Sep 1st 2013

Importance of English in the Business World

 

Success in business is often hinged on one single important word – communication; and most of it happens in English.

The world is flat; the economic migrations of the past decades have become permanent expat communities. Asians, especially, continue to migrate to the United States or to Europe for jobs and live there permanently. Even for those involved in business from their native countries, if they want to sell to a larger market, need to understand the trends and the cultures of those markets. This is often best done through the common currency that is English. Love it or hate it, we simply can’t ignore it. Big businesses call the shots, so if in Germany you do as the Germans do, in the common world market, learn English.

In order to get ahead in your chosen field you need to make yourself completely understood by the people you work with. There will be emails; there will be telephone conversations, and they are costly! Knowing good English helps you to make your point faster. If you have a website that the whole world can see, you had better have content that is meaningful and accurate and does not embarrass you or harm your business.

Even within Indian companies, especially large corporations, the number of employees is too huge for personal, one-on-one communication. Hence the intranet is the notice board and all communications are made through it. Imagine a secretary who didn’t know grammar and punctuation sent out a company wide email – “meeting cancelled because of indisposed”.  Because of whom? Because of indisposed? Is indisposed the name of a person? Another Indian might scoff and laugh at the very poor grammar, or might even get the gist of it, but what about the impression you make on, say, foreign collaborators who receive the same email? And even if we ignore the impression we make, what about the issues that arise from miscommunication? People just don’t know what you mean. Written communication is as important as verbal.

Engineers typically are nonchalant about their lack of language skills, saying that they understand their core subjects and that’s enough.  I would say that it is not enough to understand the concepts through insight or genius, you need to communicate that you know. Think interviews and group discussions for job-seekers! You cannot do this without proficiency in a language.

And what about presentations? You might have the most brilliant idea in the world, but if you do not know how to get it across, you are lost. I have seen scores of presentations made by students who are too stumped or lazy to formulate simple, brief and attractive sentences in English, which are the backbone of any good presentations. What they do is to simply type into Google, move into relevant or sometimes irrelevant sites, copy a large section of content and simply paste it into their power point slides, without a thought as to how readable or attractive it might be. A little education here (either training through company intranets, or an on-line course, or some self motivated self-education) can go a long way. The employee will not only use better grammar and vocabulary, but will also use logical chunking and sizing of the content, so he only puts as much on a slide as is easy to read and understand. One point per slide, with an example if it is there – this is a good rule. Anything more is actually taking away from your content.

This guest blog was written by Ramya Raju, an English professional working out of London. Check out his website: http://www.englishcourses.pro

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Aug 27th 2013

11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures

The relationship between words and their meaning is a fascinating one, and linguists have spent countless years deconstructing it, taking it apart letter by letter, and trying to figure out why there are so many feelings and ideas that we cannot even put words to, and that our languages cannot identify.

The idea that words cannot always say everything has been written about extensively – as Friedrich Nietzsche said:

Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon the absolute truth.

No doubt the best book we’ve read that covers the subject is ‘Through The Language Glass‘ by Guy Deutscher, which goes a long way to explaining and understanding these loopholes – the gaps which mean there are leftover words without translations, and concepts that cannot be properly explained across cultures.

Somehow narrowing it down to just a handful, we’ve illustrated 11 of these wonderful, untranslatable, if slightly elusive, words. We will definitely be trying to incorporate a few of them into our everyday conversations, and hope that you enjoy recognizing a feeling or two of your own among them.

Visit Maptia for more interesting posts.

1.  German: Waldeinsamkeit

A feeling of solitude, being alone in the woods and a connection to nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson even wrote a whole poem about it.

2. Italian: Culaccino

The mark left on a table by a cold glass. Who knew condensation could sound so poetic.

3. Inuit: Iktsuarpok


The feeling of anticipation that leads you to go outside and check if anyone is coming, and probably also indicates an element of impatience.

4. Japanese: Komorebi

This is the word the Japanese have for when sunlight filters through the trees – the interplay between the light and the leaves.

5. Russian: Pochemuchka

Someone who asks a lot of questions. In fact, probably too many questions. We all know a few of these.

6. Spanish: Sobremesa


Spaniards tend to be a sociable bunch, and this word describes the period of time after a meal when you have food-induced conversations with the people you have shared the meal with.

7. Indonesian: Jayus

Their slang for someone who tells a joke so badly, that is so unfunny you cannot help but laugh out loud.

8. Hawaiian: Pana Poʻo


You know when you forget where you’ve put the keys, and you scratch your head because it somehow seems to help you remember? This is the word for it.

9. French: Dépaysement

The feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country – of being a foreigner, or an immigrant, of being somewhat displaced from your origin.

10. Urdu: Goya

Urdu is the national language of Pakistan, but is also an official language in 5 of the Indian states. This particular Urdu word conveys a contemplative ‘as-if’ that nonetheless feels like reality, and describes the suspension of disbelief that can occur, often through good storytelling.

11. Swedish: Mangata


The word for the glimmering, roadlike reflection that the moon creates on water.

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Aug 15th 2013

Aug 12th 2013

Ginger Ranks High in Huffington Post Top 10 Startups

We’re proud to be part of the Huffington Post’s top 10 Israeli startups! You can read the entire article here.

Ginger epitomizes the startup working environment almost like no other startup on the local scene. When you enter the Ginger offices, you cannot help but feel invigorated by the high-energy buzz that floats around the offices. The tangibly frantic, yet focused pace that hovers above Ginger employees as they run from meeting to meeting is perhaps the single most powerful evidence of its startup working environment. This energy is derived from the feeling that Ginger is truly creating something valuable for the world, in a sphere where before Ginger there was nothing.

 

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Jul 17th 2013

How to improve your English as part of a new community

Have you recently moved far from home into a new English speaking community? Is English your second, or third, language? Here are some tips that will help you brush up on your English while helping you integrate into your new community. Good luck!

1. Volunteer in Your New Community
Volunteering is a great way to practice your English while giving back to your community. You can volunteer with senior citizens, at a library or other places in your community. A simple Google search for “volunteer opportunities [your city]” will give you an idea of what volunteer opportunities your new city has to offer. Volunteering also creates an immersion environment for learning English. Studies show that immersion in the language that you are learning will greatly increase the chances of becoming fluent.

2. Get out and read!
One of the best places to hang out as a new immigrant is the local library. There, you can browse thousands of books, newspapers and usually the internet for free. Be on the lookout for English learning books that will help you expand your vocabulary. While it is tempting to stay at home and live in a bubble of your native language during your first days, weeks or months in a new country, spending a few hours each day at the library to read will help you improve your English while being somewhere somewhat social. Make friends with the librarians, practice your English with them and work on making your conversations longer and longer. Grab a seat, get a book and start reading.

3. What are friends for?
The next step is making new friends in your community. Luckily there are some great free resources on the internet for meeting people with similar interests. Use www.meetup.com to find regular hangouts of people with similar interests. Search for discussions, philosopher’s cafes and events related to your hobbies or occupation and try to attend as many as possible. At these events, set a small goal of talking to 5 people. It can be hard at first, but it gets easier as you work harder and harder chatting with strangers. Once you start making friends, speak English with them. Start by talking in person or on the phone so you are using complete sentences before you begin exchanging SMS’s as proper grammar and spelling are usually not present in text messages.

Lastly, stay positive, moving to a new country isn’t easy. Turn the stress that comes with the move into energy to spend meeting new people and perfecting your English! What tips can you add?

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