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Beyond Borders: 5 Tips for Cross-Cultural Marketing Success From Expert Izadeli ‘Iza’ Montalvo

Connecting authentically across cultures requires more than words on a page. Cultural context gives meaning that generic translation tools fail to capture.

According to cross-cultural communications executive Izadeli ‘Iza’ Montalvo, advanced AI combined with human expertise can create true resonance if brands and companies implement their own blueprint. This approach can lead to revenue growth in new markets, she said.

In this interview, Montalvo explains why relying solely on technology can cause cross-cultural messaging to fall flat or worse – alienate intended audiences. She shares insights on leveraging AI while combining human creativity and cultural understanding to craft content that transcends language barriers.

The Limits of Generic AI Translation

“Tools like Google Translate often rely on basic word-for-word substitution which fails to capture the cultural nuances essential for messaging to resonate across languages,” Montalvo explains. “This can render communication ineffective, bias or even offensive.”

Relying solely on technology can cause cross-cultural messaging to fall flat or worse – alienate intended audiences.

The Potential of Advanced AI

“More advanced AI translation tools incorporate neural machine learning which better interprets entire contexts and meanings,” Montalvo says. “This allows for more culturally adapted translation when combined with guidance from experts.”

Montalvo explains how cultural cues convey personality. “‘Order’ translates to “Ordena”, but sounds sterile. Whereas “Pídelo ya” adds warmth and approachability across dialects.”

Cross-cultural communication is not just about translating words; it’s about translating hearts.

Top AI Tools for Cross-Cultural Content

When asked about her top recommendations, Montalvo responds: “Based on extensive testing, the best AI tools that provide strong foundations for cross-cultural content creation are:

  1. DeepL: Best accurate translations even for informal, conversational tone. Provides options for regional dialects.
  2. ChatGPT: With thoughtful prompting about culture and communication goals, it can generate content or ideas worth sharing.

In Montalvo’s view, the ideal approach is using advanced AI as a starting point combined with ongoing oversight to ensure cultural nuance. “AI is not a substitute for human expertise. It’s a powerful tool that can be used in conjunction with human creativity and cultural awareness to craft content that transcends borders,” she said.

Deeper Dive: 5 Expert Tips for Optimizing AI Tools

To dig deeper, Montalvo provides tips for getting the most out of AI translation tools:

  • Provide ample context and clear goals so AI generates relevant output.
  • Give AI numerous examples of desired tone and style.
  • Have native speakers review output to catch errors.
  • Adjust AI settings for geography and demographics.
  • Use AI iteratively in tandem with human experts.

“With the right balance, we can achieve authentic global communication at scale,” Montalvo said.

The Key is AI-Human Symbiosis

“The future of cross-cultural communication is not about machines taking over; it’s about humans and machines working together to create more meaningful connections,” Montalvo predicts.

“The more we understand different cultures, the more we can appreciate the richness and diversity of our world. And the more we can appreciate each other, the more we can create a better future for all,” Montalvo concludes.

Case Studies of AI-Powered Cross-Cultural Communication Success

Here are a few case studies of businesses that have successfully used AI to improve their cross-cultural communication:

  • Netflix: Netflix uses AI to translate its subtitles and dubbing into over 30 languages. This allows the company to reach a global audience and offer its content in a way that is culturally sensitive.
  • Airbnb: Airbnb uses AI to translate its listings into over 60 languages. This makes it easier for travelers to find and book accommodations in countries where they don’t speak the local language.
  • Toyota: Toyota uses AI to translate its marketing materials and customer service communications into over 30 languages. This helps the company to build relationships with customers around the world and provide them with the best possible experience.

Benefits of AI-Powered Cross-Cultural Communication

There are many benefits to using AI to improve cross-cultural communication, including:

  • Increased revenue: Businesses that can communicate effectively with global audiences are more likely to succeed. AI can help businesses to reach new markets and increase their revenue.
  • Stronger relationships: AI can help businesses to build stronger relationships with their customers and partners around the world. By communicating in a way that is culturally sensitive, businesses can show that they respect and value their global audience.
  • Improved brand reputation: Businesses that use AI to improve their cross-cultural communication are more likely to be seen as being innovative and forward-thinking. 
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