The Importance of Cultural Understanding for Translating into Dari and Pashto

The Importance of Cultural Understanding for Translating into Dari and Pashto
on March 23, 2015 No Comments

Afghanistan presents great opportunities for businesses across all sectors and countries to expand and increase their sales. That said, Afghanistan also presents some unique cultural issues that is sometimes hard to identify and address for communication teams when translating into Dari and Pashto languages. Afghan people have different tastes and preferences, and it doesn’t stop there, urban and rural communities have their own differences when it comes to preferences.

Let’s imagine you are starting to build out your business in Afghanistan. Following successful registration and launch of your organization, you will probably hire local staff to support your initiatives. You will need to train your local staff about your product, your business practices and establish your objectives in the country. Additionally you will need to educate your customers about your products or services.

You will need to ensure that your messages remain consistent and appropriate across all levels of communication. When training your employees, you need to be sensitive of the local culture and same applies when it comes to your products and services. For your website, for example, you will need to make it appealing for local Afghans and ensure the language remains consistent and friendly when translating into Dari and Pashto languages.

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Additionally, your translation team must be fully educated to identify appropriate ways of communicating about the special features and characteristics of your business offering. Certain aspects of your product that may be perfectly acceptable in your home market may turn out to be considered very offensive by your potential customers in Afghanistan. As you can imagine, offending your new customers can cost you anywhere from no sales to lawsuits or even being barred to do business in Afghanistan. Depending on the size of your business this could run into millions of dollars.

In summary, your communication team needs to be very culturally sensitive and address any issues of political and cultural correctness in a professional manner when translating into Dari and Pashto languages. Although, these things may sound trivial, we cannot stress the importance of addressing them ahead of time as they keep happening frequently across all businesses.

Here at Afghan Translation Service we address these issues with the help of style guides, client approved terminologies and in-country review of translated texts. We apply the same practices across all languages that we support. Get in touch with us if you require our help or to discuss any potential issues of cultural understanding or translating into Dari and Pashto languages.

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