It’s pretty much an understood fact that most of us think in our mother tongues and have the ability to instantly recognize it. But, our connection to our mother tongue isn’t something that develops at a later stage. In fact, if research is to be believed, even newborn babies have the inherent capacity to recognize their mother tongue.
The study proving this was carried out at PLU, Washington. The human ability to sense language at such an early stage in life is remarkable, to say the least. Now, the way adults recognize their mother tongue and the way babies do it might vary. But, that’s not what’s important here. What we need to be really focusing on is the deep connection that humans share with their mother tongue.
It paints an interesting picture of how significant localization can be in allowing businesses to connect with a new demographic.
It’s Not Just Babies
It isn’t just babies that are showing how deep our connection with the mother tongue is. In another study, researchers assessed patients with Alzheimer’s and their ability to remember languages. Want to guess what they found? Well, they found that Alzheimer’s patients had no problems remembering their mother tongue. However, very few of them could remember the other languages that they learned in the later stages of their life.
In fact, even when the patient was said to have mastered a foreign language, it was found that they did not remember the particular language with ease. The exact opposite was true for the mother tongue.
This is a very interesting phenomenon from the perspective of localization. The studies tell us how important the mother tongue can be to us humans. The results are a clear indication of how deeply we are all connected to our mother tongue or what we can call our “personal language”. It is something that is deeply embedded in us.
Of course, in our more self-aware and conscious states, we might actually prefer other languages
over our mother tongue, especially for professional reasons. Some of us might even consider
ourselves as having no language at the end of the day and as representatives of more than just one culture or heritage.
However, science tells us that the language that we speak at home or hear (even before becoming
self-aware) is what’s going to stay with us.
This is exactly why brands must put in the effort to localize their business for the new markets they enter into. The decision to localize is just the first step. It is even more critical to develop the right localization strategy and to focus on whether the message is being communicated as it should be.
This means that you get your translation absolutely right by focusing on contextual interpretation. More importantly, you need to ask questions as to whether your current approach would work in the new market or for that matter, whether even your product would be perceived in the right manner. There are several cases where even the product failed to offer value in the local markets they were introduced in. So, your localization strategy might even require you to revamp the product to make it more marketable.
According to research published by Common Sense Advisory, people are generally more likely to
buy from sites that communicate with them in their mother tongue. So, it’s obvious that effective localization requires businesses to factor in such aspects when reaching out to local markets.
Having a single language might be convenient, but, if you want to make an impact, you need to
adapt to the new market on a socio-cultural level. Personal language is what sells.