Thursday, March 03, 2005

US - Mexico: Cross Cultural Differences

Ned Crouch, author of 'Mexcians and American: Cracking the cultural Code', gave a talk at the Holland Chamber of Commerce earlier this week, explaining how cross culturaal differences impact business.

Using the cultural differences between Mexico and the US as an example, Crouch highlighted how interpreting language, gestures and actions from one's native cultural perspective leads to stereotyping and misunderstandings.

One such example was the fact that in Mexican culture, individuals are required to be polite and agreeable. So when the American wants assurance that his package will be delivered on Friday he will always receive 'yes' as the response even if the Mexican knows it will not reach him until Monday!

Read more: Crouch

Intercultural differences stalling Indian acquisitions

Fast-growing Indian outsourcing and services companies are considering acquiring U.S. assets to gain quick access to new technology, but cultural differences and integration challenges have forestalled large deals.

Read more: India

Shabina Begum wins appeal

Shabina Begum has won her court claim that she was unlawfully excluded from class for wearing a jilbab, the traditional Muslim head-to-toe dress, instead of school uniform.

Read more: Shabina Begum
Posted by Neil Payne at 11:07 AM
Categories: Cultural Diversity

Expat blogs becoming intercultural resource

Expats feeling the effects of culture shock are now turning to blogs to express their cross cultural experiences.

The online journals are proving to be a great source of comfort for expats, particularly those in lesser know towns or cities in the world where finding fellow Americans, Brits or Canadians is difficult. The blogs are now becoming a great resource for expats to be and those interested in intercultural awareness as they capture the thoughts and experiences of those living in foreign cultures.

Read more: Expat Blogs

the language of opportunity?

U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa embarked on a new push Wednesday to establish English as the official language of the United States, introducing a bill that's drawn the support of 57 other members of Congress.

The bill would require that the federal government conduct business in English, with some exemptions. It would also mandate that rules be developed to test the English language ability of immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens.

King said in a printed statement that "English is the language of opportunity in America," and learning English opens the doors to better opportunities for immigrants."The only way to fully learn about American culture, and what makes America truly unique, is through our common bond of the English language," he said.

Read more: US English
Posted by Neil Payne at 10:36 AM
Categories: Language Learning News

New translation software

Translation software that develops an understanding of languages by scanning through thousands of previously translated documents has been released by US researchers.

Most existing translation software uses hand-coded rules for transposing words and phrases. But the new software, developed by Kevin Knight and Daniel Marcu at the Information Sciences Institute, part of the University of Southern California, US, takes a statistical approach, building probabilistic rules about words, phrases and syntactic structures.

Read more: Translation
Posted by Neil Payne at 10:32 AM
Categories: Translation News

word of the day: gelid

gelid \JEL-id\, adjective:
Extremely cold; icy.

The weather is gelid on a recent Thursday night--so uninviting that it's hard to imagine anyone venturing out. --Letta Tayler, "The Accent's on Brooklyn," Newsday, April 6, 2000

Posted by Neil Payne at 10:19 AM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

cow products proving a big hit in india

Alongside life-size posters of Hindu nationalist leaders, Indian political activists can now buy lotions, potions and pills to cure anything from cancer to hysteria to piles — all made from cow urine or dung.

A new goratna (cow products) stall at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) souvenir shop is rapidly outselling dry political tracts, badges, flags and saffron-and-green plastic wall clocks with the face of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Siddarth Singh, a spokesman for the Hindu nationalist BJP, which has long campaigned on the sanctity of the cow, said the stall aimed to promote village industry, one of the biggest employers in India. “If you go back in the history of India, this belongs to our culture. There’s no commercial value to us. Village industry in this country needs to be promoted.�?

Read more: MSNBC
Posted by Neil Payne at 11:42 AM
Categories: Cross Cultural News

Decision due on Muslims girl's dress

The Court of Appeal is to rule over a Muslim girl who claims her school unlawfully barred her after she wore traditional "head-to-toe'' dress in the classroom.

Shabina Begum, 15, accused the head teachers and governors of Denbigh High School, Luton, Beds, of denying her the "right to education and to manifest her religious beliefs"


She was represented at the appeal court by Cherie Booth QC who told the judges at a hearing last December the case involved "fundamental issues" about the nature and interpretation of Miss Begum's rights to education and freedom to practise her religion.

Read more: Shabina Begum
Posted by Neil Payne at 11:15 AM
Categories: Cultural Diversity

Return on Investments - measuring the success of expat assignments

For companies wanting to go global and seeing their long term goals being set within the international context, investment in expatriate assignments is a must. These investments however are very expensive with international assignees having larger salaries, housing and living allowances, schooling and relocation costs. “The moving of household goods can easily cost $40,000,�? notes Noel Kreicker, president of IOR Global Services in Chicago and a member of the Society for Human Resource Management’s Global Panel of subject matter specialists. “If you move the piano, the horse or the wine collection, that’s an additional $10,000.�?

One would therefore assume that Return on Investments (ROI) are closely watched and analysed. However, Cendant Mobility found in their 2004 survey that only 14% of HR managers indicated their companies measured the ROI of expatriate assignments.

Read more: ROI

CILT publishes revised national language standards

CILT, the National Centre for Languages, has recently completed a review of the National Language Standards, which can be downloaded here. The Standards are a scale of competence for languages in the workplace and define aspects of competence in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Read more about the National Language Standards
Posted by Neil Payne at 10:51 AM
Categories: Language Learning News

Merrill Corporation buys P.H. Brink International

Merrill Corporation, a leading global provider of diversified communications and document services, today announced the acquisition of all outstanding common stock of P.H. Brink International Corporation, a leading provider of integrated language services.

"We believe that P.H. Brink is the perfect company to complement our translation business, and to support our goals of diversification," said Mike James, President of Merrill's Financial Document Services division.

Read more: Press Release

word of the day: fiat

fiat \FEE-uht; -at; -aht; FY-uht; -at\, noun:
1. An arbitrary or authoritative command or order.
2. Formal or official authorization or sanction.

He found a provision in the college constitution that said there were to be no executive committees, and arguing that those stodgy impediments to serious change had grown up only by convention and tradition; he abolished them and ruled these faculty meetings by fiat, using each as an occasion to announce what he was going to do next that was sure to stir up even more resentment. --Philip Roth, The Human Stain

Posted by Neil Payne at 10:26 AM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

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