Using a common language in different countries: a mistake?

Some brands decide to run the same advert thinking that because they share the same language it will be easier. But to base this on this fact is a mistake. Indeed, the culture of a country does not only focus on the language. So 2 countries speaking the same language can have different criteria (religion, standard of living, professional background, political opinions…)

  • For example, in France the word ‘écoeurant’ means disgusting while for a Canadian who also speaks French this word ‘écoeurant’ means great. So imagine a native French-Canadian voiceover promoting a film in France. For him, this film is ‘écoeurant’ and therefore great, but the person listening to this in France will understand that they should not go and watch this film.

And it’s not only in the French language this type of error. English between the USA and the UK (and others areas) can sometimes vary a lot in meaning.

  • Imagine an English voice over to make your ad for the USA market in which you present a miracle aid for spending less time doing the dishes. You can imagine that if this ad is heard without a picture, it could be seen as negative by the American population. Because when they hear ‘wash up’, their meaning of that phrase is to wash ones hands before dining, and NOT a term used to cleaning dishes (which is its meaning in UK).

So again, proof that a message can be misunderstood and have consequences for business.

That is why we will see in this article the list of those languages that are present all over the world that seem to be exactly the same. But in reality they can be totally different in some aspects.

For that we are going to talk about 4 languages which English, French, Arabic and Spanish which are among the most widely spoken languages in the world.

By the way, if you haven’t read the article on the 5 most popular languages in the world, the link below takes you there

1 – English

A list of English speaking countries United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Malta, United States, Canada, Jamaica, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Philippines..

2 – Arabic

A list of Arabic speaking countries : Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, Qatar, Bahrain

3 – Spanish

A list of Spanish speaking countries : Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Guatemala, Ecuador, Cuba, Bolivia, Honduras, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Equatorial Guinea, Some US states (Texas, California, New Mexico)

4 – French

A list of French-speaking countries : France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Senegal, DRC, Mali, Benin, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Cameroon, Ivory Coast.

You will therefore have understood that you must pay particular attention to the translation of your content according to the language in which it is expressed. As we saw in these examples, a single word can change the entire understanding of the message.

2002 Studios therefore endeavours to carry out your requests with a native voice and native translator of the desired language to avoid this type of error and to ensure the best possible result.

If you want even more informations about each languages we did some articles about them and i invite you to see them

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