Embracing Diversity: Creating a Merrier Holiday Season with Inclusive Communication and Translation

It’s the best time of year: Christmas lights twinkling on our streets, festive music is playing and jolly Santas are greeting us at every corner. Christmas has become a global, commercial phenomenon although everybody experiences the holiday season differently based on their religious–or ethnic–backgrounds and where they are from.

Companies should foster an inclusive business culture not only to establish corporate values but also to succeed internationally. Especially during the holiday season, companies should ensure that their communications, to their own staff and to the broader world, reflect diversity so that all employees and customers feel seen and valued.

tsd has been making multilingual communications possible since 1978 and knows how important it is to make content accessible to everybody worldwide. That’s why we’ve put together five tips to help you make your holidays more inclusive:

1. Acknowledge and Celebrate Diverse Festivities:
While Christmas may be the dominant holiday in many regions, acknowledging and respecting diverse celebrations happening around the same time such as Diwali, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Kwanza is essential. You can do that by including those holidays in internal communications or posting about them on social media.
You can also put up decorations in the office or even participate in small gestures that show an awareness and appreciation for the different cultural and religious backgrounds on your team and in your customer base.

2. Consideration for Dietary Restrictions and Customs:
When planning a holiday party, be mindful that not everyone on your team may drink alcohol, eat meat or eggs and that certain religions impose dietary restrictions (Muslims don’t eat pork, Hindus and Buddhists are mostly vegetarian and some Jews follow kosher dietary laws). Take allergies and intolerances into account as well. Ensure that food and drink options cater to those considerations, creating an environment where everyone can comfortably participate in the festivities.

3. Accommodate Team Members from Abroad or Those not at Home:
Consider the diverse backgrounds of your team members, including those from abroad or people who can’t be at home, such as refugees. Offer options like “workcations” (so employees can work from another country) or organize more team-building activities during the holiday season. That helps your whole team feel more connected and get into a festive mood. Be mindful though of cultural differences, including certain religions’ restrictions on activities like betting or gambling.

4. Enhance Content Accessibility:
Make your company’s content more accessible to a wider audience. One way to do so is to include captions or alt texts in your audio and video content for deaf people. Be mindful of the colors chosen in your images; try to use colors that are easier for color-blind people to distinguish.
In some cases, writing can also be simplified, like by using “plain language” in English or “easy language” in German, so that people with learning disabilities, who have had educational disadvantages or who have limited language skills can better read and understand your content.
Consider translating your content into the languages spoken by your diverse audiences, ensuring that everyone can engage with your company’s messages regardless of language or ability.

5. Create Inclusive and Localized Marketing Campaigns:
Make sure that your holiday marketing campaigns are not only inclusive but also localized to account for geographical and cultural differences. Distance yourself from standard stereotypes and embrace storytelling that reflects diversity, such as narratives featuring single parents. Use inclusive language and localize campaigns to their destinations, like recognizing that Christmas in Australia is in the summer, so you might want to use less snow-centric imagery.
If Christmas is not the most important holiday for your audience, try a more general approach for your campaign. And you can of course always opt for neutral language such as “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

Embracing diversity and inclusivity during the holiday season is not just a thoughtful gesture but a strategic move for companies in today’s globalized world. Language service providers (LSPs) like tsd play a crucial role in achieving this goal. By leveraging translation and localization services, companies can ensure that their content is not only accessible but also resonates with employees and customers worldwide. Whether it’s adapting marketing campaigns, making content more inclusive or accommodating diverse celebrations, the use of inclusive communication helps to create an environment where everyone feels seen, heard and valued during the festive season and beyond.

As we celebrate the holidays, let’s also celebrate the richness of our diverse global community. Happy Holidays!