Our globalised economy is at a tipping point and, without the help of an increased focus on localisation, we are at risk of missing the chance to rectify unsustainable practices. The role language plays in the processing of information on change is critical. In this blog, we look at what can be done to ensure that we are addressing the barriers that prevent entire communities from adopting more sustainable behaviour.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” — Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela’s thoughts on the importance of building understanding through language could be the key to promoting greener attitudes. In a recent study⁠[1], 15% of consumers gave ‘not having enough information’ as a reason for not doing things that would make their lifestyle more sustainable, such as eating less meat, opting for low carbon travel solutions, and purchasing locally produced goods. The uptake of these positive habits could be vastly increased if efforts were made to ensure people had clear information to hand, and were offered easy-to-follow, transparent local schemes that were appropriately advertised and precisely targeted.

Breaking down language barriers

Lifting barriers to access to information is not as straightforward as simply providing a website with translated content. For messaging to be genuinely understood, it needs to be localised to ensure it is linguistically and culturally appropriate for the target location. Many committees, reports and studies have outlined the importance of providing timely and easily understood directions. After all, in seeking to achieve sustainable development goals, how can we expect to actually thrive as a sustainable community without placing language at the very heart of communication?

The situation is complex and is made more so by the sheer extent of the language barriers to address. This is not just about communities where English is not their first language, this also applies to people with lifestyles that are not initially conducive to becoming environmentally aware. Diverse communities need good information, and the language we use to provide it is vital – in the end, it can make the difference between understanding and ignorance.

The next steps

Businesses need to align their products or services in order to gain buy in from their targeted clientele. At Albion Languages, we understand how language can be leveraged. By using localisation, it’s possible to break down traditional barriers and start to converse with people in a language they understand, using meaningful local examples to gain traction and engagement.

If your messaging needs to break down language barriers in new markets, talk to us at Albion Languages and find out how invaluable real localisation can be.


[1] https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/consumer-business/articles/sustainable-consumer.html