Cultural Consulting: What Is It & Why Would You Need It?

In today’s world, many companies work across borders and time zones with greater frequency and have become increasingly dependent upon revenues generated from those intercultural business relationships. And it is for this exact reason that companies nowadays rely greatly on translation services; however, they should never brush aside cultural consulting services, as the consequences of getting the wrong message across can be disastrous.

Cultural consulting

What Is Cultural Consulting?

Cultural consulting services help companies improve the effectiveness of their communication within each national target market. They involve specifying which national markets the materials are meant to target and identifying individuals in that culture that can critically assess the potential impact of messages within the context of their own cultural, societal norms and preferences.

Cultural consultants pay close attention to things like word choices, tone, symbols, graphic, colours, formatting, and overall themes. The final report of the consultant provides information on which content and concepts require adaptation for that culture. The report may also make suggestions for changes to the original text to avoid communicating a confusing or inappropriate message to foreign audiences.

When Is Cultural Consulting Most Vital?

There are two broad types of materials out there that require cultural consulting:

  1. Marketing Campaigns: Marketing messages are thoroughly crafted to appeal to a target audience at an emotional and intellectual level, deploying familiar words and phrases to excite, intrigue, or comfort the potential customer according to the personality of the company. The issue here is that words and phrases that work well in one culture may not have the desired effect in another culture, not to mention that some messages simply do not translate as they are based on ingrained cultural assumptions.
    Cultural consulting can save companies the expense of translating materials that will be ineffective and can prevent from communicating messages that will actually harm their image.
    Cultural consulting is vital for marketing campaigns as companies want to be sure that any problematic copy is transcreated for the exact target market and that not only words and phrases, but also symbols, graphics, colours and other design elements are replaced with local variations where necessary.
  2. ELearning Courses: Here we are talking about courses in “soft” subjects such as team building or management skills, as these type of courses would be more culturally sensitive than a course about how to use a particular piece of software. Here the review should be performed by a consultant who is knowledgable not just about the target culture but also about learning processes. The consultant will research the target culture paying close attention particularly to:
    • the learning methodologies that are successful in the target country;
    • various customs and laws that may impact course content;
    • the tone expected by the audience in that country.
    The consultant’s review will examine the course content and its design in relation to the target culture, identify problematic spots, and provide solutions for the details that need to be improved or changed.
    As you see, if companies want their elearning courses to be effective in other cultures, they must get cultural consulting services.

Things To Bear In Mind

When it comes to cultural consulting, it is important to remember that:

  1. Last minute redesign and reprinting is not only time and money consuming, but also very stressful, so it is vital to make sure that symbols, graphics, colours and overall content are culturally appropriate. Failure to understand cultural differences can bear disastrous consequences.
  2. It is vital to ensure that product names do not sound offensive in another language or another culture.
  3. Body language varies depending upon the culture, so care need to be taken when taking it global.
  4. Date and time formats vary depending on the culture.

If you have more questions about the topic presented or are looking for cultural consulting services, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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