How To Be Effective In Your Cross Cultural Communication Efforts


On my last post, Do You Know How To Reach Your Audience?, I focused on the questions to consider before working on your next campaign. For the sake of not overwhelming you, the focus was on reaching a domestic audience. On this post, I'd like to focus on helping the companies – maybe your company – on your international expansion.



Maybe you've reached an international audience and now you'd like to focus on communicating with them through your communications efforts, maybe you want to reach international notoriety, or maybe you are thinking about the possibility of expansion. Whichever boat you find your company in, my goal here is to help you make sure you know what to keep in mind during an expansion into different cultures.


The main topic for this post and what I'll address here, will go in line with the following:


How can/will/should you navigate the world of cross-cultural communications?


As I like to do, let's see what the term 'cross-cultural communications' means from the experts at the organization of Communication Theory.


Cross cultural communication refers to the communication between people who have differences in any one of the following: styles of working, age, nationality, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Cross cultural communication can also refer to the attempts that are made to exchange, negotiate and mediate cultural differences by means of language, gestures and body language. It is how people belonging to different cultures communicate with each other.

If you're cross-communicating, that means you need to understand the cultural differences present. Essentially, your primarily goal is to ensure your global messages will resonate with the local audiences. This is, of course, done by identifying trends and insights and researching the culture and language before defining your global strategy.


Remember the following terms and understand how they differ:


Translation and Transcreation


What are they and why are they important?


While we may have all utilized "Google translate" at one point or another to quickly translate a foreign word or phrase, it's crucial to understand why it's not as useful or effective in global communications.


Transcreation on the other hand, is more creative than it is literal. And more emotional as it adapts to the culture with the intent to move the audience.


According to Lionbridge:


Transcreation is the process of adapting a message from one language into another and making it culturally relevant, resonant and appropriate. A successful transcreation will copy the intent, style and tone of the original piece, creating the same emotional reaction for a new audience.
Beckett Translations

So when you're headed international, make every effort to be curious to learn about your audience and adapt your message, globally. Do not neglect language and cultural difference, and always aim to make your audience 'feel'.