The Asia- Pacific region (APAC) is one of the fastest growing markets for business. With over 4.5 billion inhabitants, the region is home to 60% of the globe’s population and over 40 languages. APAC’s diversity and capacity for growth make it one of the most sought after, and challenging markets to break into. A major challenge for businesses in the region – communication, which is why interpretation in APAC is so important.
Doesn’t Everyone Speak English?
Have you ever traveled to a country where you are somewhat fluent in its language? Then you know the feeling of relief when someone you meet along the way speaks your native language, whether it be a hotel employee or a taxi driver. You feel immediately more comfortable and sometimes more connected to the person you are speaking to. This is because speaking another language is difficult, and at times tiring if you aren’t completely fluent. The immediate sigh of relief you are experiencing- that is what it feels like for non-English speakers that have access to live interpretation within meetings.
While English is widely spoken throughout APAC, the level of fluency is not consistent. This inconsistency means that everyone isn’t able to fully contribute to conversations as much as they’d like to. Sometimes participants may be too shy to speak, worried that they will make a grammatical error. Other participants may miss out on crucial information due to their personal fluency with English. This is why interpretation in APAC is so important. Multilingual platforms like KUDO even the playing field by letting attendees follow and participate in their own language with the help of live professional interpreters.
APAC is both linguistically and culturally diverse. To reiterate, the APAC region is home to 60% of the world’s population. Some countries in the region have a population greater than all of North America. It would be a huge mistake to treat it as a monolith in any way, including culturally. Interpreters can make slight adjustments in order to convey the meaning of what you are saying to avoid insulting someone. And language is only one aspect. Other cultural norms that are reserved for face-to-face interaction may carry into the online meeting (e.g., body language).
As our understanding of the size and diversity of APAC evolves, our approach to communication within the region should as well. A one language approach to an over 40 language market just won’t cut it. Additionally, more and more companies within APAC are looking to do business with companies that speak their language. How many deals will you be missing because a key idea was lost in translation?