Don’t worry, this isn’t another blog post with 10 ideas for Valentine’s Day or the best Valentine’s Day gifts on Amazon. Today we want to use this celebration as an excuse to remember how each country still has its own practices, traditions and customs, despite us appearing to live in a globalized world in which there are fewer and fewer cultural differences between countries. And why we do we need to remember this?

When clients get in touch with Tatutrad, they often do so because they’re looking for a professional translation company; but what they don’t know is that there are times when they need cultural consultancy. And that is something our translation company can also offer you, as there is an indivisible relationship between language and culture.

For example, if you work in an e-commerce company, not only will you need a translation agency to help translate the user interface of your website or product catalogue, but you’re also likely to need cultural advice. Imagine the following situation:

You work for an English company in the food sector that markets its products in Asia, in countries such as South Korea or Japan. Valentine’s Day is approaching and the marketing department wants to launch a special campaign for this day. 

Did you know that women traditionally give men chocolate on February 14 in these countries? Undoubtedly, having professionals who know how to advise you on these kinds of cultural aspects will be key for your company developing the right marketing strategy for the audience.

Of course, by this we don’t want to be conservative and insinuate that it’s only men who give women chocolates in Spain; we just want to use a simple example to highlight the many cultural differences between countries. If such a well-known international celebration like Valentine’s Day is celebrated differently in various corners of the globe, imagine just how many cultural differences there are that are alien to us.

But cultural differences aren’t only reflected in how an event like Valentine’s Day is celebrated, but also in the dates. Did you know Brazil celebrates Dia dos Namorados on June 12? This is because it is the day before Saint Anthony’s Day, the saint of marriage. On the other hand, men in South Korea and Japan reciprocate by giving presents to women on March 15, White Day. 

Once again, knowing the peculiarities of each culture can help your company define specific and effective advertising and commercial strategies to become more visible and have more opportunities in foreign markets.

That said, there’s no need to travel to other countries that speak a different language to find cultural differences. While Spain celebrates Valentine’s Day on February 14, there are countries in Latin America where Cupid shoots his arrows on a different day, like Bolivia, where the Day of Love is celebrated on September 21. Although Spanish is spoken in lots of countries, the cultural and linguistic differences between countries, regions and even areas can be huge. That’s why Tatutrad also offers an adaptation service. 

Just as there are differences between British, American and Australian English, not all Spanish speakers in the world speak the same variant; morphosyntatic differences (such as addressing somebody as “vos” in Argentina and Uruguay) or lexical differences (móvil – mobile, celular – cell phone) must be taken into account if a text written by someone from Mexico, for example, is to have the same effect on people in Colombia. 

So, if you’re currently looking to export your business to both Spain and Latin America, you should invest in adaptation so that your message, product or service is equally effective in both markets.

And seeing as we’re talking about Valentine’s Day, we can’t not mention the colour red. In the United Kingdom, red is clearly linked to Valentine’s Day, but did you know that the meaning of colours changes depending on the culture? If you want to find out more, take a look at our post The Role of Colours in Product Internationalization and you’ll discover why a British company, for example, looking to market red products in South Africa for Valentine’s Day won’t make the sales they were hoping for.

As you can see, translators don’t exclusively translate texts; they also undertake tasks such as adaptation and offer language and cultural consultancy. So don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team so that we can offer guidance and advice, and so that your company knows no bounds.

Diana Lindo Cuéllar