Sunday, October 20, 2019
How to bridge language barriers - Emphasis
How to bridge language barriers How to bridge language barriers A new dictionary is set to make sense of that most inscrutable of languages: teen speak. This comprehensive reference book, called Pimp Your Vocab, aims to allow bemused parents and teachers to comprehend such teenglish terms as owned (meaning embarrassed), smacked it (to have done well), and teek (adjective for very old; from antique). Understanding your child or pupil may help you to save face (though its probably best not to adopt these words yourself); but being completely clear in business communications can be the difference between winning and losing a client. Thinking globally In the modern world of global commerce, chances are at some point youll have to correspond with someone in another part of the world. We know technology can instantly transport information to just about anywhere on the planet, but are you sure your message will be completely understood once its there? If you are writing any work document (including any letters and emails) for someone whose first language isnt English, there are some rules that you must follow if you want to be understood. 1. Think of the reader and keep it simple This advice really applies to all business writing, but it is particularly important across language barriers. Use the most straightforward words and sentences you can. So, instead of saying, we have been thinking of implementing some alterations, please see them outlined in the attached document, try descriptions of the changes we want to make are in the attached document. Usually you should try to avoid tions (like description, recommendation etc.), as they tend to make sentences heavy with extra words. However, in this case its good to use them, since other languages often have recognisable equivalents. 2. Structure thoughtfully You want to make the readers journey through your document as smooth and easy as possible. Plan thoroughly first to make sure you structure it in the most logical way and use clear subheadings to guide them. If they have to work even harder by following a haphazard stream-of-consciousness, you risk irritating them and losing their interest entirely. 3. Be literal and explain yourself Be very aware of the language you choose. English is bursting with idioms (expressions that dont make sense from literal translations), like put the project to bed, cut the mustard and clear as mud. Avoid these entirely. What is an everyday term to us could well be utterly bewildering to your reader just imagine them looking up each individual word to understand the sentiment behind think outside the box or a different kettle of fish. Even such simple phrasal verbs as turned up and stand for dont make literal sense. Use came and represent or mean instead. Abbreviations and acronyms should also be used with care, or left out if possible. If you really cant avoid including them, make sure you explain them at your first use, or add a glossary. If you stick to these principles in your global dealings, you will reap the rewards. But when you do, just try to resist telling your colleagues that you totally smacked it.