Monday, 13 January 2014

6 Ways to Master Multilingual Marketing

Nowadays being fluent in two or more languages is not only useful (practically speaking) but also advantageous for an individual, especially in the world of marketing and advertising. We live in a globalized world where business transactions are no longer limited to the people geographically near us, and most of us live within multicultural societies where many nationalities, cultures and ideas coexist and interact every day. There is no better way to communicate and relate to a person from another culture than to speak their language. A person in the marketing and advertising business being fluent in multiple languages means being able to target a broader market.

I’m a firm believer that the best way to learn a new language is complete immersion. Yet, I understand that complete immersion is not an option for many people who still want to be fluent in another language. So if you fall into this category, here are six things you can do in your everyday life to become fluent in the foreign language of your choice.

1) Explore the culture, not just the language.
Language and culture are inevitably intertwined. The way we live influences the way we speak and vice versa. So although technically one could learn a language without bothering to learn much about the people who speak it, I believe one should bother. My advice is to do some research on a country or all countries who speak the language you are trying to learn. Learn about their history, their traditions, their values, their food, their pop culture, and their current events. Immerse yourself in that culture as much as you can without actually being there.

2) Read
As mentioned above, a good way to immerse yourself in another culture is by reading. Of course, as a beginner, you won’t be able to read a lengthy newspaper article targeted to adult native speakers. So start small; find some children’s books written in your language of choice and give reading them a go. If there are words you don’t understand, look them up. Then read the book again and again until you understand it fully. Soon enough you will be able to graduate to young adult books, and if you keep at it you will find yourself easily flying through War and Peace, the (insert foreign language here) version.

3) Watch movies
Movies are another great way to learn and understand a foreign culture. I would recommend you watch movies with subtitles in your native language at first. Make sure to listen carefully to what is being said and then read the subtitles, this is a great way to train your brain into associating words in the foreign language with words in your own language. Watching movies will also get you used to listening to the foreign language being spoken by native speakers.

4) Find an app or software to help you with the basics
We live in a time when information is available to us in so many shapes and through so many mediums, so take advantage of it! recently posted an article about the five best language learning apps. Make sure to check it out!

5) Learn to think in that language
Spanish is my first language and this is the best advice I ever got from an English teacher. Getting used to thinking in the foreign language of your choice is essentially a way to practice good grammar use in that new language. If you think in your native language and then try to translate those exact words into the new language, chances are your grammar is going to be all messed up.

Instead, try to think in complete phrases using the foreign language. It sounds complex and it is, but you can start doing it just a few minutes a day. As your vocabulary grows, so will your ability to think in that language.

6) Speak it out loud!
To a native speaker, to a friend who is willing to put up with it, or to yourself if necessary. But make sure to do it out loud so you can correct your pronunciation and get used to the sounds you’re making.

Do you speak a second, third, or fourth language? Which tricks or practices worked best for you in the learning process? Which language learning software or app would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below or tweet @swagger_media.

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