Thursday, December 14, 2006

Manners and Etiquette across Cultures

Courtney Kuehn went to a Hmong wedding and - surprise! - tradition dictated a toast to her old college roommate. Paul Purdy went to synagogue with a Jewish girlfriend and accidentally stood for the Mourner's Kaddish.

Such trans-cultural encounters are common in a nation under many gods, especially this time of year when celebrations often involve friends from other faiths. Questions come up. Is it OK to serve pork at a holiday party? Should my Buddhist friend get a Christmas card?

Religious etiquette guides offer some answers. The books, including "How to be a Perfect Stranger" and "Multicultural Manners," focus on issues far weightier than recognizing salad forks. Inside, is advice on how to be sensitive to other faiths and cultures.

Read more: Manners

Effectively managing Intercultural Teams

IT managers know that multicultural teams create multifaceted challenges. Subtle obstacles to teamwork resulting from cultural or linguistic disconnects can cause real damage before a manager even realizes what's happening. In the November issue of Harvard Business Review, Jeanne Brett, Kristin Behfar and Mary C. Kern discuss what they've learned from multicultural teams worldwide. Brett, director of the Dispute Resolution Research Center at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, talked with Kathleen Melymuka about successful strategies for meeting the challenges these teams pose.

You write that multicultural teams face four barriers to success. Let's talk about the first: direct vs. indirect communication. A woman was working for a U.S. company in its Japanese office, which was checking software for Y2k. She found a mistake and e-mailed a notification to her boss and her three Japanese interfaces in Japan. They lost so much face because of that.

What should she have done? In Japan, you have to go about it indirectly so they don't lose face. She might have had a meeting with her Japanese counterparts, raised the specter of this kind of problem lurking in the system and asked what would be the implication if it were in there. They would have understood, "She found it; we've got to fix it." But by working with them very directly, she embarrassed them. She became more isolated than ever before, and any relationship-building she had been able to accomplish was lost.

Read more: Teams
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:13 PM
Categories: Cross Cultural News

Delta Expands Multilingual Content

Delta Air Lines is celebrating the 10th anniversary of, the airline's award-winning Web site, as it continues to expand the site's reach to global customers.

As part of the anniversary celebrations and Delta's transformation plan, Delta is enhancing with new technology and global language capabilities, which now includes Spanish and four additional languages launched this month - French, German, Italian, and Portuguese. With the addition of these languages, Delta's customers now can use the convenient shopping and self-service functionality at in their native language for all important travel information, booking, seat assignments, flight check in, SkyMiles(r) award ticket booking, refunds, and much more.

Read more: Delta
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:11 PM
Categories: Web Globalization

Delhi Policemen urged to rush up Etiquette and Language skills

As part of all-round preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games here, the Delhi police want their men and women to develop better language skills, particularly in spoken English.

The capital’s police force is eager to start the Learn English programme at the earliest. And simultaneously, it is doing what it can to see if the attitude and conduct of its personnel - not known for their speaking manners and etiquette - shows dramatic improvement.

Read more: India

Usdaw's campaign to keep English language courses free for Migrants

The retail union Usdaw's campaign to keep the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) initiative free for migrant workers has gathered pace. More than 45 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion against the Learning and Skills Council's proposal to charge overseas workers in the retail sector up to £400 for English language courses.

Read more: Usdaw
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:08 PM
Categories: Cultural Diversity

Business Leaders Urge Schools to Teach Mandarin

Mandarin should be taught in schools rather than Spanish, French or German, business leaders are urging ahead of today's release of Lord Dearing's review of modern foreign languages.

A report by consultants the Hay Group said British business leaders expect sales to China to be worth 10% of their global revenues, equivalent to £200bn a year, by 2009, making the south east Asian county the UK's most important export market. However, the leaders believe a lack of language skills and understanding of the Chinese market is holding Britain back.

Read more: Language
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:07 PM
Categories: Language Learning News

Gender and Cross Cultural Issues in the American Office

Often, when companies import specialists to the US on assignment, the transferees have no time to adjust to a new set of rules and socially acceptable behaviour. Socially acceptable behaviour varies across cultures—what holds right in one society may not be so in another.

Gauging acceptability

Consider this passage by Laura Klos-Sokol, cited in Riall W. Nolan's book Communicating and Adapting Across Cultures:
"Imagine a professional meeting beginning like this: a woman enters an office and introduces herself, extending her hand to shake only to have him kiss it. Next, he helps her off with her coat and takes her by the arm to usher her over to a chair three feet away. This is the Polish way: she could sue for it in the United States."

Read more: USA
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:06 PM
Categories: Human Resources News

Chinese Schools Opened to Expat Kids

The children of expats working in Shanghai will be allowed to enroll in their neighborhood public schools starting next year.

A new regulation, which will be in place in time for the start of the school year in September, will give a wider choice to overseas parents who benefit the city's development, the Shanghai Education Commission said yesterday. Previously, overseas children could only attend international schools or one of 150 selected public schools.

Read more: China
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:04 PM
Categories: Expatriate

Translation Device Honored by London School of Business

Ingenuitor, an emerging consumer device manufacturer enabling inter-language communication for the military, medical, police, homeland and international security markets, was named to London School of Business's Global Security Challenge finalist list. The award was bestowed upon Ingenuitor's Interphraser, a handheld device that helps people communicate across language barriers.

Read more: LBS
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:03 PM
Categories: Press Releases

Intercultural Awareness and Language Training a Necessity in Iraq

Language training and awareness of Iraqi and Arab culture are absolutely necessary for servicemembers deploying to Iraq, the outgoing commander of Multinational Corps Iraq said in Baghdad yesterday.

Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who gives up command tomorrow, told Baghdad-based journalists that a poll conducted among 1st Cavalry Division soldiers following their 2004 deployment to Iraq pointed out how important they believed language skills to be.

Read more: Iraq
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:02 PM
Categories: Cross Cultural News

Predictions for 2007: The Translation Business

With the Solstice a bit more than a week away, it's time to think about what 2007 will bring to globalization, localization, and translation. Here are are Common Sense Advisory's predictions for the coming year.

1. Translation automation technology and distribution morph. Smaller firms like across, Alchemy, Lingotek, and MultiCorpora will challenge incumbent leader SDL-Trados on translation memory with rapid product turns and innovative distribution and market acceptance models. On the automated translation front, statistics-based solutions from Google, IBM, Language Weaver, and Microsoft will increase consideration and use of this long-evolving technology. Meanwhile, cadres of globalization newbies -- buyers and suppliers -- will enter the market with few preconceptions about how things work, further challenging the dominant tool and service paradigms.

2. CMS-TMS saddle up some partnerships -- again. Corporate data balloons more than 50% annually and information publishers want to pump up the number of languages they target, but most CMS companies stubbornly refuse to add the specialized workflow and integrated tools required for translation management. We expect continued growth for TMS solutions from Idiom, SDL, and a raft of newer entrants. Expect to see more private-label integrated solutions between TMS and CMS vendors. Having learned from Idiom's and Global Sight's failed 1999-2000 partnerships, this time will signal actual integrations.

3. Vendor management gains visibility. Sourcing translators is often relegated to a secondary role in LSPs and mostly amounts to maintaining rudimentary databases of professionals. This reactive function will benefit from initiatives like the Translator Profile Exchange (TPX) that will allow LSPs to receive automatic updates on translator profiles and also check how other LSPs have rated them.

Read more: Common Sense
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:00 PM
Categories: Translation News

Word of the Day: olla podrida

olla podrida \ol-uh-puh-DREE-duh; oy-uh-\, noun;
plural olla podridas /-DREE-duhz/ or ollas podridas:
1. A stew of highly seasoned meat and vegetables.
2. A mixture; a hodgepodge.

This complex, Byzantine, at times long-winded work, which spent more than 60 weeks on Spain's best sellers list, throws together mystery, romance, and crime into one big mix like an olla podrida. -- Lawrence Olszewski, review of The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Library Journal, February 1, 2004

The whole piece is an olla podrida of light music, in which the jig is the most conspicuous. -- Juanita Karpf and Tom Scott, "Populism with Religious Restraint," review of Esther, the Beautiful Queen, by William B. Bradbury, Popular Music and Society, Spring 1999

Posted by Kwintessential at 5:54 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Xmas Trees Return to Seattle Airport

Christmas trees that had been removed from Seattle airport after a religious complaint have now been reinstated, according to reports.

The Seattle-Tacoma airport authorities removed the twelve Christmas trees they had been installed after receiving a letter of complaint from a local rabbi. Rabbi Elzar Bogomilsky wanted a Jewish menorah placed alongside the Christmas trees to reflect the region's cultural diversity. However, much to Mr Bogomilsky's disdain, the airport removed the trees and ignored his message about the menorah, resulting in public outcry and hate mail being sent to the rabbi.

Read more: Xmas

2008 Beijing Olympic Games Seeks Translators

With the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on the horizon, the Beijing Emergency Medical Center set up hotlines on Tuesday to recruit volunteers capable of answering emergency calls in foreign languages.

The emergency line "120" needs people who speak a foreign language fluently and who can man the phones for at least four hours a month or 100 hours annually, with no restrictions on gender, age or nationality, said Wang Xuelihong, director of the emergency control center.

Read more: Olympics
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:16 PM
Categories: Translation News

University Students Face Language Requirement

University College London has decided that a GCSE in a modern foreign language will be compulsory for admission to all of its courses from 2012, in a move that it hopes will stop schools abandoning the discipline.

The plan, which is being closely watched by other universities, comes after GCSE entries showed a 14.7% drop in exam-takers following a government decision to make language study optional for 14 to 16-year-olds.

Read more: UCL
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:15 PM
Categories: Language Learning News

Government to review £100m translation budget

The Government is to review the £100million or more of public money spent on translation for immigrants, it has emerged.

Councils, hospitals and police forces spend millions of pounds each year on interpretion. But the Government admitted that the service could be dividing communities rather than promoting integration.

It is now planning to put more money towards teaching English. An investigation by the BBC found that at least £100million is spent each year on translation. One primary care trust in north London is paying for anti-smoking lessons in Turkish.

Read more: BBC
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:13 PM
Categories: Translation News

Word of the Day: inkhorn

inkhorn \INK-horn\, adjective:
1. Affectedly or ostentatiously learned; pedantic.
1. A small bottle of horn or other material formerly used for holding ink.

. . .the widespread use of what were called (dismissively, by truly learned folk) "inkhorn terms." -- Simon Winchester, "Word Imperfect", The Atlantic Monthly, May 2001

In prison he wrote the De Consolatione Philosophiae, his most celebrated work and one of the most translated works in history; it was translated . . . by Elizabeth I into florid, inkhorn language. -- The Oxford Companion to English Literature, s.v. "Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus (c. 475 - 525)."

Posted by Kwintessential at 5:34 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

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