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'Hai' in Japanese is translated to 'yes' in English. This example, along with many other translation challenges, pose potential problems for North American people within our society. Individuals who travel from one country to another face a variety of cultural difficulties. These difficulties not only affect communication lines but also create barriers interfering with business success. It becomes necessary for individuals working with international markets to gain a basic level of understanding of the different cultures they will encounter. This is especially true for people employed in the public relations (PR) field. It is so important for PR practitioners to speak the language of their public, or have some form of understanding for how successful lines of communication can ensue. Overall, it is essential to note that the basic function of PR remains the same across international borders. By successfully overcoming these challenges, companies will experience increased receptivity from international markets. Shruti Soni is an Indian woman who has been in the public relations field for almost five years. Soni started her career working for Burson-Marsteller in India and is currently employed in Singapore where she has worked with Rice Communications for almost two and a half years. With wide experience across markets such as Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, and India, there is no better person to address questions regarding language barriers.
When asked if Soni faced any language difficulties throughout her most recent experience working in Singapore, she replied, "I don't think it's an issue in Singapore. In markets like China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Vietnam, language can be a major issue." In terms of running a successful PR campaign in international countries, Soni suggests, "Companies without in-market offices should work with good local partner agencies that understand the media landscape, can undertake accurate translation of PR material, and are adept at conversing with the media in their local languages. " Alternatively, Soni also states that she has noticed many global PR firms transfer their senior staff to these international markets with the purpose of undertaking supervisor and strategy related roles. What is important is not losing sight of the roles locals play in the day-to-day execution of various campaigns.
"Companies without in-market offices should work with good local partner agencies that understand the media landscape ..." Shruti Soni
Language barriers are a very real aspect of crossborder business. In order to overcome these challenges much time and dedication is required for international success .