Published in the August 18, 2014 issue of PRNews
It’s more important than ever to monitor the languages of the online world. As communicators spend more time online, language relationships become a key to effective brand listening. “Mutual Intelligibility” means that because you speak language X, you are likely to understand language Y, dialect Z and follow closely what is said in the languages that are one degree of separation from your mother tongue. Basically, what the other party is saying is “intelligible” enough to follow.
All multilanguage customers, which is the majority of the world, have a comfort zone of languages and dialects they will learn from. It’s not about one language anymore.
Mutual Intelligibility listening shows us exactly how an issue is likely to evolve and cross languages and countries. For example, if Czech is your main language, you may also be following Slovak and Polish. If you are Danish, you may be tracking what is said in Norwegian and Swedish. If you are Serbo-Croatian, you may understand Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian. If you are living in China, you may understand Mandarin and Jin, which is a dialect of Mandarin spoken by 45 million people.
And of course, Americans, well, we would say we understand the dialects of the South or the Bronx, but not much more. Not sure what to do there.
What it means is that when you have a listening program in place for your brand, you should automatically track the related languages and dialects of the country or language of origin for the issue you are tracking. In an increasingly globalized economy, not to mention the Web, this should become standard for brands and organizations.
All the best, Bob