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Lost In Translation: Survival Tips for International Managers

Posted in International Management on September 15, 2012
There are (3) comments permalink


{#/pub/images/LostInTranslation.jpg}Debbie Nicol, International Management Expert Panelist & Managing Director, 'business en motion', just posted an article on our blog titled "Lost In Translation: Survival Tips for International Managers".  In her article Debbie talks about Three Common Areas that can have a huge impact on understanding one another:

1) Verbal Communication

2) Non-Verbal Communication

3) Behaviors/Our Expectations of Others


She sites several examples that can lead to confusion.  What are some of your own experiences working internationally where communication or cultural behaviors led to embarrassing or awkward moments?  How did you manage through those mishaps?


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Comments (3)

Debbie Nicol posted on: September 17, 2012

Nice to hear from you Trentroy! You open another thought in my mind. Many international leaders are risk takers and most likely believe that to be entrepreneurial, we need to break or at the least bend the rules, and even perhaps at the expense of 'why' as you say. I have seen some who claim the 'I didn't know' argument when caught out doing that. So this begs the question - what is the level of responsibility an international manager must accept in getting to know a. the cultural rules and b. the legal rules on any new assignment?

Trentroy posted on: September 16, 2012

Interesting article Debbie. I agree that being open is very important. You have to understand why things are done a certain way before you attemp to modify them. In many cases laws determine how things are done.

Debbie Nicol posted on: September 15, 2012

Hi everyone! How did you find the above article: "Lost in Translation'? I see some overlap between its content and the survey on this page. I chose an open mind over the language - yet language is so important too! (Dont you hate when surveys make you choose!) This begs a question - but how much of the local language should we have? When I lived in Brussels, I learnt French three times a week and became so focussed on correct French sentences and terminology. Yet in the Arab world, for the past 10 years I have much greater success with just 10 words, that get resounding reaction each time I use them. So how much local language do you feel is important for an expatriate?

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Have you ever made assumptions based on your own culture that led to embarrassing moments overseas?