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Conversis launches 'The importance of understanding language and culture when managing an international crisis' report

26th April 2016

Today sees the launch of our new report looking into the importance of nderstanding language and culture when managing an international crisis.

Download the report for free.

You can also listen to the podcast below, on the topic featuring our CEO, Gary Muddyman, Francis Ingham, Director General of UK & MENA PRCA and Chief Executive of ICCO, Neil Chapman, Partner at WPNT Communications and Simon Waldman, former editor of numerous BBC TV and News Programmes.

This study of UK and US based communication executives with an international role shows that whilst almost all (99%) are confident they communicate the sensitive messages of a crisis situation across local markets by taking consideration of cultural nuances, mistakes continue to happen, mainly due to cultural misinterpretation or mistranslations.

Almost one half of the respondents admitted to having experienced a cultural faux pas due to a mistreated/wrong cultural reference in a campaign and in an alarming 68.3% of those cases, this led to severe ramifications.

48.5% of US executives are confident that they can respond in a timely manner within the throes of a crisis situation, compared to 40% in the UK, even though 54% of those based in the US have to translate their campaigns into 11-20 languages compared to just 25% of those based in the UK.

However, the research showed that a lack of language skills had resulted in a quarter of respondents not being able to respond to an issue in a timely manner and 13% even admitted to this particular skill shortage leading to a deterioration in their relationship with their end client.

Gary Muddyman, CEO of Conversis, says: As with our report last year on ‘The Importance of Global Talent within International Business’, this study is informed by independently conducted, focused qualitative research. The digital age has fundamentally changed the way communications professionals have to manage crisis communications and we hope this report gives the first insight into how they are approaching the linguistic challenge these changes present. Social Media is now an integral part of our personal and business lives. The billions of potential ‘citizen journalists’ around the world means that previously carefully crafted strategies can be compromised minutes after the event has happened and in multiple languages. Traditional crisis comms planning and translation work practices only partially meet this challenge. As professionals amend their processes this reports seeks to encourage peer learning and identify new best practices. We hope you found it useful and enlightening.'