Insights December 10, 2020

Translating hope – localisation in times of a new vaccine

By Living Word

It’s too early to say yet just how much of a game-changer a successful vaccine might be for the pandemic we’re currently living through, but suffice to say that hope is a feeling that unites us all right now. That said, the translation of said hope is still a task for a sharp localisation expert.

As the first person gets vaccinated against Covid-19, the world may well be watching – but while some are under lockdown, watching from homes they haven’t left in months, others are out socialising in what almost resembles some sort of normal. If the vaccines that are currently looking promising end up working as well as predicted, it’s good news for everyone – but how we deal with the anticipation will depend on where we are right now.

It would be easy, if you’re currently in lockdown, to allow all your communication and campaigns to centre around a reality of working from home and missing your family. In some parts of the world, the traditional Christmas commercials have done very well playing on this nostalgia and specific kind of heartache and longing. But take those same ads and play them to an audience in a state or city where lockdown is a thing of the past and some festivals have been able to go ahead in recent months, and they’ll feel outdated at best, and alarmist and negative at worst.

None of this is rocket science. It just goes to show that even a shared feeling takes different expressions in different cultural contexts. Hope takes the shape of whatever it is the audience feeling it dreams of – and that can look very different indeed, even if it all comes travelling our way on a promise of a working vaccine.