Translation: A Powerful Communication Tool in Dealing with the HIV/AIDS Pandemic

While a majority of the key actors involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS have integrated the term “global” into their mission, few are investing in the development of multilingual communications tools. With the rise of digital platforms, material such as the proceedings of the International AIDS conference that just took place in Durban can easily become available to an international audience. Yet, according to the FID review on HIV/AIDS and information, “most of the information that is provided is only available in English- a problem for the millions of interested parties who do not have command of this language”.

A tool to foster collaboration

In addition to facilitating access to information, translation can serve as a powerful tool to foster international scientific collaboration. The online collection of HIV/AIDS-related resources AIDSource offers multilingual research options, which shows the international scope of AIDS research. However, providing a thematic selection of abstracts from multilingual sources translated into English and then made available in other languages could help foster more collaboration and promote the work of experts from non-English speaking areas, where prevalence is high.

A tool to facilitate knowledge sharing 

A significant amount of resources is devoted to developing new campaigns and programs for the prevention of HIV. Yet, translating the resources that are already available into the languages used by the population that is the most at risk and into the official languages of the UN could help maximize impact at a relatively low cost.

Two projects related to microbicides and gender implemented by the nonprofit FHI360 and supported by USAID provide a good example of resources that could support international advocacy efforts on preventive treatment options if available in multiple languages.

A tool to raise awareness and mobilize resources

While using digital communications channels such as social media, blogging, YouTube, or coming up with a hashtag has become a necessary step to shed light on complex issue, it is not sufficient to achieve global impact. In a world of constant communication, too much emphasis is often put on finding an attractive message instead of focusing on the best way to communicate to the target audience. Integrating the use of translation in the development of a communication strategy will allow organizations to more effectively raise awareness and mobilize resources. This approach will also help them develop a global brand by going beyond translation and adapting content to different cultures. Nevertheless, creating a simple message that can be translated easily such as the Friends of the Global Fight’ #WhyNow campaign is a great start in ensuring the issue is exposed in terms that are easy to understand by all the parties involved.

Multilingual Content Can Help Non-Profits Build a Global Brand

The process of localization (adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market) has allowed companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon become the world’s biggest brands. However, this process requires a carefully planned marketing strategy involving a significant amount of research and resources. While an increasing number of non-profit organizations are integrating the term “global” into their mission statement, few are investing in localization strategies similar to the ones employed by the private sector. Here are some guidelines for non-profit professionals considering to develop multilingual content in an effort to build a global brand.

Translation vs. Localization

While communicating with a global audience commonly involves bridging language barriers, building a global brand requires more than just translation. However, few professionals outside of marketers know what differentiates translation from localization.

To put it simply, translation aims to communicate a message to a target audience, whereas localization involves creating specific content that matches the target market’s language and culture. In addition to working with linguists who are native in the target language, the localization process usually requires collaborating with a team who has expertise in adapting graphics to a foreign market, modifying the design and layout to properly display translated text, and addressing global regulations and legal requirements.

A Strategic Approach to Global Branding

Unlike for-profit companies, where the end goal drives all the communication efforts, non-profits often lose sight of the objective and get caught up in the creation of original material before developing a global content strategy.

Addressing translation and localization in tandem with content creation will help organizations allocate the right resources early on and identify an efficient workflow between the author and the team in charge of translation management. This approach also allows enough time to conduct research on the target audience, budget for the service required, and avoid rush rates when contracting language providers.

Organizations looking to make existing content accessible in multiple languages should also avoid a blanket approach focused on the translation of all the original content available. This is particularly common for the development of multilingual websites where a mix of translated and original content is often published on the same page. In addition to strategically selecting material to be translated, editing original content to fit the target audience’s cultural context will ensure the message delivered has the highest impact.

In sum, whether the final objective of your organization is to influence policy, fund-raise, educate, or engage, adopting a marketing strategy tailored to the language and culture of the desired audience is critical to achieving success on a global scale.

Top International Business Etiquette Tips

Going global?

This infographic has the international business etiquette tips you need to know before doing business in some of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Thanks to advances in technology, conducting business on a global scale has become easier than ever. However, going into international business uninformed can cost you. You could not only lose your deal, but also unintentionally offend your counterparts.

While some business professionals abroad may be forgiving when it comes to Americans being aware of different cultural norms, you don’t want to look foolish. For example, imagine that you’ve been invited to a dinner at the home of your Chinese business partner. What are you going to wear? Denim? A suit? Surely you’re going to finish your entire meal as a sign of respect, right? You’d know the answer to these questions in an American context, but business customs vary across cultures. Being familiar with international business etiquette will help build a solid professional relationship with your counterparts around the world.

JPD Systems created this helpful infographic to give you a brief overview of conducting business in six different countries so you’ll be aware of cultural differences and avoid some potentially disastrous mistakes.