What is it?
International Mother Language Day is celebrated on the 21st February each year to observe and promote the linguistic and cultural diversity of language across the globe. Its aim is to promote cultural diversity and inspire understanding of communication between different nations.
Why should I care?
As a multilingual search marketing agency with an in-house team of staff from all around the world we understand and value the importance of being open and aware of others. Having the opportunity to work with so many different people every day as part of your job is fantastic. Learning how other people communicate and how other countries work, whether similar or different to your own never gets boring.
Working closely with our mother tongue colleagues we appreciate how very different search can be in other countries.
Our Head of Content & Online PR, Freia Muehlenbein, whose mother language is German, explained three major benefits of having mother tongue speakers working on multilingual campaigns: “The work were doing for our clients cant be translated, it must be fully localised” she said.
“We need to know the culture and online marketplace etc. of a country to fully understand search behaviour.
“Mother tongue linguists will pick up little differences in search behaviour that can be significant for our clients.”
Even countries not so far from us such as Spain, Germany and the Netherlands have such a different way of operating that we are able to provide our clients with expert skills in order to succeed in markets other than the UK.
Dutch Search Marketing Executive, Saskia Roskam, added: “When you are born with a language you have depth of understanding and feeling for that language that no schooling later in life can teach you.
“If I compare my knowledge of the Dutch language (which is my mother tongue) to my English I see and feel that with English I will always – no matter how skilled I might be – be behind native speakers. There is a level of finesse and especially an understanding of the sayings that non-native speakers miss.”
Another of my colleagues, Spanish Search Marketing Executive, Patrick Vazquez, explained to me what he felt were the benefits of working in a multilingual company.
He said: “Mother tongue speakers are essential for our industry since it gives us extra insights into our particular markets.
“This way we can better engage with users from our countries, be it through content, PPC Ad text or identifying what people are searching for.
“It is also an advantage when engaging with bloggers or influencers from our countries with the goal of creating localised content.
“Being a multilingual company allows us to work on clients” campaigns simultaneously across any number of markets.
“Being part of a multilingual team has the benefit of allowing us to share ideas and best practices from our markets with each other to help achieve the best results.”
International Mother Language Day is a great idea to help people engage with the wider world, break down prejudice barriers and open our eyes to new and interesting ways of living.
Whatever you take from it and however you decide to celebrate it I hope you have a great day.