PREPARING FOR SOCIAL BUSINESS COMMUNICATION FOR MULTILINGUAL MARKETS

Just a few years back, business communication was usually discussed in the context of publishing or broadcasting. This was most frequently done by a company producing carefully worded communications that were targeted to a mass audience that usually had only one or two ways to react to the message. In the same manner, the intended consumers usually had limited and no means to interact among themselves, solve problems, raise doubts and offer assistance to other consumers with similar concerns.

In more recent times, an assortment of solutions have been introduced that have successfully worked to improve the business communication. Unlike the way of thinking previously mentioned, this fresh approach that uses a social media style is collaborative, dynamic, conversational, multilingual and culturally sensitive. As translators with The Marketing Analysts Translation Service explain, classic methods of publishing communications using fixed, ordered and primarily one-way channels are becoming extinct.” The intended consumer has stopped being an inactive receiver of information. Instead, the intended consumer is now a dynamic and engaged member in the discussion. In the same way social media represents the latest advancements for the internet, Social Business Communication is a good terms used to describe this new style of business communication.

While the new style of communication might seem to some as a few simple tools (ex. blogs and wikis), the new style is greatly transforming the way business communication is conducted. For instance, previously business messages were carefully worded and tested by advertising agencies and professional writers and the sent to a translation company and then sent to sometimes targeted or untargeted passive audiences. Using the social business communication style, the principles have been radically transformed; no presumptions should be assumed.

Obviously, no organization, regardless of how passionately it adopts the Social Business Communication mentality, will allow itself to operate in a way that gives everyone a voice to be heard. Rather, a business will more likely employ the conventional approach for certain communications (ex. marketing plans, product strategies and other documents) and use the Social Business Communication approach for other types of communications such as instructional and support communications. Throughout the next set of blog entries, we will include a variety of discussions that concern the new style of social business communication and how it influences certified translators, consumers and stakeholders.

Usefulness of Writing

When students leave the classroom and enter the professional workplace, they often feel overwhelmed by the demands on them to write. Even though they have written assignments, term papers, and essay exams for years, they find that the writing they excelled in at school is not the writing that wins them accolades on the job.

As one Spanish Translator suggested, school writing tends to focus on learning how to expand ideas and words and rewards fulfilling specific assignments. Thus clarity and accuracy may not be valued so highly as citing sources correctly or using what students term as “flowery” words. Furthermore, school writing usually prescribes a particular subject, scope, length, method, and essay format.  Audience considerations, beyond worrying  about what the professor likes or wants, are never in doubt, since students ought to know that their professors already know more about their topics than they do.  Although students may or may not be engaged in their writing projects but nevertheless believe that anything they produce is important, their  writing is actually useful only for securing a grade or determining a grade.   It cannot be reused or repurposed on most campuses without compromising academic integrity.   It does not provide content that the reader needs.  Instead, It shows what the writer knows—or disguises what he does not know.

In contrast, a French translator in New York believes says that professional writing comes with the job.  It has utility:  it serves uses that are indispensable in today’s world.   It may provide directions, preserve history, attempt a sale, lay out common understandings and procedures, or become a legal document.  It may be used many times and in many ways.  It is the property of the employer, who may alter it or use it as written.

Instead of focusing on what the writer wants to say, it requires the writer to assess the audience to determine who that audience—or multiple audiences—might be, what the audience needs and wants, how much that audience already knows about the subject, what level of language to use, and how to present the information in a format that is psychologically appealing.  And it requires logical organization, clear expression, accuracy in all details, and correct grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure.  As if this were not enough, the writing must also be so clear that every reader understands it in the same way and so concise that the readers do not waste their time plowing through unnecessary words or confusing sentences.   It must be clear, concise, direct—and easy to use.  It is determined not by the writer’s preferences but by the reader’s needs and expectations.