21 Feb 2022 marks UNESCO’s ‘International Mother Language Day’, a time to celebrate our world's diverse languages and cultures.
UNESCO believes acknowledging each other’s culture and mother language creates a world where diversity is a cause for celebration rather than discrimination.
The theme for this year’s International Mother Language Day is “Using technology for multilingual and multicultural learning: Challenges and opportunities”.
Trading cat videos for language learning
We have all wasted many hours using technology to watch cat videos, funny fails, and memes. Well, this year why not trade in the mindless scroll for the chance to learn a language or understand a culture? Learning languages doesn’t have to be a trudge through textbooks and grammar guides. There are now countless online resources and apps that enhance your learning experience in an interactive and rewarding way. Technology provides the opportunity; all you need is the willingness to learn.
But the influx of language learning and cultural training online is in itself a challenge to navigate. With ‘learn a language’ receiving 6.5 billion hits on Google, it is difficult to choose which resources are right for you, and even harder to establish¬ which are trustworthy, effective, and affordable. Perhaps a good place to start is with a company that prides itself on their own multicultural team of native speaking multilingual experts.
At ilc we are incredibly lucky to have an array of cultures and languages within our team and benefit from this diversity in every aspect of our business. From when varied perspectives spark team discussions, to how cultural understanding supports healthy client and employee relations, we constantly witness the positive effects of multiculturalism. That is why we are passionate about supporting marketing agencies looking to improve their client’s cultural understanding and communication worldwide. One step we take to help bring this goal to life is by providing language and cultural expertise that guide your team to create campaigns that consistently succeed overseas due to their positive cultural reception.
Marketing is all about connecting with people, to please, engage and compel the audience to think about your product or service. Relying on English as a global language for business disregards other cultures and languages, and in doing so, prevents this vital human connection we marketers seek to achieve in our campaigns.
However, by considering other mother tongues and cultures, you are helping achieve a far more significant goal. Through your multilingual marketing, you will encourage your own agency and your client’s business to think about cultural acceptance and how they can create a diverse and welcoming workplace.
Now we aren’t asking you or your clients to all become fluent in Afrikaans, Wolof or Youruba, leave that to our experts. But saying a simple hello to a colleague or client in their mother tongue can make them feel at ease and culturally accepted in their place of work. For the very same reason, marketing campaigns that acknowledge a market’s culture and language achieve a natural and accepted reception with international audiences.
Unfortunately, the less these languages become spoken, the more they become ‘endangered’. UNESCO highlighted that 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are considered ‘endangered’. This puts them at risk of joining the list of languages that are disappearing at an alarming rate of 1 language becoming extinct every 2 weeks.
At ilc, we believe that building culturally inclusive workplaces can serve as an example for how society should welcome different backgrounds and preserve languages. The workplace can become a multicultural microcosm in which cultural differences strengthen teams and benefit international relations. The success of multilingual and multicultural workplaces can then be used as a success story for how culture and language can improve our wider society.