Cultural Considerations When Translating

Cultural Considerations

Cultural Considerations When Translating

Cultural Considerations When Translating

(Last Updated On: August 13, 2021)


The translation is not just about converting source language into the target language; it’s an art that involves cultural considerations along with the language translation.

So, if you need to translate your business material to make it reach a maximum foreign audience, the process involved in the translation will be much more complex than covering word-to-word lexical translation. A lot of hard work and dedication is required for the elements of localization to get a truly successful translation.

When it comes to translating something that involves an international audience, it is very important to be careful and avoid any kind of offense. A simple phrase is acceptable in one country but it might cause some legal implications in the other country. Civil statutes, religious points of view, and sexual orientation are the most important and sensitive factors that can cause serious disastrous due to little miscommunication. That’s why cultural considerations are the most important aspect while translating content for a foreign audience.

Let’s have a look at why cultural requirements are important and what makes translation localized and diversified to have effective communication among different cultures!


Localization is the adaption and modifications of translation to make sure that it fits all the local customs and expectations of the target culture to make it appropriate for an international audience. Moreover, it complements professional translation. For example, women in the western part of the world wear whatever they want.

saving faces
example cultural consideration

On the other hand, women from the Eastern part of the world like UAE or other Asia countries strictly follow eastern clothing. There was a company with the slogan “Feel the wind in your hair”. It doesn’t affect the western community but it will greatly affect the Eastern market as women (even men) out there usually cover their hair.
Therefore, it’s the responsibility of a translator to localize the translated copy using the cultural knowledge of the target culture and find some alternative and appropriate phase that shows the same message. That’s how localization makes effective cross-cultural communication. Checkout our latest post here about facts for marketing translation services!


Cultural considerations are extremely important when it comes to international translation for business and marketing. The main goal of marketing is to promote the product and services to the maximum audience. If the advertising content causes any kind of offense or unintentional comedy, the original message behind the product will be lost.
As a result, what? A lot of money will be wasted and your business will be at in loss as well as will its reputation. It is very important to consider the cultural elements of content; it involves reviews of both images and text. There is a vast variety of cultural diversity all over the world; businesses need to be very careful when presenting their content to a new audience.
Religion is a very important aspect, a little misconception can offend, that’s how controversies became and led to destruction.

Let’s just take the simple example of clothing, religious significance is crucial cultural consideration for Muslim countries. Muslims are very concerned about modesty, men cover their heads and women cover their heads as well as faces. So, if you are running a clothing business in the US or UK and want to market it to the eastern world.
You need to reflect their cultural aspect during the marketing campaign. The translation copy also needs to reflect the modesty towards women. Moreover, ethnicity, sexuality, and any important factor must be considered important when translating content.

For example, Coors Light in 2013 started a campaign “Out Is Refreshing” and celebrates sexual diversity. The message needs localization before presenting to the countries where bi-sexuality is illegal.


Cultures are an important aspect of every country; it shows how people of that country are living their lives, their views, their values, and customs. We are surrounded by a lot of cultural diversity but these complex structures sometimes can cause difficulty for the translation industry.

That’s why translators need to do a lot of translation study and maximum cultural knowledge to provide accurate translation services. Here are some examples of cultural considerations:

Saving Faces

In China, Mianzi, the concept of face is extremely important. All over the country, it is very important to give everyone respect and dignity based on their position in the family, workplace, and society. In the United States, making the audience laugh by embarrassing someone else might be acceptable but in China, it’s a big deal.

localization affects translation
cultural considerations translation

Therefore, advertising copy of such translation project needs localization before present to the Chinese Audience.

Family Values

Considering family values is an excellent example of cultural considerations. The family values vary from culture to culture. For example, in India, one family refers to the entire extended family, which included in-laws as well as their extended families. However, in the USA, it simply includes two parents and their children.

Culture and Color

Color is also another example of cultural consideration. In China, for example, the red color shows happiness. For the UK, it’s the color love as well as danger however in Iran and Egypt it is the color of luck. In Japan, Africa, and Nigeria it represents power, death, and aggression respectively.
Similarly green is also another color that shows different meanings. In many Western countries, it symbolizes health, nature, and life. In Eastern culture, the meaning is almost the same representing fertility and new life. However, in the UK it means jealously. In the Middle East, the green color means wealth and luck. In some countries, it represents independence.
Understanding these small details like color is very important, rather than simply lexical considerations. It needs to be very addressed in translation and localization for businesses to expand it to the global market.


Cross-cultural research is very important for businesses. Different approaches to business also need to be reflected when translating an advertising copy.

For example, in India hierarchy is extremely important and a lot of attention is given to one’s position within the company. In Chinese business culture, savings play an important role. The women’s role in the workplace is also an important methodological consideration. In some Middle Eastern cultures, women are not usually free to work in many fields as compare to males, as a result of cultural attitudes.

Gender segregation is also an important factor in presenting women at the workplace as well as in daily life. An advertising ad in the UK that represents food terms might include men and women hanging out in a group in a café. While some advertising ad for an Arab shop needs to address a gender segregation wall, with women on one side and men on the other.


Businesses are always looking for a reliable translation provider to have effective communication with the international audience. The translation agency with a history of delivering accurate translation with the best cultural knowledge should be preferred. Cultural translation is something very that needs a lot of translation studies to reflect small details.

The translation agency must have professional translators to tackle their native language. Professional translators need to advise companies and businesses about the cultural implication for translation, and catch any misconception before it’s too late. Moreover, the translation process involves in cultural translation need to be handled carefully as it is going to reflect the message to the world. That’s why everything needs to be perfect.

cross cultural business attitudes
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