to an international marketing campaign. A job for a translator no longer is just rewording the same phrase into a new language, but to bring about the same important style and intention that was originally behind the meaning of the phrase. Consumers must understand the same message in every part of the world in a similar fashion that relates to their cultural backgrounds. Thus, marketers must develop a deeper understanding and much broader view of each cultural background they reach out towards. This can include everything from cultural colors, high/low context cultural traits, design orientations, distinct traits, and specific interest desires for each country. What is acceptable in a Middle Eastern culture will definitely not be acceptable in an Eastern culture. As an international marketer you must now be even that much further ahead of the curve. What worked in yesterday’s marketing techniques certainly can’t be applied to today’s campaign.  A simple translation will no longer work in today’s international marketing world.

Here’s a good source for further reading into Transcreation.

Guinness Ad

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Anson Zong-Liscum

Twitter: AnsonZongLiscum