WEDNESDAY 11 MAY 2016 1:28 PM


International crisis comms is hampered by a lack of understanding around cultural nuances.

Conversis, a translations and localisation agency, has released a report that shows a lack of language skills has led to a quarter of respondents being unable to respond to a crisis in a timely manner. A further 13% said that this same issue affected their relationship with their client. A post-crisis message should be accurately translated, but also put into local context with a consideration of cultural nuances.

Almost one half of surveyed respondents reported experiencing a faux pas due to a misread or misunderstood cultural reference in a campaign, and an alarming 68% of those cases resulted in severe ramifications.

Francis Ingham, chief executive at ICCO and director general, UK & MENA at PRCA, says, “This report should be a wakeup call for our industry, on both sides of the Atlantic. We simply do not invest enough time, effort and – yes – money in communicating in other languages, and in understanding other cultures. The costs of that failure are never higher than when crisis hits.”

The study of UK- and US-based communications professionals shows that while almost all are confident they take cultural nuances into consideration during a crisis situation, cultural misinterpretation or mistranslation continues to be a problem.


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