Cultural Awareness – Kwintessential UK http://www.kwintessential.co.uk A Complete Language Translation Agency Fri, 12 Jan 2018 09:24:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.4 Tired of the Same Festive Stories? Alternative Christmas Tales http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/blog/cultural-awareness/tired-of-the-same-old-festive-stories-try-these-alternative-christmas-tales/ http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/blog/cultural-awareness/tired-of-the-same-old-festive-stories-try-these-alternative-christmas-tales/#respond Fri, 22 Dec 2017 11:11:22 +0000 http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/?p=39192   It’s the most wonderful time of the year! All over the world, people are gearing up to celebrate and pass

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! All over the world, people are gearing up to celebrate and pass around gifts. Winter holiday traditions date back to the dawn of civilisation – and the stories told go hand in hand with the celebrations.

 

If you’re looking for some alternative stories to tell your friends and family over the Christmas break, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of our favourite alternative festive tales from far away and closer to home.

 

The Krampus

 

The Krampus story originated in the home of Santa himself – the German-speaking regions of Europe. But the Krampus is everything Santa Claus isn’t. Where jolly old Saint Nicholas rewards good children with gifts, Krampus delivers punishment to those who are bad. And he’s utterly terrifying.

 

Krampus is depicted as a goat-like demon, with hoofed feet and horns, black fur, a long tongue and fangs. In older texts, the story goes that Santa Claus deals only with good children and Krampus with bad. In those old tales, Krampus would appear before the naughty children and take them away in a sack – sometimes to eat, sometimes to drag straight to hell…

 

See? Utterly terrifying! In modern times, the Krampus serves more as a beloved pantomime character, whose job is delivering coal to naughty children. Nowhere near as terrifying – just a gentle reminder to be good.

 

Jólakötturinn

 

This is quite a story – Jólakötturinn is a giant, demonic cat that stalks the snowy countryside plains of Iceland. Known internationally as the Yule Cat, legend has it that the beast skulks in the snow and the darkness, waiting to pounce.

 

But what is the giant cat’s prey? Well, Jólakötturinn eats anybody who hasn’t been gifted new clothes before Christmas Eve. So if you have any Icelandic friends, make sure they get a new garment before December 24th!

 

Like most Christmas folk stories, the Yule Cat serves as a motivator – in this instance, to encourage community giving. Nobody knows where the story originated, but it’s been traced back to the 19th century.

 

The Nightmare Before Christmas

 

It might only have been around since 1993, but the Nightmare Before Christmas is the modern day poster child for alternative Christmas stories. It tells the tale of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King and patron saint of Halloween in his hometown – Halloween Town.

 

Growing weary of Halloween, Jack takes a walk through a wood and discovers a portal to a mystical new place: Christmas Town. There, he learns the magic of Christmas and becomes obsessed with making it his own, drowning out the humdrum that Halloween has become.

 

In the process, he almost ruins everything: Christmas, Halloween and himself. Can he turn it around in time and save Christmas? If you haven’t seen it already, it’s becoming something of a classic, and will make an excellent addition to your regular Christmas viewing.

 

The Little Girl and the Winter Whirlwinds

 

This beautiful tale from Bulgaria tells the story of the Winter Witch, a wicked and spiteful witch who seeks to turn every season into winter. The villagers need a saviour – and a little orphaned girl, full of spirit and love for her fellow villagers, takes up the quest.

 

The villagers give her all their warmest clothes and she sets off to face the Whirlwinds – children of the Winter Witch. With help from the animals of the forest, the little girl finds her way to father Christmas – the only one who can bring back the seasons. You can read the full story here.

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

Wishing you all a merry (Krampus-free!) Christmas and a happy new year, from everybody at Kwintessential!

 

Telling the World’s Story – Kwintessential

 

Looking for a professional translation agency? Contact Kwintessential today. Our experienced interpreters and translators are standing by. Our transcreation service tells expressive, meaningful stories in your target language. Just call (UK +44) 01460 279900 or send your message to us at info@kwintessential.co.uk.

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Infamously Mistranslated Words and Phrases http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/blog/translation/infamously-mistranslated-words-phrases/ Fri, 22 Sep 2017 12:15:57 +0000 http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/?p=38226 Translating Services Gone Wrong – Common pitfalls and funny mistranslations   We all know that unless you seek a professional language

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Translating Services Gone Wrong – Common pitfalls and funny mistranslations

 

We all know that unless you seek a professional language translation service, the alternative solution can be unreliable, especially when carried out by free or automated translation apps that are available today, often resulting in funny mistranslations.

 

These applications, unfortunately, fail to take into consideration any ambiguities or local, cultural and contextual considerations. The result is often superficial translations, where misreadings and misinterpretations warp the meaning completely and can lead to huge consequences.

 

For example, in the early 70s, Pepsi introduced a new brand slogan to promote its product: ‘Come alive with the Pepsi Generation’. All fine and A-OK in English, but the problems came to light when Pepsi launched this seemingly safe campaign overseas.

 

Cracks first appeared in Germany where the exact translation of the phrase meant, ‘Rise from the grave with Pepsi!’ In China things got worse, and the strapline used was ‘Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.’

 

Similar errors can be found all over the world: in menus, signage, advertisements, instructions and so on. But, can superficial translations actually change the world?

 

Here at Kwintessential, we know they can:

 

3 Mistranslations that Changed the World

 

New Zealand’s Treaty of Waitangi

 

As British settlement increased in New Zealand over the 18th and 19th centuries, the British Government decided to negotiate a formal agreement with the Māori (native New Zealanders) chiefs to recognise NZ as a British Colony. A treaty was written in English then translated into Māori. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on February 6, 1840, at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands.

 

However, since its signing, the treaty has caused innumerable problems. This controversy is a result of translation issues. Successive governments, including the 1860s settlers, believe the Treaty gave total sovereignty over the Māori people, their lands and over their resources. But, on the other side, the Māoris believe that the treaty they signed simply allowed the British to use their land, not own it.

 

To help rectify this, the Waitangi Tribunal was set up in 1975 – over a hundred years after the treaty’s creation. This body today rules over many cases and claims that are still being brought forward by dissatisfied Māori descendants who feel they are suffering today because of translation issues rooted in the 19th-century treaty. Many of these claims have stood and compensation has indeed been granted, others that have been denied have resulted in a huge struggle between Māori decedents and settler descendants.

 

While disagreements continue and will do so for a while, The Treaty of Waitangi is still considered New Zealand’s founding document.

 

The Atomic Bomb’s Debut

 

Although it is commonly accepted that the Americans dropped the world’s first atomic bomb to bring an end to the deadly war in Japan, on closer inspection it appears that there may have been a less catastrophic means to the same end:

 

At the time that he was pressed for an answer on the Allies’ demand for a Japanese surrender, Japan’s Premier, Kantara Suzuki, replied “Mokusatsu” – from the Japanese word for silence. I.e. he had given “no comment” as the Japanese government hadn’t yet had a chance to consider the ultimatum.

 

However, the word has other meanings quite different from that intended by Suzuki and it was these that international agencies picked up on. It was reported that the Japanese first in command saw the ultimatum as “not worthy of comment.” I.e. surrender was off the cards. As a result, the bombs went off 10 days later.

 

Released later, according to the US National Security Agency, “whoever it was who decided to translate mokusatsu by the one meaning (even though that is the first definition in the dictionary) and didn’t add a note that the word might also mean nothing stronger than “to withhold comment” did a horrible disservice to the people who read his translation…and who would never know that there was an ambiguous word used.”

 

The Glass – or was it fur? – Slipper

 

If you ask anyone what type of slipper featured in Cinderella, I’m sure you’d be very surprised if anyone gave you an answer that wasn’t glass. However, translation – or mistranslation – may have a big part to play shaping the story of Cinderella.

 

The best-known version of the fairy tale is Charles Perrault’s 1697 version. This is also the first version to make reference to a glass slipper or ‘pantoufle en verre’ as the French author references. This said, there has been much discussion amongst linguists and etymologists as whether a glass slipper was intended:

 

It is believed that, instead, the original text made reference to a ‘pantoufle en vair’ – a squirrel-fur slipper. The mix-up is to have occurred when the piece was translated as a result of the similarities in pronunciation and spelling between vair and verre.

 

Whatever Perrault’s intention, it cannot be denied that one material would indeed make a much more comfortable slipper than the other.

 

The Importance of Localisation in Language Translation

 

Quality language translation does prioritise word-for-word translation methods. Instead, more complex considerations are necessary for successfully contextualising language.

 

A quality translation service provider, like Kwintessential, will adopt a method of localisation. This means the translation will focus on messages as a whole to preserve meaning, rather than a literal lexical translation.

 

Kwintessential’s Language Translation Services

 

As an ISO:17100 accredited translation agency, at Kwintessential, localisation plays a huge part in each of our certified translators’ daily lives. They take pride in ensuring that messages and meanings are translated rather than stand-alone word translations.

 

Our rigorous localisation methods have also been inspected according to international standards to make sure that the language translations that we provide are the best and most reliable that they can be.

 

To find out more about our quality translation services, and to ensure your humorous mistranslations don’t end up on our infamous list, get in touch today on 01460 279900 or email us at info@kwintessential.co.uk.

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Translating Legal Documents: The Process http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/blog/translation/legal-document-translation-services/ Fri, 15 Sep 2017 08:51:51 +0000 http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/?p=38205 When is Legal Document Translation Required? Legal document translation is required when official documents issued in one language require use in

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When is Legal Document Translation Required?

Legal document translation is required when official documents issued in one language require use in another. This will call for high-level, certified, legal and official translation services.

 

The most common need for translating foreign documents arises from people requiring overseas use of personal legal documents: for example immigration purposes, family law, birth and death certificates, injury law or even business and employment law.

 

If you think you need professional translation, please get in touch and we can discuss with you your options.

 

The Types of Document Translation Services

 

As already established, legal document translation services may need to be certified, legal and official. Yet, these categories can be further broken down depending on the level of legalisation required.

 

Certified Document Translation

 

Being the least formal option, certified translations are most commonly associated with legal documents required for use by non-government bodies. This type of translation can be carried out and certified for organisations such as schools, universities and insurance providers.

 

Also referred to as official translation, certified services cover the translation of documents such as marriage certificates, academic qualifications, household bills, power of attorney, contracts, official reports and transcripts, e.g. school and medical reports.

 

Sworn Document Translation

 

As the name suggests, a sworn translation calls for the translator to swear an oath in front of a Public Notary. This oath confirms that they did indeed complete the certified translation themselves.

 

Notarised Document Translation

 

Required by more formal government and legal bodies, notarised translation is more complex than certified and sworn translation services. The process of notarisation involves the translator themselves attending a Public Notary and declaring in writing and in oath that their document translation “is a true and honest translation.”

 

Once this is established, the notary will approve the translator’s identity and qualifications before providing the translation with a certified ‘notarised’ stamp.

 

You may need notarised document translation when you are establishing a new company or if you require the use of immigration or emigration application documents.

 

Legalisation or Apostille Document Translation

 

Similar to notarised document translation, legalisation or apostille services will involve the use of an original document alongside its translation.

 

To achieve an apostille certification stamp, the original document and translation itself will need to be processed by the Foreign Office and Commonwealth Office. Here, an additional document will be issued to act as confirmation that the notary was indeed in a position to give a document notarisation in the first place.

 

Although this process can be quite lengthy, this additional document means that “the authenticity of the document should not be contested.”

 

Such a high level of document translation and approval is most commonly required for those papers used internationally in regards to overseas marriage, adoption, visa and job applications.

 

Although we have given examples of when to use the above translations, it is vital that when translating a legal document you check what level or wording, certification and authentication is used when requesting any translation service. If you are in any doubt, get in touch, where one of our team will be able to guide you to your best option.

 

Why is Document Translation so important?

 

With 40% of our clients coming from the legal sector, we know just how important detailed document translation is; the slightest error in language, messaging or format can have serious consequences.

 

A certified translator can offer both businesses and individuals expert translation services to keep your message intact whilst using the correct local terminology and dialect to allow their processing. It is this level of localisation that can make all the difference by allowing for easier, more human communication and contact.

 

Contact Kwintessential

 

As an ISO:17100 accredited translation agency, all Kwintessential work is inspected and cross-checked according to international standards. Alongside this, we also operate our own stringent Quality Management Systems.

 

Our certified translations are used nationwide for legal, business and individual purposes. To find out how our document and language translation services can help you, please contact us today.

 

 

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Cultural Considerations for Language Translation http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/blog/translation/cultural-considerations-language-translation/ Fri, 08 Sep 2017 09:04:46 +0000 http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/?p=38192 The importance of cultural considerations for a company’s reputation   Effective language translation does not solely refer to the lexical word-for-word

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The importance of cultural considerations for a company’s reputation

 

Effective language translation does not solely refer to the lexical word-for-word translation. Instead, cultural considerations have a large role to play in contextualising language translations.

 

What may be acceptable in one country or region can end up being an embarrassing faux-pas or more serious breach of legality in another. For instance, consider the careful nature in which the mention of civil statuses, sexual orientation, contraceptives and religion must be handled. The miscommunication of any of these, for a company in particular, can prove disastrous.

 

Hence, when conducting any language translation it is key to consider all cultures that may come into direct contact with your translated material. Your translation then must be localised and diversified to meet all of these cultural requirements. This is a key step in ensuring that your language translation makes a positive impact.

 

What is Localisation? And how does it affect language translation?

 

Simply put, language localisation is a form of modification that adapts a translation to fit local customs, culture and expectations.

 

As mentioned above, any language translations dealing with religion in particular must be taken through a rigorous localisation process. An obvious example of this is any translation that deals with clothing and women’s clothing in particular.

 

Where women in today’s Western world are free to clad themselves in whatever garments they choose, (save perhaps slight social judgement) in Eastern regions – notably in the UAE – women have very strict rules to follow. Rules that when broken, can result in huge legal implications as opposed to just a jibing comment from a snooty neighbour.

 

As an example, if a company was running a car campaign that focused around spontaneity, the use of the phrase “feel the wind in your hair“ would need localisation. In many Eastern cultures it is necessary for women – and in some religions men too – to have their hair, head and/or face covered. Thus, any language translation that mentions, promotes or even implies the avoidance of adhering to these rules must be modified. In this case, the language translation would need to use an alternative strapline that still communicated the same meaning of opportunity, freedom and satisfaction.

 

Contact Kwintessential

 

At Kwintessential, localisation is part and parcel of every language translation that we undertake. We ensure that transcreation and localisation play a key role in guiding every one of our services. This means that we translate messages and meanings rather than simply lexical considerations.

 

Our rigorous localisation methods mean that messages are not diluted or inappropriate when broadcast globally, instead they are strengthened as they are allowed to strike a chord in each region they land.

 

Although we offer significant services for corporations, at Kwintessential our language translation also covers those smaller groups who are also looking to communicate internationally.

 

To find out more about our professional and accurate language translation services, get in touch today on 01460 279900 or email us at info@kwintessential.co.uk.

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Ramadan 2017 http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/blog/cultural-awareness/ramadan-2017/ http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/blog/cultural-awareness/ramadan-2017/#comments Fri, 26 May 2017 15:48:33 +0000 http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/?p=37158 This Friday 26th May marks the start of the most widely held religious observance in the world, the month of Ramadan. 

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This Friday 26th May marks the start of the most widely held religious observance in the world, the month of Ramadan.  Most people will be aware that this is the time when Muslims fast during daylight hours, but how much else do you know?  Let’s take a closer look at Ramadan and how it is observed throughout the world.

 

The 9th month

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, and is held to be the month in which the holy text of the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad.  Observance of Ramadan is considered one of the 5 pillars of Islam, and is therefore observed by almost all Muslims.  This equates to the staggering figure of around 1.6 billion people worldwide, which is almost a quarter of the world’s population.

 

Observance of Ramadan is centred on self-discipline.  This primarily manifests as fasting, which is obligatory for all Muslims, other than those who are ill, elderly, travelling, pregnant or breastfeeding.  Fasting last from dawn until sunset and is more than simply not eating.  Most Muslims abstain from consuming food, drinking liquids and smoking during daylight hours.  Muslims are also encouraged to refrain on any other indulgent or sinful acts which may detract from the spiritual benefits attained as a reward for their fasting.

 

Generally Muslims also engage in increased levels of prayer and donations to charity during the month, often through charities such as Muslim Aid which facilitate Ramadan giving.  The idea behind this is that charity, prayer, and recitation of the Quran that are carried out during Ramadan will have much more of a spiritual impact than at other times of the year.

 

Ramadan around the world

With Islam being practiced so widely around the world, customs relating to Ramadan can vary substantially depending on the country.

 

The countries that take Ramadan most seriously are naturally those with a majority Muslim population.  In many Muslim countries, observance of the holy month is mandatory under law, and failing to follow the requirements, such as eating or smoking in the hours of daylight, can be considered minor criminal offences.

 

Generally, Muslims will continue to work during Ramadan.  However in some Muslim countries working hours are shortened during the month to account for the extra physical and mental strain that the fasting has on people’s performance at work.  In countries which do not have a predominantly Muslim population, Ramadan is usually worked as normal.  Employees’ right to observe it is generally protected under legislation governing freedom of religion, and employers who do not respect this right may face discrimination claims.

 

Different countries also have different ways of celebrating Ramadan.  In some countries, such as Egypt, it is common to see streets and other public places festooned with lights or lanterns – a tradition reputedly dating back to the early middle ages.  Indonesia, being the country with the largest number of Muslims in the world, has many Ramadan traditions.  These include, on the island of Java, where people bathe in holy springs to prepare themselves for fasting.  In the capital city of Jakarta, firecrackers have been used to wake people up for morning prayer, although this tradition has largely died out in the last hundred or so years.

 

Ramadan near the poles

The observance of Ramadan is always a challenge, but never more so than in Polar Regions.  Muslims that live in countries within or close to the Arctic Circle are faced with the fact that during the summer, which is when Ramadan takes place, daylight hours can last in excess of 22 hours.  Obviously this is a very long time for anyone to fast, particularly to refrain from drinking any liquids.   Whilst some Muslims do still observe the daylight rule, most prefer one of 2 alternatives.  Many people choose to observe fasting for the same number of daylight hours as Mecca time, which is usually somewhere around 11.  Alternatively, people also choose to follow the fasting hours observed by the nearest city outside the Arctic Circle.

 

Ramadan is easily the most important month in the Islamic calendar, and many Muslims will consider it to be the high point of their year.  For a period so widely celebrated and of such spiritual significance, it is easy to see why.

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Easter Around The World http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/blog/cultural-awareness/easter-around-world-2/ Mon, 10 Apr 2017 13:56:05 +0000 http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/?p=36807 Easter is without a doubt one of the most important religious holidays in the Christian calendar.  Around the globe there are

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Easter is without a doubt one of the most important religious holidays in the Christian calendar.  Around the globe there are a huge range of different traditions and ways in which this festival is celebrated – much more than just guzzling down chocolate eggs!  Let’s have a look at some other national traditions in more detail.

 

Russia

One of the more obvious differences between Russian and English-speaking countries when it comes to Easter is the fact that Russia primarily follows the Eastern orthodox tradition.  This means that the date of Easter is calculated using the Julian calendar, rather than the Gregorian calendar, and therefore often falls on a different day to in Western countries.

One Easter tradition that is the same is that of the giving and receiving of Easter eggs, which plays an equally big part in Russian Easter celebrations.  In addition to eggs, Russians also do a lot of baking and make traditional Easter cakes to share with family and friends as well.  In fact, the spirit of giving is a very important part of Russian Easter, and it is traditional for people to give gifts of money, clothes or food to the poor and needy in society.

Something that you might also see in Russia is people greeting each other with a triple kiss.  This is a special warm greeting specific to the Easter season, and is commonly referred to in English as “the kiss of peace”.

 

France

France has historically been primarily a Catholic country, and as such many of their Easter traditions are the ones which we recognise.

Easter eggs are given in France, just as in the UK.  However, these eggs are not delivered by a bunny, but in fact by church bells!  The bells of churches are not rung during the Easter season to mark the solemnity of holy week.  Historically, bells were often sent off at this time to be blessed by the Vatican, and it is said that Easter eggs are dropped by the bells as they fly back home from Rome!  In reality, Easter eggs are generally hidden by adults for children to find.  These Easter egg hunts are often huge events that can draw thousands of people and tens of thousands of eggs.

The French also play a traditional game with their eggs, although this time the eggs are raw hen’s eggs.  These are rolled downhill by children, and the most intact egg to reach the bottom wins.

As you would expect from a country with such a rich heritage of fine dining, French Easter also has a lot do to with food.  Traditionally a dinner of roast lamb is eaten on Easter Sunday – the lamb being a traditional symbol representing Jesus.

 

Spain

Spending Easter week, or Semana Santa (Holy Week), in Spain can be a real treat, as it is easily the most important religious festival of the year.  Easter traditions across Spain vary greatly throughout different regions of the country, but the brightest and most exciting events are generally agreed to take place in the southernmost region of Andalusia.

Throughout the country, it is common to see colourful street processions made up of hundreds of people.  Often, they will be carrying large ornate floats depicting various scenes from the passion of Christ.  Additionally these floats or tronos will be accompanied by “penitents”, men dressed in tall pointed hoods with their faces covered.

Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are very solemn and serious occasions.  Saturday will normally be celebrated with a special vigil mass in the night as the day turns into Easter day.  Sunday is the most joyous day, and is a day of un-bridled feasting and celebration, with the baking and sharing of sweet treats and the giving of small gifts.

 

Germany

Easter in Germany is quite different to the exuberant celebrations in other parts of Western Europe, but is no less culturally important.  German Easter has a lot to do with the start of spring, and as such common things to see include brightly painted eggs, rabbits and daffodils.

The tradition of eggs and rabbits being associated with Easter actually has its roots in German culture, and is thought to originate in the pagan tradition of celebrating fertility and the new life that Spring brings.

Another German tradition is the Easter bonfire, which is traditionally held on Easter Sunday.  This also has its roots in old pagan customs, where fires were lit to welcome the sun and the spring back into the world.

It’s not all fun and games though – many Germans use the Easter Monday bank holiday as the time to spring clean their homes!

 

Wherever it is celebrated, there are some things about Easter that are universally recognisable, but each country has its own take on this most special of Christian holidays.

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A Great New Book on Cross Cultural Communication http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/blog/cultural-awareness/a-great-new-book-on-cross-cultural-communication/ Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:27:06 +0000 http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/?p=32878 Working with people from different cultures is becoming increasingly more common; however it can also give rise to challenges. Thankfully, Erin

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Working with people from different cultures is becoming increasingly more common; however it can also give rise to challenges. Thankfully, Erin Meyer has recently published a book that provides a framework on how different cultures across the globe view communication at work.


There are many books available on cultural awareness; we believe there is always room for more! This is why were were excited to learn about the latest addition to the genre, The Culture Map.

In this book, Erin Meyer explains the differences between cultures in terms of communication at work from different parts of the globe. Contributor at Forbes Rawn Shah has written a great a great review on the book here.

In her book, Meyer shares an anecdote from Jorge da Silva. Da Silva is an engineer at a steel company in Brazil. When he and his colleagues tried to convince their American counterparts to adopt a new process, Meyer says, they found that the Americans didn’t want to hear about the reasons for the new approach, but were more interested in what the method would change. This anecdote clearly illustrates that different cultures can have a different view on doing work together, Shah says.

The Da Silva anecdote, Shah explains, is only one of the many examples in Meyer’s book that illustrate communication styles and how people consider ideas at work differently. Affiliate Professor in the Organisational Behaviour Department of INSEAD b-school in France, Meyer was on the “On the Radar” list of the Thinkers50 last year and has worked as HR director for McKesson, HBOC, and Aperian Global.

In The Culture Map, she shares the data she gathered after researching 20-30 different countries.

One of the discoveries Meyer made is that national culture is dominant over the culture in a company. Many organisations now work on a global scale, meaning  their employees are faced with different cultures. This is why Shah believes cultural awareness is a key skill for both managers and employees.

The Culture Map, he says, shows that it is possible to gain understanding of the differences in work behaviour across cultures. To do so, Meyer gives a framework of eight different scales, ranging from communication and evaluating to scheduling and persuading.

These scales don’t have a wrong or right side, Shah says, but simply show how different cultures handle the concept. Here, Meyer gives the example of the Chinese and Brazilians versus the Danish and the Dutch when it comes to trust: while people in China or Brazil will base trust on personal relationships, people in Denmark and the Netherlands tend to focus on business activities. These cultures are on the far sides of the scale, which means they often view each other’s standpoint as wrong. Thus, before they can successfully work together, both cultures should understand that the opposite view has value as well.

To differentiate between different cultures, The Culture Map seems to presume all people in the same country share the same view. Shah wonders whether it is useful to stereotype people of the same culture. Meyer has also thought about this and responds to it by saying that if you don’t take people’s national culture into account, you will look at them from your own point of view, which can lead to misjudgements.

Shah agrees that national culture matters, but for a different reason: he believes national culture is a great starting point to understand an individuals.

Next to giving an overview of the book’s most important feature – the framework, – Shah also shares his opinion on the book with his readers. He applauds the real stories included in the book that illustrate culture clashes from different points of view. These anecdotes plus Meyer’s personal stories equal a “fascinating read,” he says.

The book is now available on Amazon!

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So Sochi: Spotlight on Russian Culture http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/blog/cultural-awareness/sochi-spotlight-russian-culture/ Mon, 10 Feb 2014 11:44:56 +0000 http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/?p=32945 The winter Olympics have just started in Sochi and Russia expects a lot from it as the Olympic Games always represent

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The winter Olympics have just started in Sochi and Russia expects a lot from it as the Olympic Games always represent the opportunity to shine in the world. The international attention that this event draws to ‘the Motherland’ will be an excellent opportunity to share some of its culture.


As a matter of fact, national pride runs through the veins of Russian people. They are really proud of their country, history and culture. Consequently, the will to  impress the world will be even stronger than in previous years of other Olympic Games. Simply take a look at the budget to realise how Russia takes it seriously. They spent $50 billion for this event! This is the greatest budget ever spent for such an event and it is three times as much as the London’s Games budget.

The Russian culture does not restrain to this point. Besides, according to the age of the person you can expect people to behave differently, especially when it comes to business.

Hierarchy is a fundamental aspect in this country and has little do to with its Soviet history. However, young managers who have grown up in the post-Soviet era may be much more influenced by the Western management style. Generally, because pride and patriotism is definitely a Russian cultural trait, one of the best ways to make good impression is surely to be able to speak some Russian.

If you want to do business with Russians you should try to build up a trust-based relationship. To achieve this, sincerity is  key. Furthermore, establishing a network could come out as essential to cut through some heavy red tape. Russian people use the word “svyasi“, which means “connections” and refers to having friends in high positions that can help bypassing some bureaucracy.

If you are having some problems getting around in Russia you can count on their hospitality. Russian like to visit each other and they even sometimes do so without any special invitation. Just remember to bring a gift whenever you visit someone, not doing so is considered rude. Therefore, if you have Russian friends, they will be happy to welcome and accomodate you – isn’t this another reason to go to Sochi?

Хорошего дня!  [Have a nice day!]

Written for the Culture Vultue by Elorn Causer. Elorn is an intern at Kwintessential. He is to obtain a Master’s degree on Intercultural Management. He also did an internship at the Council of Europe where he worked on intercultural dialogue and on migrant integration. 

The post So Sochi: Spotlight on Russian Culture appeared first on Kwintessential UK.

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