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understanding cultural adaptation and when to use it

What Is Cultural Adaptation?

Cultural adaptation: What is it, and why is it so important to be successful in the marketplace?

Cultural adaptation is a process in which any company that markets their services to more than one language or culture group must be fluent to obtain success considering the current state of the global economy. It involves research, strategy, and consulting to adapt your message to the culture of the audience. Quite simply, if your consumer base can’t identify with your message, the entire point of the communication is lost.

When Should We Adapt?

Some communication is straightforward, while some is much more complex. The same goes for adapting translation to a particular audience. In healthcare communications, a clear distinction is needed. For example, cultural adaptation may not be needed in technical documents like fact sheets, directories, or drug descriptions.

But that’s not always the case. Many times in the healthcare space, emotion is involved on many levels. Two main avenues define the emotional connection in cultural adaptation through translation: experiential equivalence and conceptual equivalence.

Experiential equivalence refers to experience, or a connection that can be made for the user. For instance, asking a group of people from around the world what’s the best eating utensil to use will have vastly different responses from America to Japan to Africa.

Conceptual equivalence requires different understandings of common terms, like use of the word “family.” In America, family is often defined as immediate bloodlines: parents and children. While just south in Mexico, that same term can grow in range to a much wider definition.

Cultural adaptation requires cross-cultural differences to be addressed and dealt with to make for a smoother transition in translation, the way CQ fluency does. It is not simply the words that need to be translated to another context, it is the entire essence of the culture.

Not just translating, but connecting.

Cultures are defined by their spirit, their passion, and most importantly, their uniqueness. Recognizing the tiniest of subtleties can separate one person, or business, from the next. A business needs to understand the audience receiving its message – verbal, written, or otherwise – before letting that message go and subsequently being received indifferently. Or worse, that message being received indignantly.

To culturally adapt translated content, there must be an understanding of how culture can affect context. That’s the way CQ fluency, a leader in the world of written translation, views the importance of recognizing each and every cultural difference your audience has to offer. There has to be an adaptation of culture, blending both meaning and feeling. And with a global customer base, there will always be a need for those adaptations.

facilitating real human connections through cultural adaptation

Learn more about CQ fluency;s unique approach to Cultural Adaptation and begin connecting with your audiences today.