Writing For Foreign Audiences on the Internet
Communicating with different cultures on the Internet means providing more than simple language translations of your company’s marketing content.
The most effective international websites satisfy the requirements of foreign speaking audiences in several ways, including:
1. Take into account the target audience’s mindset. Numerous aspects of communication that may seem natural or obvious can be construed in different ways by members of different cultures. Some of the more obvious examples include the use of the metric system, alternative calendar systems, different currencies, date formats and country names. For instance, people in Brazil spell the name of their country as Brasil and people in German call their country Deutschland. Evaluate the whole web experience and seek out alternatives to simplify and enhance the interaction, including useful resources such as YouTube videos, shopping comparison tools and interactive scripts that can help prospective clients make the best decision.
2. Consider ethnic and cultural characteristics and how the presentation of your audience will be received. For example, since humor is grounded in ethnic and cultural norms, American humor rude, vulgar or politically incorrect to audience members from other cultures and societies. Avoid American expressions and references that could easily be misunderstood when translated for foreign audiences, such as “New York minute”,”kick the bucket”, or “roundtable discussion”.
3. Maintain a concise message that is easily understood. Make use of easy, widely used words; write simple, straightforward, sentences; and compose your paragraphs using active voice when you can. Identify state and describe any abbreviations, acronyms, and words that might not be familiar to your foreign audience.
4. Supplement your written content with applicable graphics, pictures and charts. Use illustrations, pictures and videos support written messages and help audiences grasp complex subject matter.
5. Seek the advice of native language professionals who are expert in your subject matter. Professional translators may have expert knowledge about terminology that is used in your field.