It’s a visual world and we may use it to our advantage
If you are reading this, I assume you like the written word, but let’s face it, what captivates and inspires our imagination more than anything? Pictures evoke immediate emotional reactions. They can therefore draw attention to material in foreign languages and spark curiosity.
Book covers can make an impact around the world
In my opinion, book covers can play an important role in achieving global success. One example is the cover of Er ist wieder da with the now well known Hitler image. The picture draws you in, even if you do not understand the language and you just want to know what this is all about. Unsurprisingly, the book was translated into many languages and they kept the idea of the image for all foreign editions.
Music is different
I used to think that English is accepted around the world and if in doubt, I would still go for it, but I discovered that hardly anyone of those who read my German blog are interested in what I say in English on social media.
When it comes to texts like books and blogs, I have the feeling that most readers are still expecting discussions in a language that they are really comfortable with, and this is usually their mother tongue.
In another article I touched on how social media in English works for international music, but I have now come to the conclusion that you cannot always compare it to books, articles and other texts. Like pictures, it appeals more directly to our emotions and in most cases, lyrics are not that important and they don’t have to be understood to enjoy the songs. Once the audience really likes or dislikes a piece of music though, people are more willing to discuss it in English, however basic their English knowledge may be. Sometimes they comment in their own language, even if hardly anyone else is able to understand it. And many listeners seem to care more about the visual appearance of musicians than about song texts. On the other hand, music itself can bring people from differnt countries together.
Pinterest is a visual social media platform
Thanks to blogger Renate Oetjens, who explained the benefits to me, I have now joined Pinterest. This social media platform relies very much on pictures and images do indeed often speak louder than words. I am still a newbie on this platform and I am learning more every day.
On Pinterest, you usually discover pictures before persons, although you can follow individuals if you want to. Therefore it shouldn’t be a problem to use the platform in more than one language, whereas this can sometimes frustrate people elsewhere if they have no clue what you are talking about and might feel left out when something interesting seems to happen in a language they do not understand.
At the recent Problogger conference, one of the speakers even described Pinterest as a “must” for bloggers. As much as I like it myself – in my opinion, nobody has to use a certain platform if it is not for them for whatever reason. For example, most people say you have to be on Facebook, but I disagree. I think it helps to really like what you are doing, otherwise you might give up sooner rather than later or readers can tell that you are doing something only half-heartedly. If you want a strong focus on pictures but don’t like Pinterest, you might prefer Instagram or Flickr instead as visually focused social media platforms.
Videos are popular and don’t always need spoken words
When it comes to visuals, one medium holds special attraction for many and that is videos and they can be shared on Pinterest as well. Therefore I have experimented again and created a new mini video with images and subtitles to show you another way to combine visuals with more than one language. This time, the film has no spoken audio, but comes with subtitles in English and German. You could even add more languages, if you wanted to. In case you are wondering: the music that I am using is from YouTube’s own audio library and I took the pictures myself, therefore I didn’t have to worry about copyright.
You can activate and deactivate the subtitles by clicking on “CC” at the bottom of the video once it is playing and if it doesn’t show the language you are looking for, the settings can be changed via the icon next to it.