Porky Pies? Cultural Adaptation when Going Global

While in London at the Olympics, Al Roker from the Today Show on NBC had three trivia questions to Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and to the American audience in his daily “English Class”. They were the following:

When the British utter the following English words, what do they mean by them: Cheerio, Use your Loaf, and Porky Pies?

The answers were respectively: Goodbye, Use your Head and Lies. To our English speaking U.S. audience, would you have guessed these answers?

It is no secret that understanding the culture is a very important factor in ensuring proper communication.

At GlobalVision, we rely on 3 groups of people to address culture-sensitive issues that may be encountered in the localization and translation effort.

1- Our translators are mainly in-country professional translators that are familiar with the country’s culture nuances. They will report cultural issues and inquire back with the client when changes are required.

2- Our translation reviewers, who have very experienced second pair of eyes, review the entire translation against the source text. Their trained eyes are sensitive to catching problems that may have slipped through the during the translation stage.

3- We lastly always recommend an in-country quality assurance proof step to be performed after the translated material is ready or localized software is built, by product experts in the countries it is intended for. This step is similar to the beta-testing that takes place on the source language software locally or on editing the source manuals. International runtime QA and in-country proof should detect any translations made out of context or incorrect adaptations of translation due to cultural differences.

In our experience if all three steps are performed correctly, it is much less likely to run into cultural issues with the localized software or translated material.

Unfortunately, many companies side-step 2 of the above 3 and some even rely on inexperienced staff or even machine translation to perform the first step! Careful the porky pies! Read our recent post pertaining to localization and translation quality.

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