Globish or Bullish – Be Careful Navigating the China Shop in English

Many international business people have amusing, awkward or devastating stories to tell about miscommunications between English and non-English speakers. A previous colleague of mine at UNICEF used to collect funny signs from around the world where the bad English unintentionally conveyed something other than intended: for example, ‘Shoplifters will be Prostituted’ or ‘No Littering: Violators will be Fine’!

My own experience from living in Denmark for two decades brought many such scenarios my way. Not that I shoplifted or littered, of course. Although I learned during my time there to speak comprehensible Danish and to understand most of the cultural references, I was glad that the business side of life had English as the largest common denominator. Without that fact, I would not be at Milestone Systems today!

Back in 2003 the Denmark-based company with 28 employees needed PR and a new website in English to help them reach beyond that small country’s borders, to pursue their goals for expansion and growth. Lucky expat me got the job. And I still love working for Milestone, although I ply my English skills from the U.S. these days.

A recent BBC article, sent over by my Danish co-worker Jos, gave me pause for thought with a different perspective – and a bit more humility: many native English speakers are NOT the best communicators! Our English-centric world can make us blind to non-native needs. To use an old expression that perhaps non-English speakers don’t know or understand, ‘like bulls in a china shop’ we Anglophones can talk too fast or too loud or too long, taking up disproportionate time in a multi-cultural group.

Have a read about this topic, and the universal language called Globish, to see what you think:
native-english-speakers-are-the-worlds-worst-communicators

Courtney Pedersenby Courtney Dillon Pedersen, Corporate Communications Manager, Milestone Systems

Related posts

Making Education Intelligent

Making Education Intelligent

AI is ‘the new black’. In 2016, 26.2 per cent of all newly started companies in the U.S. were companies focused on Artificial Intelligence. In China it was 23.7 per cent and in Europe 15.1 per cent. In short, Europe lags behind when...

Posted
Casting Eyes on Maritime Security

Casting Eyes on Maritime Security

The benefits of digital video in a maritime context are numerous.  But the use of video is much different from most land-based solutions because all maritime installations have to be able to withstand high levels of corrosion, vibrations, shock...

3 Quick Questions on System Builder Program

3 Quick Questions on System Builder Program

Milestone Systems announced the new System Builder Program at the annual Americas Milestone Community Days (MIPS) event in Las Vegas. We took the opportunity to ask Henrik Sydbo Hansen, Head of Devices and Integrations at Milestone Systems, about...

Posted