Thursday, January 13, 2005


Progress through Prosperity
12-13 April 2005

The Middle East saw increased prosperity in 2004, despite being a focus of tension, war and insecurity. The MIDDLE EAST SYMPOSIUM 2005, produced by the Middle East Association and Compass Rose International, will give a voice to business interests as key players in fostering a more stable climate in the region.

Learn more: MEA

Globalize Your Website

The Internet has unlocked a wide array of markets and knocked down barriers that previously prevented merchants from marketing their products on a global scale. There are a number of ways to 'globalize' a website and broaden a businesses general appeal to an international audience.

Read more: Website Globalization
Posted by Neil Payne at 12:32 PM
Categories: Web Globalization

When in Rome...

Understanding how cross cultural differences affect the workplace is vital for success.

An internationally known chain store built one of their branches at the head of two diagonally converging streets in Hong Kong. They could not understand why they could not staff the store, nor would any customers come to the store - until they realised that the store location was "at the tip of a spear", a totally inappropriate position. They had to close down.

Read more: When in Rome...
Posted by Neil Payne at 12:24 PM
Categories: Cross Cultural News

Clinton's Translation problems

Bill Clinton has reached an agreement with a Chinese publisher over the translation of "My Life," after struggling to come up with an official version of his memoirs to counteract fabrications in pirated copies.

The Chinese publisher, Yilin Press, had been concerned that some passages translated verbatim "would have a meaning in Chinese somewhat different than what I meant," Clinton said Tuesday.

"We reached an agreement on language which, if accurately translated into Chinese, would make it clear that I have both differences in policy (from the Chinese) and a long-term commitment to reconciliation," Clinton said.

Read more: Clinton, Chinese Publisher OK Translation
Posted by Neil Payne at 12:16 PM
Categories: Translation News

Muslim loses religious discrimination case

A former Virgin Trains worker who complained he was sacked after refusing to shave off his beard has lost his religious discrimination claim.

Mohsin Mohmed, a Muslim, said he could not trim his beard because of his Islamic faith. He claimed he was unfairly dismissed but this was rejected by an employment tribunal in central London.

Virgin Trains said Mohmed was dismissed for his "general lack of enthusiasm" and that the length of his beard was never an issue.

Muslim men are strongly encouraged to grow beards, however, religious authorities through the ages have interpretered the meaning of 'beard' differently in terms of length and coverage of the face.

For more information on Islamic practices/beliefs and their impact upon HR personnel read Islam in the Workplace

Spectacular Vernacular

England captain, David Beckham, showed off his Spanish skills yesterday at a press conference in Spain. Although maybe not as smooth as his passing, he nevertheless impressed journalists who must have presumed he would never learn the local language.

When asked about his teams recent game with rivals, Athletico Madrid he replied, “El partido con Atléti was mucho major para todos. Siete puntos es mucho mejor para jugadores ,�? which literally translated meant: “The game with Atlético Madrid was much better for everyone. Seven points is much better for players. �? After delivering his spectacular vernacular there was stunned silence followed by a round of applause.

Footballers on the whole are similar to many English expats abroad in that learning the local tongue is not seen as a priority. Let's hope 'Golden Balls' inspires a few more expats abroad to pick up the language books.

Posted by Neil Payne at 12:01 PM
Edited on: Thursday, January 13, 2005 12:02 PM
Categories: Expatriate, Language Learning News

Microsoft - Culturally Sensitive Research

Microsoft Corp.'s research unit is taking an interesting approach to developing its future technology. It is turning to social scientists that will work from a new Microsoft Research lab, to be inaugurated tomorrow in Bangalore, India, to observe and document the lives of people in India's rural villages.

The aim of the new group is to help Microsoft understand the situation in rural villages so that their technology is suited to the context and culture rather than first creating the technologies and then trying to find areas where they might apply.

Read more: Microsoft - Culturally Sensitive Research

The Netherlands (Holland)

A new Country Profile has been added to the site for The Netherlands. The profile covers areas such as language, social structures, etiquette tips, business practices and protocols and is useful for the business travellers, expats and tourists.

Country Profile: The Netherlands

'Hinglish' - Language in India

A mix of Hindi and English has slowly developed over the past decades to form a hybrid language that is becoming India's lingua franca.

Hindi has long been the language of 'the people', yet with the exposure to English gained through TV channels and the internet it has become a part of every day usage. Slowly a change in perception regarding 'Hinglish' occured as cable TV channels made it 'cool' and advertisers began to use it. Thus the Pepsi slogan is "yeh dil maange more" ("ask for more") and Coke's "life ho to aisi" ("life should be like that").

Read more: Hinglish

word of the day: indurate

indurate \IN-dur-it; -dyur-\, adjective:
Physically or morally hardened; unfeeling; stubborn.

\IN-dur-ayt; -dyur-\, transitive verb:
1. To make hard; to harden.
2. To harden against; to make hardy; to habituate.
3. To make hardened; to make callous or stubborn.
4. To establish; to fix firmly.

intransitive verb:
1. To grow hard; to harden.
2. To become established or fixed.

They are completely indurate. They aren't hard-nosed; they live without any sense of malice. There is no time or need for others. --John Stone, "Evil in the Early Cinema of Oliver Stone," Journal of Popular Film and Television, Summer 2000

First off, the avoid-terminal-prepositions rule is the invention of one Fr. R. Lowth, an eighteenth-century British preacher and indurate pedant who did things like spend scores of pages arguing for hath over the trendy and degenerate has. --David Foster Wallace, "Tense Present," Harper's Magazine, April 2001

Provided by
Posted by Neil Payne at 11:23 AM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Culture and Teleworking

eGap have carried out a survey across five European countries with managers, teleworkers and organisations such as local authorities, trade unions and technology providers to look into teleworking.

The project’s objective was to determine the extent and uses of telework among SMEs, their attitudes toward it, and the best practices that might be recommended for the sector.

Of the more important findings was that, “Cultural factors are all-important,�? says project liaison Anne de Beer. Cultural factors determined areas such as what could be discussed and the control of interaction.

Read more: Culture and Teleworking
Posted by Neil Payne at 10:11 AM
Categories: Human Resources News

Learning Early

If a plan moves forward, America's children could soon begin learning foreign languages as early as kindergarten.

World leaders are meeting in North Carolina, to help the U.S. become more foreign friendly when it comes to language. Congress has decided the U.S. is way behind when it comes to learning foreign languages.

Read more: Learning Early
Posted by Neil Payne at 9:51 AM
Categories: Language Learning News

EEOC Launches Spanish-Language Web Site

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today unveiled a Spanish-language version of its public web site to enhance its services to the Hispanic community, the nation's largest and fastest growing racial or ethnic group.

The new web site is part of the EEOC's broader efforts to more effectively reach out to key stakeholder communities to proactively prevent workplace discrimination and promote voluntary compliance.

Read more: EEOC Launches Spanish-Language Web Site

Cross Cultural Seminar

A Cultural Diversity seminar will be a two-part session Thursday and Feb. 3 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Carroll Knicely Conference Center, Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Philippe Deprez, an internationally known business consultant and European business leader from Belgium, will be the speaker. He has varied experience practicing international business sales and marketing management for companies around the world for over 25 years.

Read more: Cross Cultural Seminar

Getting on with the new boss

Moving to a foreign country for work brings with it great stresses and pressures. As well as ensuring the family do not feel disrupted the new employee also has to worry about new laws, local working practices, business etiquette and culture and most importantly how to get on with the new boss.

In this article by Mary Kissel, she talks to managers about the problems, challenges and how to survive crossing cultural work barriers.

Posted by Neil Payne at 9:36 AM
Categories: Expatriate launch new arabic website

The German news agency Deutshce Welle has expanded its international reach with the launch of its Arabic language website.

The move reflects the growing trend among organisations and businesses seeking a truly global presence to offer sites in the world's main languages. Research has shown that in those countries where the numbers of internet users has been traditionally low, the increased ownership of PC's, better internet access and the growing number of internet cafes means more and more people from non-English (or in this case non-German) speaking countries will be logging on for information.

Posted by Neil Payne at 9:30 AM
Categories: Web Globalization

E-mail etiquette

In our hectic, pressured global economy, e-mail offers the ability to communicate effectively across continents. However, this ease and accessibility means that sometimes people's e-mail etiquette leaves a lot to be desired.

This article appearing at E-Commerce Times examines e-mail etiquette and discusses the following four topics:
Why good e-mail practices are needed.
Good e-mail practices.
Writing effective content.
Organizing e-mails.

Posted by Neil Payne at 9:08 AM
Categories: Cross Cultural Etiquette

Cultural Synergy: A Must for Mergers

Following on from recent posts regarding failed mergers & acquisitions, a new article has appeared in the Australian Lawyers Weekly.

The article highlights both the importance of cross cultural synergy and the need for proper management for mergers to work, in this case with relation to law and accountancy firms.

Read more: Cultural Synergy

Word of the Day: eldritch

eldritch \EL-drich\, adjective:
Strange; unearthly; weird; eerie.

In the eldritch light of evening in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, the eye plays tricks on the brain. --Thom Stark, "Something's Burning," Boardwatch, November 2000

The immitigable mountains and their stark, eldritch trees; coasts where earth abruptly snapped off, never to be continued, or beaches which gnawed it to bright dust and sucked it gently away. . . . --Carolyn Kizer, "A Childhood South of Nowhere," New York Times, April 9, 1989

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Posted by Neil Payne at 8:48 AM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

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