Adding to the previous conversation on Social Values, a few of our Houston Translation Services workers have extended the significance of the conversation to include the international marketplace. Understanding why people in foreign countries behave and react as they do means knowing something of their values and beliefs. A North American about to visit a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Canada or the United States is operating in quite a different environment from of a Japanese citizen contemplating a meal at a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Tokyo, India or China. In Japan, the Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets are small because space is scarce. Poultry is also scarce, and therefore expensive. Thus, Kentucky Fried Chicken customers in Japan value a poultry dinner far differently from the Colonel’s customers in Dallas, Texas.
Similarly, industrial buyers and government workers may behave differently in different cultures. In some countries, business dealings are carried on so slowly that Americans are frustrated by what they perceive as delays. Yet, this customary slowness may be seen by their hosts as contributing to a friendly atmosphere. Government officials in some countries openly demand “gifts” or “tips” without which nothing gets done.