The economic woes of Europe are fascinating to watch because the politicians are conducting classic politics without addressing the real issue. Politicians are masters at the psychological technique of “framing”. This is where information is presented in such a way that it has a different impact compared with giving the material in another way. So, for instance, the European politicians are framing their assistance for Greece and Spain by talking about “€100bn has been provided in support”. That makes it sound as though they are helping, that they are digging deep into their pockets and that they are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. We are “framed” positively.

But what about if the European leaders said “Here is a loan of €100bn which you need to pay back, meaning you will have to cut your public services to finance the loan”. It’s the same thing – because that is what Greece and Spain have to do as part of the small print of receiving the cash. But if the European leaders were to say that, it would be negative framing and we’d accept it less.

You can see framing effects all over the web. Google, for instance, say that its Apps are a “better way of working”. Really, better than what? Eventbrite says “If it is happening out there you’ll find it in here”. Really, even if the organisers have never heard of Eventbrite? Framing is a technique used by marketing of all kinds to get your mind into a more accepting mode and to be less rational or logical.

Indeed, you probably use framing techniques throughout your business to make people think good things about the products and services you offer. But that could be a problem.

New research shows that framing only works in the reader’s own language. When someone reads something in a second language to their native tongue the framing effect disappears and they become logical and rational. That means if your website is only in English your framing techniques will only work on your visitors who speak English as their first language. If you are trying to appeal to an international audience the framing effects you have created will disappear, according to this new research.

There is only one way out of this – make sure your website is available in all the languages for which you want to have an impact. In that way, your visitors will be able to read your text in their native tongue and the framing effects will be preserved.

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