April is Celebrate Diversity Month, a month that aims to honour the diversity that surrounds us all. As we live in a globalised, multicultural society, embracing what makes us different only makes us stronger, enabling us to learn, grow and have a different perspective of the world.
Although always relevant, Celebrate Diversity Month appears to be particularly important this 2021 due to current, important conversations happening around the globe.
Don’t get lost in translation. At Global Voices, we connect people with different languages and cultures daily. As a translation and interpretation company, we encourage you to understand how important cultural translations are.
Representation is key
Audiences want representation, they want to see people like them in your content and want to know you acknowledge their needs, backgrounds and stories. This was demonstrated by a 2019 consumer survey by Google and the Female Quotient, which revealed how 64% of those surveyed took some sort of action after seeing an ad that they considered to be diverse or inclusive. This percentage was, in fact, higher among specific audiences such as Latinx+ (85%), Black (79%) and Asian/Pacific Islander (79%).
Translations, however, go beyond conveying a message from one language to another. Whether in literary translations or face to face and telephone interpreting services, expert linguists ought to translate a message whilst prioritising the context and style conveyed to respect intercultural communication and avoid cultural mistranslations. Otherwise, there could be areas where culture shocks occur.
The importance of cultural translations
At Global Voices, we have a pool of over 9000 expert linguists who work in more than 150 languages and thrive in connecting communities and cultures through language. Our Content Writer, Borja Valladolid, sat down with different linguists and discussed the importance of cultural translations.
Zoe Ogilby, who is an expert in French and Spanish to English translations, mentioned how “translating from a foreign language into your native language requires you to have sound understanding in both languages, but also in the cultures where these languages are spoken”. “The reason for this is to be able to accurately convey the cultural context of a text while linguistically translating it in a way that will be understood within the culture of the target audience”, she added.
Another linguist, Aida Cabrales, who recurrently does English and French to Spanish translations, expressed that, for a translation to be successful, “you need to convey meaning and emotion, you need to understand the culture of the reader to evoke the correct reaction”. To do so, “you ought to sink into the target language, diving is only possible when you know the ocean well”, she said.
It is not just what you say, but how you say it. Celebrate all cultures and languages this month of April, and every other month of the year.