From the Editor
Welcome to our January 2009 edition of Language Lines. This month's featured articles, tips, and humor:
- It's Official: Job Outlook Bright for Interpreters and Translators
- Language and Business: An Inextricable Link
- Culture and Business: Using First Names in International Business
- Three Ways Translation Can Boost Your Company's Profits
Corporate Sales Manager
According to the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, language interpretation and translation will continue to be growth sectors until at least 2016.
Interpreters and translators can expect much faster than average employment growth over the next decade although job prospects vary by specialty.
Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to increase 24 percent over the 2006-16 decade. This growth will be driven partly by strong demand in health care settings and work related to homeland security.
Additionally, higher demand for interpreters and translators results directly from the broadening of international ties and the increase in the number of foreign language speakers in the United States. Both of these trends are expected to continue, contributing to relatively rapid growth in the number of jobs for interpreters and translators.
Current events and changing political environments, often difficult to foresee, will increase the need for people who can work with other languages.
(Source : Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook)
/ Betty Carlson
What's the most important key to business success?
Marketing strategy? Hiring the right employees? Financial management?
None of the above, according to Michael Kapek of New York University's Stern School of Business.
The secret is language.
"Business is analyzed and talked about in language, business takes place in language, and virtually all breakdowns in business are either breakdowns in communication or are accompanied by breakdowns in communication. Recognizing this seemingly innocuous presumption is important because it enables a different conversation about business and business problems. And it leads us to the conclusion that the very language we use can profoundly influence outcomes," wrote Kapek in a fascinating article culled from the 2000 archives of the school's journal, STERNbusiness. And his words ring even truer today.
Although Kapek's academic text deals with language in general, we can easily apply his principles to the use of foreign languages in business. It's too easy to assume that English has become the international business language, and that using it is enough. But if communication failures occur mainly because of language problems - even when two people speak the same mother tongue - imagine how these difficulties are magnified if the parties don't even speak the same native language. That's why effective communication, translation, and localization remain the most important business tools available to a company.
TIPS & TIDBITS
Americans are famous for being big on first names, even in business situations. In fact, seeing employees and managers use first names up and down a company's hierarchical structure often strikes businesspeople from other cultures as very informal, or even downright disrespectful. A good rule of thumb - even on home turf - would be to stick with Mr. or Ms. and the last name until invited to do otherwise.
However, the USA is not the only place where businesspeople move quickly to a first name basis. In Canada, Great Britain and the Netherlands, your business contacts may also call you by your first name after the initial introduction. In most European countries, though, using titles and last names is standard in business: don't be surprised to be called "Mr." or "Ms." even after years of a good business relationship in France or Germany.
In most of Asia, first names are reserved for family and close friends, so to show a minimum of respect, you must use - at least - Mr. or Ms.. Some Asian countries employ a number of honorific titles, which require specific study depending on the country in which you are doing business.
In South America, Brazilians tend to move rapidly to a first-name basis, whereas in Argentina or Columbia, first names indicate a closer relationship. And some Spanish titles may surprise you - in Argentina, both physicians and lawyers are addressed as "doctor," plus their last name.
Our article gives only the broadest idea of a few ways people of different nationalities use names and titles to address people with respect. Before doing business in a particular country, take the time to learn what the conventions are.
Forget political debates about whether the USA should make English the national language, and set aside the long-held notion that "everybody speaks English." Translation and its information technology counterpart, localization, are booming industries in the USA for a simple reason: quality translations can boost your company's profits. Here's how:
. Access to Millions of Prospects: Every time you translate information into another language, you expand your potential customer base. 516.7 million consumers access the Internet in a language other than English, and that number is increasing daily as countries expand their use of computers and the Web.
. Better B to B Communication: Take a look at a major European website portal such as Volkswagen's; you'll immediately find links to site versions in German, English, French, Italian and Spanish. A foreign businessperson will obviously choose the language that will be the easiest to understand - so translations definitely open up your site to foreign companies.
. A more professional image for your company: Providing documents and websites in different languages proves that your company is part of the international marketplace and also shows that you respect your clients' culture.
JUST FOR FUN (Humor)
- Always avoid alliteration.
- Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
- Avoid cliches like the plague-they're old hat.
- Employ the vernacular.
- Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
- Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
- Parenthetical words however must be enclosed in commas.
- It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
- Contractions aren't necessary.
- Do not use a foreign word when there is an adequate English quid pro quo.
- One should never generalize.
- Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
- Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
- Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
- It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.
- Avoid archaeic spellings too.
- Understatement is always best.
- Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
- One-word sentences? Eliminate. Always!
- Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
- The passive voice should not be used.
- Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
- Don't repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
- Who needs rhetorical questions?
- Don't use commas, that, are not, necessary.
- Do not use hyperbole; not one in a million can do it effectively.
- Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative would suffice.
- Subject and verb always has to agree.
- Be more or less specific.
- Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.
- Use youre spell chekker to avoid mispeling and to catch typograhpical errers.
- Don't repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
- Don't be redundant.
- Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.
- Don't never use no double negatives.
- Poofread carefully to see if you any words out.
- Hopefully, you will use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
- Eschew obfuscation.
- No sentence fragments.
- Don't indulge in sesquipedalian lexicological constructions.
- A writer must not shift your point of view.
- Don't overuse exclamation marks!!
- Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
- Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
- If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
- Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
- Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
- Always pick on the correct idiom.
- The adverb always follows the verb.
- Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
- If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
- And always be sure to finish what.