Porky Pies? Cultural Adaptation when Going Global

Transcreation during localization and translation quality control

porky pies and cultural adaptation

While in London at the Olympics, Al Roker from the Today Show on NBC had three trivia cultural adaptation questions. He asked them 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?

Importance of Cultural Adaptation

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

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

Translators

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 they have to make changes.

Reviewers or Editors

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 during the translation stage and recommend transcreation. This is critical when cultural adaptations are in the mix.

Proofreaders

We lastly always recommend an in-country quality assurance proof step.
Product experts in the countries it is intended for should perform it. It is done after the translated material or localized software is ready. This step is similar to the beta-testing that takes place on the source language software locally. Or when editing the source manuals. International runtime QA and in-country proof will detect any translations made out of context. It will also detect 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 sidestep 1 or even 2 of the above 3. Some 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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