The Hidden Relationship Between Language And Culture

The Hidden Relationship Between Language And Culture

Table of Contents

Language is a major component of culture because it is used to maintain and convey culture. On the other hand, culture influences and shapes language. This hidden relationship between language and culture is what forms the backbone of localization. Providers of localization services have learnt to pay more attention to cultural communication information. Without this, translation would result in gaffes of misunderstanding, unpleasantness and sometimes turbulence in communication. Most people have a pretty accurate idea of what translation entails. Localization on the other hand is basically translation hinged on cultural adaptation.

A Look At Culture

Culture can be bluntly described as the way of life of a group of people. Each one of us belongs to a particular group of people with whom we share a particular way of life. Culture encompasses elements such as beliefs, rituals, language, clothes, science and values. Since culture is learnt through relation from people, it is not inborn. Culture is socially transmitted. Transmission of culture is heavily dependent on communication. Words (ultimately language) are significant cultural symbols.

Features Of Language In Relation To Culture

Without language, it would not be possible to develop, elaborate and transmit culture. The following are the 3 most pertinent features of language in relation to culture:-

  • Language is the primary tool for communication (communication is inherent in all cultures)
  • Language is the accurate reflection of both the personality and the culture of an individual
  • Language facilitates the growth and transmission of culture

Because language and culture are inseparable, translation is utterly meaningless if focus is placed on language without any emphasis on the underlying culture. Providers of translation and localization services must therefore translate languages bearing in mind the cultural background of the specific language in question.

So why spend extra for localization services when you have the option of choosing translation services?

Advantages Of Localization Over Translation

  • Benefit from a distinct competitive advantage- While many companies seek translation services, very few seek localization services. Localization of your products, website and other content will give you a distinct competitive advantage over your rivals.
  • Enjoy a strong local and international brand- Focussing on localization will help you appeal to diverse markets across the globe. This will in turn result in high acceptance of your brand across the globe.
  • Reduced liability and copyright infringement- When you go to great lengths to clearly understand the cultural context of your customers, you are less likely to step on someone’s toes.

It is now clear that in order to understand the specific words, literary terms and even simple words in one language, we must be familiar with the culture of that nation. There are a number of highly publicized mistakes that hit the translation industry thanks to the overlooking of culture in translation. These gaffes were made by high profile companies such as Pepsi, Ford, Coca-Cola, HSBC and KFC just to mention a few.

Localization And Translation

Localization services generally involve more work than translation services and would therefore come at a premium. Companies that prefer taking shortcuts are more likely to choose translation over localization. Several research reports indicate that localization services help businesses to achieve more sales, cater to more clients, to reduce image risks, to save time and money and to increase your returns on investment. Localization services however do not come cheap. Before settling for a particular provider of localization services, it is imperative to conduct adequate research on them. Poor quality localization is no different from no localization at all. You should therefore focus on language service providers with abundant experience in delivering high quality localization projects.

Future Trans is an ISO certified provider of translation and localization services with offices in Egypt, Pakistan, USA, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. The team at Future Trans offer a wide range of services including translation, software localization, website localization, mobile localization, multimedia localization, desktop publishing, voice-over, transcription, transcreation and dubbing services. The 100% native translators at Future Trans have sufficient experience and competence that makes global brands such as Oracle, Cisco, Toshiba and Samsung just to mention a few turn to them on a consistent basis. To get a quote from Future Trans.

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