An introduction to internationalisation and multilingual communication
Valentín Barrantes López
Co-founder and Global Chief Strategist
It is time to start a series of articles about internationalisation and multilingual communication in the language industries sector. In particular, I would like to provide information and some ideas on two key lines of thought: the impact of these areas on the current market and the relationship between the professional activities of present and future translators and interpreters. Over time, I will publish relevant articles that follow a logical and useful order for everyone.
First of all, I intend to start « untangling ideas », i.e. establishing the significance and implications of many of the concepts associated with the title of this article. There are lots of terms that we currently use in the field of communication, but new concepts and realities are also emerging at a breakneck pace, especially in the digital realm. Let’s hold our first brainstorming session: internationalisation, multilingual communication, content creation, marketing (traditional, digital, content, social media, online, etc.), multilingual SEO and SEM, translation, localisation, adaptation, transcreation, automatic translation, social media multilingual management and so on. I’m sure we can think of many more. I think that we should carry out an exercise to analyse and try to find out what impact all of this has on the language industries sector.
Secondly, I intend to organise all of this extensive, and apparently chaotic, range of concepts so that we can have a clear conceptual map in our minds.
Finally, I will go on to explain certain concepts which, for me, are especially important today, and others that the readers may consider appropriate. I await your suggestions…
Why do I find this an interesting subject to tackle? There could be several answers to that, but I’ll stick with two:
– Thanks to my professional experience advising small, medium-sized and large companies, as well as institutions, associations and foundations, I have discovered that there is a great deal of confusion about this among companies and the professionals who work in them (mainly in communication). This is often because they are not aware of the importance of internationalisation and multilingualism in the communication strategies of companies (especially in the digital realm). It therefore follows that many companies and institutions lack people with suitable profiles in their communication and marketing departments. Sometimes there is no profile at all, on other occasions this ignorance leads to these areas being left to someone from the communication department with knowledge of one or more languages (mainly English), but who knows nothing about internationalisation strategies, cultural adaptation or translation, to mention but a few examples.
– The world, technology and (digital) communication are making giant strides.There is no doubt that adaptation is a necessity. To do this, needs must be met, appropriate professional profiles have to be developed and you have to give the market what it wants. In my opinion, there are professionals with training in a number of areas who could be the perfect candidates to perform these tasks (as long as the respective training gaps are covered): journalists, communication and marketing experts, translators, etc. Particularly in the sector where I have the greatest expertise, I believe that professionals from the translation and interpreting industry have an exceptional profile and are especially versatile. Their command of their native language and, generally, two other languages is outstanding. Furthermore, they specialise in different areas of expertise, i.e. different business sectors (science, technology, finance, humanities, etc.), they understand the importance of training in new technologies as well as writing and text creation strategies. And based on this, and the fact that they are sure to also have specific knowledge about terminology, documentation, cultures, an ability to summarise and a good memory (let’s not forget the interpreters), it’s plain to see that professionals with these profiles are highly versatile and adaptable.
After this reflection, I believe that a clear conclusion can be drawn; we should approach these issues together and find a single solution for them.
So, in future articles, I intend to further explore these concepts and use a strategic focus to explain them, both in terms of professional profiles and the way to acquire and enhance the right skills.
I don’t know if you will agree with me, whether you are communication professionals or companies/institutions that need to reach other countries, but in such a dynamic and changing international market, it is hugely important to have fast and flexible adaptability so that you can meet all of your current and new needs which, ultimately, will enable you to meet the objectives of your institution or company’s plans.
Shall we get started?I look forward to reading your suggestions on the relevant issues, so that I can discuss them in future articles… Go for it!