The Effect of Language on International Marketing Sample Essay


Selling in the simplest description efforts to understand clients in footings of what they buy. when they buy. why they buy. how much they buy. where they buy it. and with what they buy. Internationally. this means understanding civilization. How selling attempts interact with civilization determines the success or failure of a merchandise. “There are many illustrations of cultural differences that have affected selling success or failure. ” ( Buzzell ) The relationship with civilization comes into drama with the realisation that each of the consumer behaviour factors noted above varies from civilization to civilization.

One of the most influential cultural elements is linguistic communication. “Every signifier of civilization is identified in footings of linguistic communication. ” ( Umoren ) In short. every linguistic communication serves as a vehicle of the civilization of the people who speak that linguistic communication. Consequently. planetary companies. when come ining a foreign market. necessitate to cognize what is the message they are seeking to convey and what is the message they are really conveying about their merchandise.

Definition of Culture

Culture is the erudite manner of group life and the group’s responses to assorted stimulations. It is besides the entire manner of life and thought forms that are passed from coevals to coevals. “A civilized individual is one who behaves in a going manner harmonizing to his society’s criterion of behaviour ; one who has cultivated gustatory sensation for what society Judgess admirable and worthy of the human spirit. ” ( Umoren ) It is the forms of behaviour and thought that people populating in societal groups learn. create. and portion.

It encompasses norms. values. imposts. art. and beliefs. separating one human group from others. A people’s civilization includes their beliefs. regulations of behaviour. linguistic communication. rites. art. engineering. manners of frock. ways of bring forthing and cooking nutrient. faith. and political and economic systems.

Culture is a debatable issue for sellers since it is inherently cloudy and frequently hard to understand. “It is a convenient catchall for the many differences in market construction and behaviour that can non readily be explained in footings of more touchable factors. ” ( Buzzell ) Inevitably. planetary companies need to develop a capableness to carry on cross-cultural analysis of foreign markets. in order to break their apprehension of their cultural context.

“By understanding a nation’s national civilization the planetary director understands how the dwellers of that state act and organize sentiments and hence can expect alterations in gross revenues and do of import determinations based on these apprehensions. ” ( Robbins ) Consequently. the company’s international selling program must be modified and adapted to the dictates of the foreign market.

Significance of Language

As established. civilization plays an of import function in the field of international selling. Of all the cultural facets. linguistic communication may be the most critical. as it can be one of the biggest barriers a company has to confront when it becomes planetary. It is certain that linguistic communication has been involved in a figure of cultural confusions. Therefore. good communicating linkages must be set between a company and its clients. providers. employees and the authoritiess of the foreign states where it performs concern activities.

Conversely. hapless communicating can evidently do assorted troubles. For illustration. the fact that English is widely spoken in India can be really deceptive. as there is a difference between Indian English and the English we know. Some words or footings sound like English but they are Indian-English. giving them a wholly different significance. For case what sounds as “a deficiency of rupees” could intend “lakh of rupees” meaning a 100. 000 of them. ( Gonzales )

One of the challenges international sellers need to overcome is a pattern called the self-reference standard. Unconsciously. persons tend to utilize the criterions of one’s ain civilization. including linguistic communication. to measure others. “Foreign sellers should ne’er take it for granted that they are pass oning efficaciously in another linguistic communication. ” ( Cateora ) The of import thing for sellers is to see how these prejudices may come in the manner when covering with members of other civilizations.

A country’s linguistic communication is cardinal to its civilization. Language expresses the thought forms of a civilization ; what is of import and what is non of import to a peculiar civilization can be ascertained by what is present and what is non present in its linguistic communication. The words of the linguistic communication are simply concepts reflecting the civilization from which it is derived. It is the spoken linguistic communication that dominates as it changes more rapidly and reflects the civilization more straight.

Esquimaus have many words to depict the construct of snow because the difference in the signifiers of snow plays a much more of import function in their day-to-day life than say. a indigen of Bermuda or Haiti. Furthermore. regional differences and idioms may be elusive. but they can bring forth significant differences within the same linguistic communication. Americans. British. Canadians. Australians. and New Zealanders. although from the same Anglo background with less than a 250-year spread. are diverging. It is non merely with wit that one speaks of the Americans and British as two states divided by a common linguistic communication.

For illustration. indigens from Minnesota. Mississippi. and Boston in the U. S. may non be able to easy understand each other or a word may intend one thing in a Latin American state. but something coarse in another. Brown sugar is referred to otherwise harmonizing to Hispanic local backgrounds ; in New York ( azucar negra ) . Miami ( azucar prieta ) . California ( azucar coffeehouse ) . South Texas ( azucar morena ) and elsewhere ( azucar pardo ) . Four different ways exist to state tyre in Spanish depending on where one is ; the Spanish call it neumatico. the Peruvians caucho. the Mexicans llanta and the Argentineans Goma.

Former West Germans and former East Germans have trouble communication. The linguistic communication of West and East Germans diverged for 45 old ages since they were divided in 1945 and until their reunion in 1990. The Wessi. as a West German is called in East Germany. have different words and different significances for the same word than did their cousins in the East.

Habitually. civilizations are proud of their native lingua. In today’s modern universe. concerns exist in many states that one’s linguistic communication is going disused. France passed a jurisprudence in 1994 which became effectual in 1996 that Gallic wireless Stationss have to give at least 40 per centum of their premier clip music programming to vocals in French. France is seeking to protect its civilization against what it considers the punic influence of the English linguistic communication. disregarding the fact that English is the linguistic communication of pick for the hip in France. Undeniably. Gallic consumers prefer American telecasting and melody out Gallic plans. every bit good as American movies accounting for over 70 % of all box office grosss in the European Union. As a consequence. Torahs were passed in France that the Gallic linguistic communication must be used on telecasting and wireless. in all advertisement. schools and workplaces. with the usage of an English term forbidden if an equal Gallic word is available.

For a foreign company trying to come in the Gallic market. these edicts will present any figure of jobs and complication for the company’s international selling attempts. As one of several illustrations. Disney was taken to tribunal because seven of its Paris’ retail stores’ 5. 000 points did non hold Gallic labels. Furthermore. the elite in Paris lambasted the EuroDisney undertaking as an insult to Gallic cultural traditions. ensuing in Disney make up one’s minding that French would be the first official linguistic communication at EuroDisney as a response to these concerns. in order to keep the Gallic customer’s good will for the undertaking.

The Impact of Language on Communication Decisions

As the significance of linguistic communication is ascertained. its impact on the elements of the international selling mix is incontestable. As the selling mix should in itself be a merchandise of understanding the consumer. maintaining in head that linguistic communication is an built-in portion of that consumer. it follows that get the hanging the niceties of the new market’s linguistic communication helps the organisation to aim its selling mix. viz. merchandise. monetary value. distribution and communicating. more closely on the possible consumer.

Language plays the biggest function in the communicating component of the selling mix. as it may hinder communicating across groups because of a deficiency of shared or common cultural values. To do consumers accept a merchandise. linguistic communication is used to advance that merchandise through advertisement. personal merchandising. gross revenues publicity and promotion. all of which can non be efficaciously used without linguistic communication. Marketers traveling into any foreign market need to understand this and basically believe in it. This is the ground why a standardised advertizement may hold trouble pass oning with consumers in foreign states. Ad and publicity require particular attending because they play a cardinal function in pass oning merchandise constructs and benefits to the mark section. “Advertising copywriters should be concerned less with obvious differences between linguistic communications and more with the idiomatic significances expressed” . ( Cateora )

One beginning of trouble among international companies is that of effectual communicating with possible consumers. as there are many possible communicating barriers. For transnational concerns directing messages to consumers on a regular footing is a customary and critical pattern. Sometimes messages can be translated falsely. while other times when the message does arrive. its ineffectualness can do it to be of no value. “Carelessly translated advertisement statements non merely lose their intended significance but can propose something really different. obscene. violative or merely obviously pathetic. ” ( Cateora )

When advertisement. planetary companies need to cognize what their message really communicates. alternatively of what they think it announces. “A dictionary interlingual rendition is non the same as an idiomatic reading. and rarely will the dictionary interlingual rendition suffice” . ( Cateora ) When American Airlines translated the commercial Fly in Leather to Latin American states. the end product sent was to promote people to Fly Naked. Chevrolet kept the American name for the theoretical account Nova to sell it in Mexico. which means in Spanish Does Not Go. Parker made a jeer of its trade name when their ball-point advertisement Use Parker and avoid abashing state of affairss was translated in Spanish improperly. Consumers understood that Using Parker reduces the possibility of gestations. A U. S. toothpaste maker promised its clients that they would be more interesting if they used the firm’s toothpaste. What the advertisement coordinators did non recognize. nevertheless. was that in Latin American states. interesting is another euphemism for pregnant.

Several international selling experts correspond with these constructs in their Hagiographas. where Buzzell singles out linguistic communication as the major cultural component impacting advertisement and publicity determinations. while Usunier devotes considerable attending to communicating schemes. Equally far as advertisement is concerned. he observes that there are considerable fluctuations from state to state. with linguistic communication chiefly impacting advertisement transcript and mottos.

The Impact of Language on Product. Distribution and Pricing Decisions

When presenting a new merchandise to a market. consumers may non ever want it and even if they do. in most instances the merchandise needs to be well modified to suit their local penchants and gustatory sensations. “If an property of the merchandise is perceived otherwise or negatively in a foreign market. so appropriate merchandise versions have to be made. ” ( Usunier ) Language plays an of import function in this component of selling. as versions of the merchandise frequently include interlingual rendition of the labeling on the bundle to the new market’s linguistic communication. This may non ever be a straightforward procedure. as can be seen in the instance of medical containers made in the U. S. . bearing the words Take off top and push in button. which sounds harmless in its domestic market. but carries sexual and humourous intensions in the British market.

As we come to distribution and monetary value. the function of linguistic communication. piece non every bit major as with the two antecedently discussed elements of the selling mix. it is by no agencies insignificant. A instead significant organic structure of authorship is utilised when covering with foreign distribution systems ( Usunier ) . the length of which vary harmonizing to civilization. necessitating a instead extended deployment of the foreign country’s linguistic communication. One could reason that linguistic communication. as a dimension of civilization. decidedly affects the quality of the relationship between makers and their foreign-based distributers.

Keeping checks on the legal and economic forces at drama in a foreign market. both of which affect the monetary value degree. necessitates a high grade of expertness in the foreign country’s linguistic communication. Additionally. as with the component of distribution. cognition of the new market’s linguistic communication facilitates communicating with trade mediators. who mostly affect the scene of the product’s monetary value. In assorted civilizations. linguistic communication plays a decisive function as an interaction instrument for bargaining and communicating. with respect to pricing. ( Usunier )

Examples of Language Blunders Made by International Sellers

By and large. the major blooper in linguistic communication comes from mistranslation. deficiency of apprehension of slang or parlances in the native linguistic communication and usage of the incorrect idiom. which normally causes the company big sums of money already spent on selling. distribution. packaging. etc. The name Coca-Cola in China was foremost rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately. the Coke company did non detect until after 1000s of marks had been printed that the phrase means bite the wax polliwog or female Equus caballus stuffed with wax depending on the idiom. Coke so researched 40. 000 Chinese characters and found a close phonic equivalent. ko-kou-ko-le. which can be slackly translated as felicity in the oral cavity.

A Spanish interlingual rendition for Budweiser ; King of Beer used the incorrect gender ; as beer is a noun of the feminine gender in Spanish and hence can non be the King but must be the Queen of Beers. The American Jolly Green Giant was translated into Arabic as Intimidating Green Ogre. When the American movie City Slickers went to France. its rubric was changed to Life. Love and Cows. Ford introduced a low cost truck. the Feira into some of the less developed states of Latin America. with the name significance ugly old adult female in Spanish.

Language misinterpretations may non merely be unsafe but may besides turn out fatal. as with the international shoe company. Bata. whose sandals caused a public violence in Bangladesh. ensuing in over 50 people being wounded. Moslems demonstrated because the logo on the sandals resembled the Arabic authorship for Allah. significance God in the Arabic linguistic communication. The logo was intended to be a fashionable drawing of three bells. As a consequence. the authorities banned the sale of the sandals.

Some of the foibles caused by ignorance of the foreign market’s linguistic communication prove to be humourous. albeit abashing to the company. sometimes really much so. The name Esso meant stalled auto when pronounced phonetically in Japan. Its replacing of Enco referred to a sewerage disposal truck. Cue toothpaste was introduced in France by Colgate-Palmolive who did non recognize that Cue in French is a adult word. Creap. a Nipponese java cream pitcher. and Super Piss. a Finnish merchandise for unfreezing auto locks. were merchandises introduced into the United States which. non surprisingly. did non thrive. Its top of the line car was introduced in Mexico as Caliente. which is slang there for a street Walker. In Japan. a soft drink called Pocari Sweat was a success. as this name conveyed a positive. healthy. thirst-quenching image to the Nipponese consumer. This product’s name. nevertheless. did non reassign good to the American consumer. In Taiwan. the interlingual rendition of the Pepsi slogan Come alive with the Pepsi Generation came out as Pepsi will convey your ascendants back from the dead. Besides in Chinese. the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan finger-lickin’ good came out as eat your fingers off. In Italy. a run for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into Schweppes Toilet Water.

The solution to avoiding such fake pas is backtranslating. which is holding one transcriber interpret a papers or ad from the original linguistic communication to the intended linguistic communication and holding a 2nd transcriber independently interpret the message back to the original linguistic communication. If the entrance and outgoing messages agree. the interlingual rendition is likely to win. If there is disagreement. analysis of the message must be made. the message changed and back-translated once more until the two lucifer.

For illustration. the term entree means appetiser in Australia but chief class in Israel. If the merchandise was labeled an main course. its monetary value and market place would necessitate to differ well in those two states. Although back-translation will work out the jobs of actual interlingual rendition issues. it does non extinguish the jobs of whether or non the context of usage is the same.


International selling exists everyplace. In this planetary epoch. a company can non make concern anyplace without holding to take into history the international dimension. It is the driving force behind international trade. embracing all concern activities that involve exchanges across national boundaries and supplying an efficient manner of come ining the market.

Furthermore. a firm’s international selling plan must be adapted to foreign markets to account for differences in the concern environment and mark markets form state to state. The selling mix may necessitate alteration in footings of cultural. societal. economic and legal differences. Consequently. companies have to cover with foreign consumers. providers. distributers. bankers. etc. Therefore. the apprehension of linguistic communication becomes non merely critical. but compulsory. if a company is to win in the international market place. “Language may be the most hard cultural component to maestro. but it is the most of import to analyze in an attempt to get some grade of empathy. ” ( Cateora )


The undermentioned recommendations are advanced to help international sellers in get the better ofing the troubles posed by the difference in linguistic communication when come ining a new foreign market:

“XThe company needs to confer with with knowing foreign subjects. distributers. advisers and the similar. to profit from their cognition of the linguistic communication and expertness in the foreign market.

“XSeeing as straightforward interlingual rendition of a message does non vouch its rightness in diverse civilizations. the company needs to use the services of a cultural transcriber. whose occupation is to interpret “not merely among linguistic communications. but besides among different ways of thought and among different civilizations. ” ( Cateora )

“XAs was mentioned antecedently. companies come ining foreign markets should use the backtranslation technique. which is a really effectual tool in avoiding cross-cultural linguistic communication bloopers.

“XA most of import pattern that companies should prosecute in is appropriate market research and proving. They should ne’er presume transferability from one linguistic communication to another. Many of the errors made by companies in foreign markets. particularly linguistic communication related 1s. could hold been avoided. salvaging the company a batch of financess. if they were merely tested on a sample of the mark market to estimate their reaction.


“XBuzzel. Robert D. Can You Standardize Multinational Marketing? Harvard Business Review. Nov. /Dec. 1968. Pages: 102-113.

“XCateora. Philip R. and John L. Graham. International Marketing Eleventh Edition. The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. . 2002.

“XConsumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy. hypertext transfer protocol: //www. consumerpsychologist. com/ # Strategy

“XGlobal Markets and International Marketing.

hypertext transfer protocol: //www. csustan. edu/market/williams/3410-05. htm

“XGonzales. Pedro. India Shakes Off Its Shackles. June 1998.

hypertext transfer protocol: //www. pj-marketing. com/00008. hypertext markup language

“XInternational Marketing Flops – Actual Accounts.

hypertext transfer protocol: //www. lifeisajoke. com/wor nleisure35_html. htm

“XRobbins. S. Bergman. I. R. Stagg and M. Coulter. Management Second Edition. Prentice Hall International. 2000.

“XThe Egyptian Market.

hypertext transfer protocol: //www. oppapers. com/read. php? id=34444 & A ; idene=KxyHiuJa & A ; ref=

“XUmoren. U. E. Anthropology Contextualized in Nigerian Peoples and Culture. An unpublished monograph. RSUST. Port Harcourt. 1996.

“XUsunier. Jean-Claude. International Marketing. Prentice Hall International UK Ltd. . 1993.


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