Subcultures, Localization, Language Translation and Marketing Communication

Cultures are not homogeneous entities with universal values.  Within each culture are numerous subcultures-subgroups within their own distinct modes of behavior.  Any culture as heterogeneous as that of the United States is composed of significant subcultures based on such factors as language, race, nationality, age, and geographical distribution.

Inhabitants of the southwestern United States display lifestyle emphasizing casual dress, outdoor entertaining, water sports and strong evangelical and Baptist values.  Of course, Mormons refrain from buying alcohol and tobacco.  Orthodox Jews purchase kosher and other traditional foods.  As Denver Portuguese Translation consultants point out, understanding that differences like these occur in subcultures that exist in many other countries can result in better translation and localization of products, services and other communication pieces.  Insensitivity to cultural nuances has the opposite outcome.  For example, the state of Maryland had to pull an advertising campaign including television commercials, brochures and posters that featured photos of Al Capone, a gangster who was imprisoned for federal tax evasion.  According to New York Italian Translation workers, the advertising was intended to publicize the state’s tax amnesty program and used Capone to show tax evaders what happens to those who get caught.  But leaders of the Italian-American community protested that the campaign was an ethnic slur and that it perpetuated the false stereotype of Italian-Americans as mobsters.  I believe that you can see how something like this could easily happen in other countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Germany and France that also have diverse populations.

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