Humor and culture in international business

Humor and culture in international business
Chris Smit
Mar 18, 2015
“To Germans, humor is serious business”.
the differences amongst cultures and its impact on the way we do business.

… to study Industrial and Organisational Psychology.

He is an experienced consultant and coach in intercultural business


Unite Europe 2016 – Two Devs, One Deadline, No Coders: How Unity Changed Our Lives
June 14, 2016

39:01 The problem was that we’ve added so much narrative and so much flavor text. There were puns, there were in-jokes, there were cultural references, there were song lyrics. None of these things are easy to localize. Now we had a whole bunch of stuff that was impossible to translate.

An in-joke, also known as an inside joke or a private joke, is a joke whose humour is understandable only to members of an ingroup, that is, people who are in a particular social group, occupation, or other community of shared interest.


You get the meaning, but you miss much of the music

French, English, Comics: Proust On Memory, In Any Language
July 12, 2015

back then I had several years of high-school French under my belt, and a dream. I’ll read the guy in French, I thought. How hard can it be?
The answer, it may not surprise some of you to learn, is “excruciatingly.” For me, anyway.

if you read Proust in English — even an excellent translation – you’re starting off at a certain distance from the original text.
This is true of any translated work, of course: You get the meaning, but you miss much of the music.

I’d argue that comics, if done well, can close some of that distance. They can make the meaning even more immediate, because you SEE the characters, and the places, and the bones of the story making themselves plain. But comics can capture some of that lost music as well.

Lessons From The Language Boot Camp

Lessons From The Language Boot Camp For Mormon Missionaries
June 07, 2014

On a sunny Wednesday in Provo, Utah, a long line of cars spits out about 300 new arrivals to the Missionary Training Center. The facility, known as MTC, is the largest language training school for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Every year, about 36,000 students come to the center before they leave on missions around the world to spread the Mormon faith.

The approach has also gained traction in the U.S. military. In fact, the ties between the U.S. military and the MTC run pretty deep. The Army’s Intelligence Brigade, made up of linguists, is based in Utah and draws on former missionaries to fill its ranks.

The military trains soldiers in much the same way the church trains missionaries; they’re not conjugating verbs, they’re acting out real situations.

“I’m not going to give you multiple-choice questions. I’m not going to give you fill-in-the-blanks,” says Betty Lou Leaver, the provost at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. “Instead, we’re going to actually do something. So a task is something you might actually do in your life.”

Plain language summary

Thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke
Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD000213

Most strokes are due to blockage of an artery in the brain by a blood clot. Prompt treatment with thrombolytic drugs can restore blood flow before major brain damage has occurred and improve recovery after stroke in some people. Thrombolytic drugs, however, can also cause serious bleeding in the brain, which can be fatal.
One drug, recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA), is licensed for use in selected patients within 4.5 hours of stroke in Europe and within three hours in the USA. There is an upper age limit of 80 years in some countries, and a limitation to mainly non-severe stroke in others. Forty per cent more data are available since this review was last updated in 2009.

Authors’ conclusions
Thrombolytic therapy given up to six hours after stroke reduces the proportion of dead or dependent people. Those treated within the first three hours derive substantially more benefit than with later treatment. This overall benefit was apparent despite an increase in symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage, deaths at seven to 10 days, and deaths at final follow-up (except for trials testing rt-PA, which had no effect on death at final follow-up).
Further trials are needed to identify the latest time window, whether people with mild stroke benefit from thrombolysis, to find ways of reducing symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage and deaths, and to identify the environment in which thrombolysis may best be given in routine practice.

Plain language summary: …


an instance of technical jargon:
Unary splits (11:59)

There’s nothing to translate

Hollywood comedies are dead because of China (and Michael Bay)
July 7, 2014

What’s funny to an American audience doesn’t always translate for a Chinese one. And now that China’s box office is the world’s largest outside of North America, that’s a major consideration.

Bay’s bad plots, even worse writing and explosions galore can’t be lost in translation, because there’s nothing to translate in the first place. It’s a kind of universal language that Hollywood can sell to teenage boys everywhere. It’s capitalist perfection.

And the joke’s on everyone who buys a ticket.

Not just translating the words

Interpreter Viktor Sukhodrev, Fulcrum Of The Cold War, Dies At 81
May 19, 2014

MARVIN KALB: … Khrushchev used very earthy Russian when he spoke.
And Sukhodrev would try very hard to smooth out the edges and to make Khrushchev seem a bit more sophisticated than perhaps he was.

SUKHODREV: There was Khrushchev who was very Earthy. … There was Gorbachev who was frequently very convoluted and hard to really find out what he was trying to say because he used too many words to spell out something simple that he had in mind.

SIEGEL: Sukhodrev managed, as you say, Nikita Khrushchev, kind of an earthy character, come out sounding like Lawrence Olivier when he was translated into English.

KALB: Well, you know, it’s terribly important what kind interpreter you have.
Sukhodrev was capable of not just translating the words of the Soviet leader, but conveying the personality of the Soviet leader. He conveyed the ebullience and the excitement of Khrushchev and the rather dour, quiet conservatism of Brezhnev.