Communication in the modern era is basically divided into 2 categories, which are the spoken and written words. There are different situations where these two different forms of communication are used. And in some cultures there is a preference to using voice, rather than text, as a way of communicating.
A successful business wishing to engage in trade with a foreign nation through localization will need to know what the best communication tool should be used. In the Middle East, agreements reached using the spoken word can be legally binding. An individual’s word is connected to his or her honour, which means reaching agreements verbally is fundamental and important.
The Western working business places greater importance on reaching agreements using the written word. This is often in the form of a contract. In Germany, the US and France, written contracts are the norm and there is no way of arguing with that. It sometimes comes to the point that contracts can become over detailed, as often takes place in the United States. With all that detail it’s compulsory to stick with it and not deviate from it. This is not quite the same as Japan, where although it seems to be a highly formal society a contract is not always followed and often broken.
The different values that Japanese and U.S. cultures place on the importance of the written word often cause confusion when business relationships are formed. In the end the best business relationship is when each party feels it is benefiting sufficiently from the relationship. Translations in different cultures need to be precise, so that understanding takes place.
Localization is an important concept these days where companies are trying to get their product information and advertising material understood by a variety of different cultures. The worst situation that takes place is when one culture sticks with rigid rules while the other happily ignores such a strict structure. This makes translations in different cultures difficult and challenging.
Going with the flow is the best advice that can be given to a business trying to go through localization of its product to countries around the world. However, it’s a good idea to get help from an experienced translator who is adept in translations in different cultures and knows the type of language that should be used.