Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

The Trouble with Translations

Bridging cultures: Erin Meyer leads a multi-cluttered multi-cultural life. A professor at a prestigious business school, she teaches Intercultural Negotiations and How To Say "This Is Crap" In Different Cultures. If the Dutch and Brits need help, what about understanding aliens?!


Thankfully, it's easy to laugh at memes, but these issues can lead to hurt feelings, stunted friendships, missed business connections or serious conflict.

Managers in different parts of the world are conditioned to give feedback in drastically different ways. The Chinese manager learns never to criticize a colleague openly or in front of others, while the Dutch manager learns always to be honest and to give the message straight. Americans are trained to wrap positive messages around negative ones, while the French are trained to criticize passionately and provide positive feedback sparingly.

And we aren't even broaching body language, timing, and tone of voice yet!

But there's hope, at least this one British girl and this Dutch living in France managed to communicate with an alien.


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