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Cultural Nuances: How Translation Helps to Reach UK Audiences

By: Admin Posted on Tue, 19-03-2024

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The United Kingdom is full of ethnic diversity, traditions, and various cultures, and is truly a unique Island based country. Currently, the UK encompasses four geographical locations, namely: Scotland, Wales, England, and Northern Ireland. Previously, the Republic of Ireland was also a part of the British Empire but gained independence in 1922. Today, the Irish War of Independence may still strike up anger against the Britishers. But the neighbors live peacefully and conduct trade on a daily basis. Even though the Republic of Ireland is not a part of the UK anymore. Both share a lot in common and most of what we discuss is also applicable in that region.

Marketing to any audience requires you to thoroughly understand their preferences, and the UK is no different. People need to relate, resonate, and have their needs felt catered to. Only then can you capture their undivided attention.

Table of Content

  1. How to Reach the UK Audience?
    1. Be Mindful of Language Variations
    2. Unique Wit & Humor
    3. Things to Avoid in Language
    4. Even More Nuances in Language
    5. Beyond Words Translations
  2. Bonus Tip To Reach UK Audience: Celebrity Endorsement
  3. But Why?
  4. Conclusion

How to Reach the UK Audience?

Today, our topic is focused on the United Kingdom specifically. I will give you some examples near the end, to help make certain aspects clearer.

Be Mindful of Language Variations

As I said at the beginning, the United Kingdom is a diverse place. Even though more than 91.1% of the UK population speaks English as their primary language. You will see a lot of regional variations in accent, vocabulary, and grammar. For instance, terms commonly used in England will vary from those used in Wales and Scotland. This is one reason why hiring a good translation company is often key to engagement. These professional linguists are experienced enough to understand what region requires what tone, vocabulary, and intent.

Unique Wit & Humor

British humor unlike American humor is not fully out of their kind of humor. The Britishers prefer dry humor that mostly revolves around wit, irony, and sarcasm. Moreover, humor that is done with a subtle approach instead of the right in-your-face humor. Here is where you see the value of the resource you may hire professionals from top-rated companies for UK translations.

A good translator will adapt your content to ensure that the sarcasm, dry wit, and irony is characterized by British humor. If you ever watch the British version of ‘The Office’ you will know what I mean. Another reason why hiring a professional linguistic translation company is better is because there is a very thin line between funny and offensive in British culture.

Things to Avoid in Language

The British actually prefer it when people express gratitude and politeness. Boasting how great you are and being super direct is taken negatively by them. They will spite you or avoid you if they think you are haughty. Even worse, they may even start to campaign against you and turn you into a meme. Another thing to remember is the class system, though not as prominent as it once was in the Victorian era. But it still exists nonetheless. By remembrance of the class system, I mean remember not to use language or images that can be considered snobbish or cater to only specific classes.

Even More Nuances in Language

Vacabulary
American English British English
Apartment Flat
College University
Vacation Holiday
Schedule Timetable
Airplane Aeroplane
Mailbox Postbox
Cookie Biscuit
Sweater Jumper

There are many forms of English in the world. But two forms are most commonly associated with global communications. One is American-English and the other is British-English. You might already be familiar with this, given the fact that it is common knowledge. But for those who aren’t clear about the nuance between them, I will explain it. British and American English sounds similar, but it has the exception of a few spoken words and written ones. Both differ from one another based on:

Example: ‘Colour’ in Britain vs. ‘Color’ in America or ‘Organise’ in Britain vs. ‘Organize’ in America.

  • Vocabulary

Example: ‘Colour’ in Britain vs. ‘Color’ in America or ‘Organise’ in Britain vs. ‘Organize’ in America.

  • Spellings

‘Put in your Tuppence’ in Britain vs. ‘Put in your Two Cents’ in America or ‘To be in a Pickel’ in Britain vs ‘To be in a Jam’ in America.

  • Idiomatic Expression

Business communication is more formal in Britain as compared to America which has a mixed approach.

  • Informal & Formal Tones

Beyond Words Translations

When you translate or localize content for another market. It is not just the language that changes. There are many other forms of communication that are equally important. For instance, people in Britain drive on the left side of the road, and Americans on the right. When translating for the UK, you need to be mindful of the date format, currency symbols, metric systems, and more.

If you translate some accurately and ignore other forms, you will lose consumer confidence. Another reason why hiring professional linguists is a good idea. They are familiar with such issues and experienced enough to provide accurate and fast translations.

Bonus Tip To Reach UK Audience: Celebrity Endorsement

Yes, that’s right. Celebrity endorsement has proved to be very powerful in gaining the attention of the UK audience. Here’s an example of your better understanding. Example

Ronaldo played football for Manchester United for 6 years and during that time he established himself as a fan favorite all over the UK. Moreover, given the popularity of the game, Ronaldo became world-famous. Hence, when ‘Clear’ launched its Shampoo in the UK, it was not gaining traction. But as soon as the same product was endorsed by Cristiano Ronaldo in an advertisement, people in the UK began to change their minds about the product.

But Why?

Well, people changed their minds because at the time Ronaldo was trending in UK news, sports, and fashion. He was an icon, and everything related to him was eaten up by the public. Hence, Cristiano Ronaldo was culturally relevant to the UK audience, as he is in many places during his illustrious career. So his brand image is like the ultimate seal of approval.

If for example, someone other than Ronaldo was used, the product would not have gained so much traction during that time. It’s like David Beckham and Victoria during the 90s. Both had extreme commercial value because of their popularity in British culture.

Conclusion

Before we sign off, another important bit of advice is to stay current with trends relevant to the UK. When you relate your content and marketing to trending topics, you are more likely to come into the limelight. Moreover, you are also more likely to establish two-way communication with your target audience. Another important thing to remember is that culture is continuously developing and changing.

A reason why it is important to hire professionals for translation and localization. If you are planning to grow your online business in the UK, Mars Translation can help by translating your business documents and localizing your digital presence. It will help you to create a lasting impact and make your mark in the competitive market there. Good luck guys! Or may I say, mates!