As part of verbal communication, English became the standard language taught in most places for the purpose of connecting the world. Together with the Internet and other sources of technology they play a crucial role aiming to bring cultures together. It can be observed commonly in Oriental societies, that articulation, that is the proper way of pronouncing words when speaking, is mainly noticed. This cultures find it fairly challenging because their language is rather complex.
In studies carried out by Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1997) shows how the tone of voice develops when speaking. By using diagrams it can be noticed ups and downs (word stress and intonation) illustrated for Latin and Anglo Saxon countries whereas in Oriental societies they do not display as much in variation. Thus, this reflects on an additional influence determining whether communication is accomplished or not. The less people articulate, when speaking English, the lower the voice tends to sound and the more intimidated they may feel. In English culture, people express themselves mainly verbally, hence the necessity of speaking loud and clear.
Communications can often be misleading if cultural differences are not taken into account. A foreign traveller who cannot speak the local language requires a translator who is supposed to be the mediator with no strings attached neither to the tourist nor to the immigration officer. If all three persons involved come from different backgrounds, chances of misinterpretation is likely to be created together with the final decision being neutral hence entrance depending on how well they can understand one another. Moreover, in the event the translator and the visitor share the same language as their mother tongue, it will appear that the interpreter would be favourable to the grant of entry to the country.
Probably this person’s likehood to being given a visa would have increased. In the movie by Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation 2003), the main protagonist is an American lost around Japan. He experiences the difficulties found when he no longer can communicate as well as if he were to speak in English. These examples reflect on how uncomfortable people feel when they are in an unknown environment. As metaphorically used by Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1997), someone’s culture is like water to a fish that only discovers its need for water when it is no longer in it.
Although it has been noticed unexpected barriers in communication between people from different backgrounds, employers believe that cultural diverseness in a workplace can create a wider variety of ideas being shared and even promote higher productivity (Addler & Elmhurst, 2005). Therefore, it can be observed the reasons why several multinational companies incorporate a multicultural system of employment. It is believed that managers in several companies are encouraged to ascertain the various differences in culture. It becomes essential for the communicator to be familiar with what could be expected from a conversation. Furthermore, it is by experiencing cultural diversity in life that gives the answer for those employers who are willing to invest in people from different countries.
On the other hand miscommunication between cultures can affect businesses in a way they can even lose their jobs. In Japan, exchanging business cards is an important part of business. Received from both hands of a Japanese business person, the card should be carefully examined at that time and given to be well understood by the receiver. (Addler & Elmhurst 2005), the trading of cards becomes a symbol of the business dealings.
In the event the card is accepted abruptly followed by placing it immediately in the pocket it will represent to the Japanese a form of disrespect and disregard to the importance of business. Consequently, the personal relations could be terminated. It becomes highly important to familiarize beforehand with the aim of obtaining efficacious results both in communicating and in business decisions.
Another factor in business which can promote misunderstanding when sharing information one to the other is attributed to how direct or indirect communicating is assimilated. As pointed out by Trompennars and Hampden-Turner (1997) Japanese and French people tend to talk around the subject before reaching the business part, whereas in the USA and Netherlands they appreciate a more straightforward relationship. Assuming these ideas, in Japanese culture contrasting to American, people are more likely to give the impression that the main point of a conversation is yet to be understood by the interlocutor.
This point of view has been popularized as a low context (direct) and high context (indirect) cultures presented by Edward Hall (1976) where personal relationships can be affected depending on what type of contexts cultures are associated with. Once again it becomes of high significance to comprehend other cultures in the way they communicate so that the relationship is not damaged by misjudgement.
In addition, people’s personal relationships are directly connected to their ability to manage their time when it comes to meeting people or being in places. For many cultures, time is as essential as money. In The Other Dimension of Life by Hall (1983), terms monochromic and polychromic are used to describe countries where time can either be precise or not; depending on the ability of multitasking being accomplished. People’s personal relationships become with no doubt dependent on how many activities can be done in one day.
Citizens from England, United States and Germany for instance as from monochromic societies tend to be more punctual and do tasks one at the time. In contrast, others nations identified as polychromic do not regard time as essential. When delayed for a business meeting, a Brazilian, in particular, as from a polychromic society, will probably encounter communications difficulties with those of a monochromic orientation who will interpret such a situation as disregard to the relations.
In London, a commuter expresses his indignation when it was announced by a company that users of its train services would be discounted five per cent on their travel ticket as a way of apologising for constant delays experienced by the travellers (Metro, 2005). This shows the impact of how polychromic societies are committed to being on time. The differences in culture on the subject of task management cited can lead to misunderstandings when communicating clearly.
In conclusion, the circumstances listed, such as the fact that culture is learned and that ‘to acculturate’ is linked to how young a person is, brings the idea that culture has always been part of the life and, as previously mentioned existing since the early era of civilization. Lately, the perception of new horizons caused managers to realize how an intercultural workforce is appreciated in international companies.
It was assessed how misunderstanding, due to miscommunication can substantially affect the process of business dealing and a person’s personal relationship. Unmistakably, learning another language, for example English, became a significant tool in order to bring cultures together. Meanwhile, as mentioned, to translate a message in a conversation may not produce the same meaning as the receiver may have expected or as it was intended
In some cultures, time may be of fundamental importance, or in others not so influential. In general, western societies are responsible for the advent of globalization as a phenomenon which brings different cultures together through sources including from eating at McDonald’s restaurants to communicating via the Internet. Nowadays, people are more than ever connected to the world and technology has played an important role which affects such modifications. Considering these facts, it can be assessed that in the past, people experienced more difficulties communicating with each other as a result of the lack of such efficient resources. Therefore, the arrival of new technology has helped on connecting people more often than in the past.
There are many factors which apply on influencing the communication between distinct cultures; the world does encounter cultural difficulties when it comes to communicating effectively. Overall, the important issue to bear in mind is that culture is not supposed to become a barrier with the intention of obstructing communication between countries with different backgrounds. People are granted with education, norms and beliefs and that is an exclusive component in their lives.