ERIC Number: ED349808
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Nov
Don't Get Lost in the Translation.
Wederspahn, Gary M.
In this era of rapid globalization of business opportunities, many managers face the need to communicate with foreign counterparts who do not speak English. The solution, in many cases, is to use an interpreter. Interpreters, however, may make mistakes, and irritation, embarrassment and even major problems may arise from errors in translation. This paper discusses techniques and strategies for using interpreters in international business in such a way as to avoid miscommunication or misinterpretation. They include: providing the interpreter with a written text or outline; using professionals; having an interpreter for both parties in a negotiation; awareness of the interpreter's physical and emotional state; watching for signs that the listener is stressed, fatigued, or confused; speaking slowly and pronouncing clearly; avoiding oversimplification or appearance of condescension; speaking to one's counterpart, not the interpreter; avoiding slang or jargon; using charts and diagrams for clarity; using only metaphors, analogies, or allusions that are familiar to the foreign counterpart; being aware of false cognates; avoiding humor or satire; attending to precision in terminology; and practicing use of an interpreter before the need arises. (MSE)
Descriptors: Business Administration, Communication Skills, Cultural Context, Feedback, Figurative Language, Humor, Intercultural Communication, International Trade, Interpreters, Language Usage, Listening Comprehension, Nonverbal Communication, Pronunciation, Standard Spoken Usage, Suprasegmentals, Translation, Visual Aids, Vocabulary
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A