Global Cultural Exchanges


Have you ever heard a story, in most cases an urban legend, something like this, “If you sit with your foot on your knee in such-and-such country, the locals take it as an insult”? Most of us have heard similar stories by the score. How do such stories emerge and become legends? Are they just the workings of an over active imagination, or are they something else?

Sometimes they are based on truth, but more likely they are not. They are just misconceptions that have bred and fed on themselves to take a life of their own. Before you know it, these stories with little or nothing to support them become accepted as facts. Sensational reporting doesn’t help matters either. Because people don’t want boring stories, news sells only if it’s sensationalized. Through both social and print media, which may not be policed at all for truthfulness, the material we come across usually does not paint an accurate picture of a country and its culture.

Nothing Can Be Better than a First-Hand Experience

To understand a culture, first-hand experience is essential. For this purpose, countries like the USA initiate cultural exchange programs through which artists, filmmakers, musicians, poets, etc., from different countries meet one another. Cultural exchanges directly or indirectly address matters of global concern. These include tolerance, conflict resolution, awareness of human rights, importance of art and craft, freedom of creative expression, etc.

Cultural expos and other such cultural exchange programs supply a unique opportunity for nations to introduce their culture to the rest of the world.


Reducing Misunderstandings

Of course, there are misconceptions on both sides of the global divide. But since we have no means to filter the authentic from the inauthentic, ill-conceived ideas about those who are strange multiply and persist. So what can be done about it? One solution is cultural exchange programs, such as cultural festivals and expos, etc., which could be organized to bridge gaps between countries.

As an example, DeMonfort University in Leicester, England, will hold its 13th Cultural Exchange Festival to exchange ideas and beliefs multilaterally. During one week each year, this event hosts more than 3,000 people, and the number is growing. Talks and discussions occur on formal and informal levels, as individuals from one country meet and speak with individuals from other countries.

Alliance, an American cultural exchange community, organizes cultural exchanges between residents of the US and other countries to promote and understand indigenous cultures from all over the world. Displays of art and culture in varied genres attract not only artists to such programs but also aficionados who simply appreciate art and want to add something positive to their own lives.

These are just two examples of many efforts being made multilaterally. The U.S Department of State also offers exchange programs involving students and faculty from various countries.

How Language Comes into Play

One of the biggest obstacles at such events is the language barrier. At the Leicester festival, booths of bi-lingual and multilingual volunteers help any two, three or more people converse by interpreting for them. As bi-bilingualism has become indispensable in today’s world, such events can be made more fruitful by engaging translators and interpreters for better communication between people from across the globe.

We can cast a casual glance around the world and easily see conflict everywhere we look. It is obvious that we’re in trouble globally and that we must do something about it. But stopping global and local problems must begin with ending misunderstandings and false conceptions of differences. Each of us needs to step up and put a stop to misconceptions abounding worldwide. If anything can reduce or eliminate misunderstandings, it has to take place on a grassroots level with the common people, each one committed to finding truth and accepting cultural differences. Learning other languages is a necessary step to achieving global understanding.

A Brief Introduction to German Culture

Map-of-Germany-Cartoon2Germany, or Deutschland as Germans call it, is located in Central Europe, where it has a rich and distinctive history and culture. Because it shares its borders with nine countries–Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, and Poland–other cultures have greatly influenced German language, culture and lifestyle into what Germany is today. Neighboring countries, particularly Austria, with which it shares the longest border, is the most similar to Germany.

A Country with a Rich History

For a tourist, there are plenty of historical sites in Germany. The Trier baths, Roman Amphitheater. Black Gate (Porta Nigra) and pillars of the Roman Bridge over the Mosel; the Weiden Roman Burial Chamber on the outskirts of Cologne, the Drusus Stone on the grounds of the Mainz citadel, and other remains date back to the 1st and 2nd centuries. However, Roman ruins are common throughout Germany.

Other historical monuments are fairly new as compared to these. The Brandenburg Gate, the remains of the Berlin Wall separating East and West Germany at one time, the Berliner Dom as well as castles and palaces built by dukes or Prussian emperors are major attractions for tourists.

The German Lifestyle

Germans, who are very hard working, place much value on precision and order in almost every aspect of their lives. They do not compromise on the quality of work. You will not find them frivolous. In fact, they are generally raised with a sense of responsibility ingrained in them. They are highly committed, self -disciplined, and generally reserved. This doesn’t mean they are unfriendly, but they may take a while to be communicative, especially when mingling with other cultures.

Eating Habits

The eating habits of Germans are not very different from those of other Europeans. They consume pork more than twice as much as beef or goat meat. Schweinshaxe and Saumagen, as well as pork sausages, are staples of German diet. Germans also eat bratwurst. beets, cabbage, cauliflower and other veggies as parts of their meals. Potatoes in all forms are a staple, as is brown bread. Usually German food is bland with little or no spices added.

As a large Turkish population lives in Germany, Turkish cheese and sausages, Turkish bread and doner kabab are also easily available. Beer, brandy and schnapps are the most popular alcoholic drinks in Germany.

Religion and Language

A large majority of the German population is Christian, divided almost evenly between Catholics and Protestants. Due to a large population of Turks and migrants from other Muslim countries, 5 percent of the population is Muslim. Jews are few because of the massive deportation and extermination during the Second World War.

Around 95 percent of the population speaks German, but some people close to the Rhine estuary also speak Serbian. Turks speak German, as well as Turkish and Hebrew. People living close to the Danish border speak Danish, whereas an indigenous language, Romani, is also spoken by a very few.

Apart from the Christian holidays, Oktoberfest is one of the most colorful events that Germans celebrate. It lasts a fortnight. The festival is a source of joy for adults and children alike. The actual event is centered in Munich, but similar fairs occur all over the country. It is the world’s largest party.

Doing Business with the Germans

Germans are very organized, efficient and orderly in their business. They do not like long discussions because they hate wasting time. The top executives of a company or organization conduct meetings with their counterparts, and hierarchy is given importance. Meetings are very formal, with an amazing amount of preparation and effort preceding each one. Germans tend to avoid on-the-spot and casual decisions.

German professionals make the most of their time and tend to get straight to business. Because Germans are very straightforward, their communication may seem undiplomatic and brusque to a foreigner. Their business communication is a proof of this characteristic.

Realism and its International Application…Visualizing The Doctrine In Today’s World

Realism was a philosophy which was not related to political or international affairs in the past until recently. The doctrine implies that every individual is ‘primarily selfish and power seeking.’ If applied to nations rather than individuals, it would establish that all nations aim to seek power and pursue their own national interests with little consideration for the interest of other nations of the world. Moreover, the desire to establish supremacy over other countries of the world has been as old as the formation of societies. But viewing it all in the current perspective, one wonders if today’s world can afford to follow the doctrine of realism.

We definitely need a world where people can live together in harmony and peace. Differences in culture must not be taken any further than that, as racism can breed contempt and hatred for which we have enough in today’s world. Instead of taking the resources of other countries, mutual collaboration between countries on an international level can be beneficial in a productive way. Bilateral ties and trade partnerships can strengthen economies. One Translation company, The Marketing Analysts Translation Services is playing a major role in bridging cultural gaps while providing effective interpretation services for international conventions and seminars.

Realism, if not taken to an extreme, can definitely become a productive force. But when nations  establish themselves as stronger entities without any consideration for the rights of the weaker nations, that is when there is a serious threat to peace and stability in the world. Countries must realize that a third world war would be a serious threat to humanity. Therefore we as humans, both individually and collectively, should learn to respect our cultural differences. The role played by translation services is commendable in bringing people from different cultures together on various forums.

A Spanish translator working for the The Marketing Analysts Translation Service Company told that he had served the company on various international forums. He viewed his job as a service to humanity because the prime purpose of an interpreter, according to him, is to make people understand each other. Misunderstandings arise when the concerned parties are unable to communicate with each other. Difference in linguistic backgrounds is the primary reason of a communication barrier.

Social media is also playing a positive role in bringing people of different ethnic backgrounds closer to each other. What the world needs today is harmony and progression that is for everyone and not for a chosen few.

Different Interpretations of Words

An important part of the dilemma in comprehending communication is based on language, which utilizes terms as representations of our world. As one Portuguese translation Houston expert explains, “There isn’t anything in the word cake that immediately links it to the actual items that we know as a cake. Everyone could easily refer to a cake a camel.” Therefore, language is a seemingly random code that relies upon commonly known and used meanings.

There is however a restriction on how extensively someone can commonly use a common definition for a certain term. With respect to the literal degree, Washington D.C. Translation services suggest that terms aren’t always exact. Everyone residing in a particular culture accepts the definition for the term cake. However your concept of a cake is a blend every cake you have ever seen and consumed: German Chocolate cakes, banana cakes, birthday cakes, white or vanilla cakes, ice cream cakes. A person from a different culture may have a different range of cake experiences: cream filled cakes, carrot cakes, fruit cakes. The two of you concur with the general idea of cookie, but the precise picture inside your minds can vary.

At the subjective level, the variations are even larger. Your translation and interpretation of the term cake hinges partially on what you think about cakes. An individual could have really satisfying feelings about cakes; you may recall making cakes with your parents or returning home from classes on fall days to a piece of cake and milk. Or you may be on a diet, in which case a piece of cake will be an unpleasant reminder that you are too fat and must say no to all your favorite foods.

Certainly, the “fuzziness” of words is not an impossible problem. Men and women find a way to communicate with one each other all the time, regardless of the constraints of language. However it’s helpful to keep in mind that words alone don’t suggest or imply anything. Their meanings hinge on the thoughts they suggest in people’s minds, and no two minds are the same. Make an effort to get over variations in the interpretation of words by making use of the most precise and exact language achievable.

Translating in the Global Community of the 21st Century: Part I

Although designing culturally neutral documents is necessary in 21st century writing, documents for translating may be strongly imbedded in the culture of the source document, which makes translation difficult and may easily result in misunderstanding.  To make culturally sensitive translations, Houston Translation Services workers should observe the conventions of the target language and culture. This includes much more than observing patterns of organizing sentences and paragraphs and selecting correct, appropriate vocabulary.  It includes reflecting cultural and national conventions.

Unfortunately for the certified translator, conventions for expressing numbers can differ from one culture to another.  Although we usually think of numbers as standard, they are expressed differently.  Therefore, Washington D.C. translation workers must familiarize themselves with the conventions of each international audience.  They also require translators to make translations as understandable as possible in multiple cultures.

Decimals can be confusing, no matter the country, because there is no universally accepted expression.  In the United States, a period is used to indicate the decimal point, as in thirty-three and five-tenths (33.5).  Countries like Great Britain, Germany, Chile, and others, express the decimal point with a comma (33,5).

Numbers in thousands and larger units are expressed differently around the world.  In the United States, a comma is used to separate hundreds from thousands, from millions, from  billions, etc. (100,000 for 100 thousand or 10,000,000 for 10 million).  In Germany and Great Britain, a period is used (100,000 or 10,000,000).  In other countries, Sweden, for example, a space is used (100 000 or 10 000 000).  Writing out the unit (100 thousand or 10 million), instead of using all numbers, insures understanding.

Using Significant Facts To Draw Attention To Sales Letters And Brochures

No matter what language or culture you are targeting, including significant facts and using them wisely can go a long way in generating and keeping attention.  Here are a few examples provided by one New York French translator with The Marketing Analysts Translation Company:

The average selling price for an existing home is $174,105.  Today, most of us CAN’T AFFORD to move into a bigger and better home. –(Reader’s Digest Books)

In 2013, the battle for financial survival in chaotic markets will be so bewildering, with all of the old financial rules turned inside out.  THE FINANCIAL WAR ROOM is the tool for financial survival. – (Target Publishers, Inc.)

The possibilities for attention-getters are limitless.  For instance, a team of Certified Miami Translation workers that recently worked on a financial services brochure integrated the use of testimonials, facts about the product, references to mutual problems, solutions to problems into the piece.  They encourage their clients to include anything that makes prospects want to read on.

The Marketing Analysts Translation Company cautions though that the significant facts must relate to the product or service you’re selling.  Note how this opening begins with a statement that leads directly to the topic:

You know what small, multifunction copiers did for you in the past.  Discover what they can do for you now. ..At a special, low direct mail price.

The SHARP MX-B402 multifunction copier is the result of five-years of SHARP research and development.  Merging the latest imaging, microprocessor and network technologies, the SHARP MX-B402 offers you high quality copying and reliability in one of the smallest multifunction copiers that SHARP has ever made.

The proceeding openers follow these guidelines:

  1. They have a you perspective
  2. They respect the reader’s intelligence
  3. They’re brief (story openings are exceptional)
  4. They’re original and interesting
  5. They avoid overblown language
  6. They avoid misleading or preposterous claims
  7. They create persuasive appeal.

Using Sales Letters Effectively To Reach Diverse Markets

Sales letters have distinct advantages over other advertising media.  For instance, with accurate mailing lists, you can address your sales message to a specific audience or target market.  Depending on the product or service, you can tailor a message for foreign language speaking college students, women between 18 and 22, people with incomes over $40,000, plumbers, horticulturists, matadors or any well-defined group with well-defined needs.

Besides addressing a specific population or culture, sales letters can be specially tailored to create a familiar and confidential tone.  For instance, one effective sales letter that was written by the Chinese Translation Chicago company begins, “At least for the time being, we would prefer that you do not share this news with friends.” Another begins, “You may just be the solution.” And a third invites the reader’s confidence by saying, “We’re assuming that you’re as fed up as we are with the decline of your dollars.”

Sales letters also are more detailed than other media.  As professional translators at the Chinese Translation Washington D.C. company explain, “Unlike a TV spot, a magazine ad, a column in a newspaper or a billboard, your sales letter can be comprehensive.”  You have time to spell out how the product can fill specific needs—time to describe the product and its benefits.

Sales letters have three disadvantages.  First, many people consider them “junk mail.”  You must overcome this image by convincing prospects your message will benefit them.  Thus, Houston Portuguese Translation workers suggest that their responsibilities are twofold: You must attract prospects’ attention so they will read the message; then you must move them to action, whether ordering the product, requesting more information, or asking that a sales representative call.  Consumer distrust is a second disadvantage.  Many have lost money or received junk by mail and were left with no recourse.  So, besides breaking down initial resistance to sales letters, you must also persuade consumers that you are reputable.  Finally, some consumers simply dislike ordering by mail.  They want to see, touch, smell or try to the merchandise before buying.

To counter these objections, use the flexibility the sales letter package allows.  Include graphic illustrations, colorful pictures, samples, brochures, swatches of fabric—anything that will encourage consumers to order by mail.

To eliminate fear of bad merchandise, offer money-back guarantees, examination periods, delayed payments, 30-day trials, gifts, or any legitimate compensation.  A shirt company, for instance, notes in its sales letter: “What’s more, there’s NO OBLIGATION for you to keep the shirts.  If you’re not completely satisfied after wearing them for a week, send them back and owe nothing.  No questions asked.”

Limiting The Business Risks of Entering Foreign Markers

A large number of organizations inadvertently prevent their businesses from entering into new markets and nations. A company’s greatest concern is that it will lose money by launching their business into unknown markets. The risks are greater when the business is unfamiliar with the cultures and traditions of the new market. This is because the organization may not be able to provide the requirements demanded by their (future) clients in a region with cultural and language barriers. As a result, a company could wind up throwing away an opportunity rather than profiting from it.
Thankfully, there is a solution for this dilemma, and that is to get help from a Miami Russian Translation companies that offer international Certified Translation services. By hiring these skilled translators, you can effortlessly correspond with people from all across the globe. These translators can work as your “voice”, or act as a mediator between you and your customers. They are also able to provide legal services such as marriage certificate translation services for immigration and visa purposes. With these experts on your team, you’ll never have to worry about mistranslations and other problems that can come between you and your market.
This is why business professors at leading universities and the Japanese Translation Services Chicago company strongly believe that being able to have meaningful dialogue with business partners, clients and stakeholders is an integral part to business success. Further, manager in global organizations will also attest to the accuracy of this statement. Without accurate communication, you can turn off buyers and suffer serious consequences. This is why good communication should be essential to an employee’s advancement.

What To Do When Language and Culture Clash

There’s no denying the growth in the Asian Market. There is an ever growing demand for financial services in this area of the world. All over the world there are large numbers of companies and organizations who can offer such business opportunities. It is crucial however, to see the differences in language and culture that differ between nations and assembling a good and effective financial translation service.  If these growing markets in Asia want to appeal to foreign investors worldwide, it is critical to seek out the best of the financial translation services. This of course, is easier said than done. The financial translation services will need to have expert knowledge of the differences between China, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam. This wide scope includes huge differences in culture and language. The localization within these nations must also be understood if a relevant financial service translation is to be provided.

There are now many French translation Boston companies growing, eager to gain and take advantage of the new markets. Within Asia it is crucial if business is to thrive and that confidence in the financial translation service is provided and well referenced. A good company or organization offering the financial translation should provide only the most expert translators who are native speakers of the target country.  It can never be stressed enough, that mistakes where language is concerned during translation can have excruciating effects, culminating in financial loss and loss of confidence in business. A good translation service will also provide all areas of reports in translation, including audit reports, analytical evaluations and will have the crucial resources of translators skills on offer.

Communication Is The Heart Of Cultural Interaction

Translation workers across the earth have always argued that communication is the heart of cultural interaction: whenever we network we converse. If you are a Houston Translation Services worker, make an effort to think of any cultural interaction that is devoid of communication. Individuals always broadcast information about what they believe, contemplate and feel – by all means even about personal information – in some of our messages are unintended. We send our thoughts through words, non-verbal cues, hints, expressions and touch. People use phone calls, writing, letters and texting. Communication is social in a few aspects:

• It involves our affairs with others.
• It is built upon a joint appreciation of purpose.
• It is the particular way people impact each other.

Communication demands a transmission source, information, a receiver and a channel of communication. According to Washington D.C. Translation Services workers, any communicative event is highly advanced: a sender can also be a recipient and vice versa, and there may be a few, sometimes unclear, announcements transmitting together through an blend of a range of mental and non-oral avenues.

A number of social psychologists at The Marketing Analysts Translations claim that correspondence is the aspect missing from treatments of social knowledge, provided that the latter is influenced by belief. Alternatively, research in social cognition has commonly centered on individual data management and recall, and has underemphasized the essential duty of communication in structuring knowledge.

The study of communication is oftentimes an enormous effort that can use a wide range of fields, such as psychology, philosophy and interpretation. Social scientists have tended commonly to differentiate between the evaluation of language and the study of non-verbal communication. Recently, some social psychologists have centered on discourse. Translation consultants find out that a complete awareness of communication should include both verbal and non-verbal communication.