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Vietnamese Culture and Traditions – What You Need to Know to Succeed in Vietnam?

Posted by Anne Q. on November 26, 2021.

It is undoubtedly that simply translating words from one language to Vietnamese is insufficient for a company to make a name for itself in the Vietnamese market. Businesses must take one step further and adapt their Vietnamese translations to the rich and diverse Vietnamese culture and traditions. This step ensures that the translated content does not offend the culture and national pride of Vietnamese people while sounding authentic and piquing the interest of Vietnamese audiences.

In this post, we’ll talk about the key aspects of Vietnamese culture and traditions that you must keep in mind if you want to succeed in this market.

Family Matters

In Vietnam, family is an important part of Vietnamese people’s life. Sometimes, individualism is valued over family and clan (dòng họ). A clan is the country’s most important social unit, and each clan has a patriarch who leads the clan and a clan altar. Even today, clan members living together in longhouses is a common practice in some parts of the country, especially in the countryside.

It is also not uncommon for three to four generations of a family to live in the same house. Even if they move away for work, Vietnamese maintain strong ties to their home villages and family. When parents work long distances, it is common to see children raised by grandparents or relatives.

Vietnamese Families

Vietnamese children are taught to respect those who are older than them by greeting or through their language. Even after getting married, they are expected to care for their parents and grandparents as they grow older. Meanwhile, parents always prioritize and invest in their children’s education and expect them to succeed in school. Thus, education is a potential field in the Vietnamese market.

Understanding the values of families in the Vietnamese people’s hearts, many foreign businesses promote their brands through short movies about families instead of short TVC solely focusing on their products. This trend can be seen even more clearly when it comes to Tết Holiday – the most important national holiday of Vietnam. From Pepsi, Honda, Samsung to Comfort and Generali, family and home is used as the core concept for their Tết Holiday campaigns.

Honda Vietnam Tết Campaign

Honda Vietnam Tết Holiday Campaign 2021 – Come Home


Gaining Vietnamese Customers’ Trust Takes Time

If foreign businesses enter the Vietnamese market with their own ideas of how things should be done, they will definitely feel irritated as things do not go in their ways. In Vietnam, the business culture here is not so straightforward.

Conduct businesses in vietnam

You can not win over a Vietnamese customer, especially a B2B one just because your products or services are superior compared to others in the market. It’s all about trust and reputation. You need to carefully build and nurture your relationship with potential customers. This process takes years to build but seconds to destroy. So make sure you understand your customer behaviour and proceed with your plans with caution.


Vietnamese Communication Styles

When you communicate with Vietnamese people, you will realize that many things are implied between the lines or through non-verbal gestures rather than verbal talk. Vietnamese people are very concerned with how their friends, family, and colleagues perceive them and they avoid doing anything in public that will embarrass or diminish a person. For example, Vietnamese people might not decline an invitation or proposal right away to save their faces or others’.

Vietnamese Communication Styles

Furthermore, when discussing sensitive topics or problems, Vietnamese people are unlikely to show strong and negative emotions in public. This is sometimes misinterpreted by foreign companies as meaning that Vietnamese don’t take offence, or take things too seriously while in fact, they do. If you want to connect with Vietnamese audiences, avoid misinterpreting Vietnamese as completely carefree people and pay attention to your communication styles.


The Vietnamese Language

Language is an important part of any culture. It is a way for people to interact with one another, form relationships, and foster a sense of community. That is why, in order to plan a successful Vietnamese translation project, you must first understand the fundamentals of the Vietnamese language.

Vietnamese is the national language of Vietnam and one of the 14 minority languages of the Czech Republic. It is spoken by about 95 million people around the world. Vietnamese people used to write in Chinese characters until the 13th century when Chữ Nôm became popular.

Under French rule, Chinese script was gradually phased out and replaced by French, which was used as the official language in administrative, educational, and diplomatic activities. The modern Vietnamese prose was formed and then accepted positive influence from the Western cultural language thanks to the Chữ Quốc  Ngữ (Romanized) writing script, which boasts the advantages of the simple figure, composition, spelling, and pronunciation. This Latin-based script was later perfected and made compulsory in 1910.

The Vietnamese language

Vietnamese is considered one of the most challenging languages to master due to its diverse personal pronouns, six different tones, rich vocabulary with many Chinese and French borrowed words and complex grammar as well as numerous locale specifics. Check out our post about insightful tips for Vietnamese translation.


Let’s Summarize

If you are planning to enter the Vietnamese market, the first vital step is to acknowledge Vietnamese culture and traditions, as these factors have a great influence on your Vietnamese consumer behaviour. What’s more, understanding these factors will save you from embarrassment or misunderstanding due to cultural differences between your country and Vietnam.

If you are planning to enter the Vietnamese market and don’t know where to start, talk to our Vietnamese translation experts for a free consultancy.

Vietnamese translation services

As a professional Vietnamese-based translation agency, GTE Localize has a team of high-qualified native Vietnamese translators with a minimum of 5 years of experience and a deep understanding of the Vietnamese culture, traditions, and market to assist your Vietnamese translation projects. Our rates are budget-saving and competitive, starting from $0.04/word.

GTE Localize has served and become a trusted translation partner of numerous clients around the world when it comes to Vietnamese translation services.