San Diego, I miss you!

Par | blogpost, Culture | Aucun commentaire

San Diego, you are America’s finest city. Your weather continues to be at a perfect shorts-and-t-shirt temperature. Your 70 miles of beaches spread out uninterruptedly. You are an integral part of thousands of surfers’ lives, who now dream about you, as they are only allowed to enjoy you from afar. The never-ending dispute between the local La Jollans about human rights and the rights of the seals is a moot issue. Funny, though, the seals keep peeking over to get a glimpse of any human activity on the beach. I miss the runners, the bikers, the hikers, and the kayakers. I miss the traffic. Yes, the traffic. It proves that we are all enjoying San Diego. The Naval aircrafts are receiving no attention. Downtown at night, a normally bustling fun and happy-go-lucky place sits empty with the ghostly sound of silence. Our skyline lights up an empty bay. Oh, how much I want all of this to end; I will cherish you more than ever then.

If you’re thinking about moving to San Diego, all of the above is a fat Lie. Cost of living is second to none, and you need to spend a minimum of $100 per year on sunscreen.

 

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Confronting the Coronavirus from a Cultural Perspective

Par | Culture | Aucun commentaire

The coronavirus is affecting people on a global level. However, the way each country has been treating it says a lot about their culture.

Let’s start with China, where, as we know, COVID-19 got its start. Chinese government both controls and censors the media. In 1975, Typhoon Nina claimed the lives of close to a quartermillion people. There was no mention anywhere in the press about this tragedy. It was as though nothing had happened. The government silencing anything that may destabilize the community has happened again, but this time, at the center of it is the coronavirus.

It took Beijing weeks to acknowledge this virus even existed. Once the Chinese masses realized that, in fact, a virus existed, officials had to decide what to say. They could admit to the government mismanagement and blame their superiors, or they could stay silent. The decision is obvious: choosing political loyalty over people’s safety. After all, Chinese culture is all about saving face.

The second major country to be affected by the coronavirus was South Korea. In contrast to most other cultures, South Koreans did not rush to the store to stock up on essentials, including toilet paper. They remained calm. Travel was only restricted to people coming from the epicenter of the virus in China, the Hubei region.

The South Korean government had a well-planned strategy for fighting this invisible virus: testing, closely monitoring the affected, and daily press conferences from the disease control and prevention agency. Citizens avoided crowds, closed businesses, and postponed unnecessary meetings without needing the government to force it upon them. Plus, masks are already part of daily life for many South Koreans.

So, what does this say about South Korean culture? It reinforces the idea that its citizens are prepared for sacrifice and self-discipline without government intervention.

And then there’s Italy. What cultural uniqueness can we find about the Italians that has made them more vulnerable? According to the University of Oxford, Italy has the second oldest population in the world, and the young tend to be close to the elderly, like their grandparents. It is not uncommon for younger generations to live with their parents, grandparents, or both.

The qualities that make Italians stand out from many other cultures is the love for affection, kissing on the cheeks, touching, the desire to be in close proximity to each other, and the desire to always be out socializing. These cultural traits have helped the virus cross-contaminate more than it has, for example, in China, or the US.

In Spain, the prime minister’s wife tested positive for coronavirus. Anyone would expect both he and his wife would not leave their house during a self-quarantine, right? Pues no. He went to congress as if no virus existed at all.

The Spanish culture is similar to that of Italy. Both tend to maintain closer distances with whomever they are talking with. They also tend to include the elder in their daily lives as well. While in the US your home is your castle, Spaniards love to be out and about for most of the day.

If you walk through most Spanish cities just before lunch or dinner, you have to navigate through thousands of people marching as they had a purpose, somewhere to be, when in reality, they are just enjoying walking. No wonder Spain had to enforce a government imposed lockdown so the coronavirus would not infect Spaniards on the streets.

Originally, Spaniards were not prepared to change their ways for the greater good. Why? Because cultures like the Italian and Spanish base their identity collectively. They identify by being part of a group. Spaniards are also obsessed with their finances. Even before the coronavirus, Spain’s unemployment numbers were one of the highest in Europe.

What is in the mindsets of Spaniards now? The number of unemployed in Spain rose to 3.5 million in March. This figure does not include temporary layoffs or laid off workers who have not yet filed for unemployment. A study conducted by Funcas between March 16 and March 20 shows a 9.1 point importance out of 10 regarding concern about the economy, compared to an 8.9 rating regarding concern of having been infected by the virus.

Finally, let’s praise Americans for following social distancing protocols. Compared to Italians and Spaniards, Americans were following social distancing before this phrase even existed. The other day I saw a lady carrying a yard stick just to make sure no one got within 6 feet of her.

However, while China, Italy, and Spain proved they were dealing with a pandemic, the US first dismissed coronavirus. Days later, the US decided an extreme situation called for extreme measures. Flights to and from Europe were to be halted. Lockdown has now been mandated for almost every city. For sure, high density cities like New York and San Francisco would benefit from this action. Others where people live far from each other and no one walks or comes into regular contact with others may not benefit as much from this measure.

Americans are entrepreneurial by nature. They maintain an individualistic and have an “I’ll do it my own way” kind of attitude. Americans don’t look at a group to make a decision. Every American makes his or her own choices. Culturally, this was reflected in how Americans reacted to the virus.

They protected themselves. They rushed to the store for basic needs. They are not about to look at a social-centered strategy, but at what is best for them individually. Individual rights are paramount. For example, gun stores refuse to close their doors taunting a constitutional right to bear arms.

I always say that culture plays a role in everything we do, and culture is playing a role in the coronavirus scenario. I do wish governments talked about the cultural aspects before passing down rules or laws.

Writen by: Michael Cárdenas, President

Local Concept

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Case Study: Local Concept and Jelly Belly Candy Company

By | Localization | Aucun commentaire

Local Concept partnered with Jelly Belly Candy Company® in order to localize flavor translations that can fit into any culture and palate. To say that this candy company pushes the creativity envelope is an understatement. It seems as though they have set out to re-create flavors after real-life experiences, tastes and smells. They have a lab that puts smells in a vacuum in order to recreate them.

Here are some examples: Stinky Socks, Dirty Dishwater, and Skunk Spray. Coming up with the correct localization for these nasty tastes is not easy.

Michael Cárdenas inside Jelly Belly Factory

President of Local Concept, Michael R. Cárdenas, inside of the Jelly Belly Candy Factory in Fairfield, California.

 

Let’s take the BeanBoozled flavor “Dirty Dishwater”. We all know what it is. Let’s say we want to translate this into Spanish. This is easy, “agua de lavar los platos sucia”. However, we need to limit the translation to two words. Here is the difference between translation and copywriting or adaptation. We first tried to keep the word water in the name, but could not do so correctly without using too many words. Moreover, we wanted to convey the idea of a dirty dish washing environment. Consequently, we focused on both the concept of dishwashing and dirty. We were therefore able to limit the name to “lavavajillas sucio”.

Jelly Belly BeanBoozled Candy

Jelly Belly BeanBoozled Candy

In English, the word “hot” can refer to temperature and spiciness, or Jalapeño hot. However, the word hot can’t be used interchangeably in other languages like Norwegian. If we translate the word ‘hot’ directly it means hot as in a temperature hot (“varmt”). Norwegians either keep the English word hot, or use the word ‘sterk’ which means ‘strong’ in English when referring to spicy hot.

In some cases we have to create localized copy that is catchy but does not follow the English. The English candy name “Skunk Spray” was most likely created by someone living in America. If you live in the U.S. some of you have probably smelled skunk spray. If this Skunk spray flavor is going to be sold in a different continent where no one can relate to the smell, we have to come up with a term that is understood by someone who hasn’t encountered it. How about “skunk fart”?

Solution

Local Concept has put together an online glossary tool for both clients and Local Concept which can be updated as we go. Style guides and the use of copywriting have helped Jelly Belly gain a global presence no matter how crazy the candy is.

Are you ready to talk about your next localization project? Contact us today for a free consultation.

eLearning Localization: Why, What, and How

By | Apprentissage en ligne | Aucun commentaire

Local Concept exhibited at the 2019 DevLearn Conference & Expo where learning and development professionals share the future of work and learning. The global work force is expected to reach 3.5 billion people by 2030, leading millions of people from across the globe to work together. Consequently, multinational companies need localized content to suit the languages and cultures of their internal audience, especially when it comes to training key resources.

We will walk you through why you should localize your eLearning courses, what is usually localized, and how to prepare your content for localization.

eLearning localization: Why, What, and How

eLearning Localization: the process of translating learning content and platforms into a different language and adapting it for a specific region. 

Why localize eLearning courses?

Studies show that translating training content boosts knowledge acquisition and increase retention rate. Localizing online training content goes a step further, helping to bring your company’s values even closer to your global workforce by aligning ethnic, geographic and cultural sensibilities.

  1. Mitigate risks

    It’s easy to assume that English works for all. Just because someone speaks or writes in one language, it does not mean that they have the ability to fully comprehend the information. OSHA estimates that language barriers are a contributing factor in 25% of job related accidents. The cost of a compliance breach for an average company is over $9 million. This is nearly triple what the average compliance training program cost.

  2. Improve Performance and Productivity

    When the culture of learners is taken into consideration, it’s likely that they’ll find the content more engaging and relatable, which helps improve employee satisfaction. For instance, let’s say you are delivering a sales training course on body language for your sales team located across different continents. While your U.S. sales reps picture a salesperson shaking hands with the customer after a meeting, the same image would probably not be as effective for your sales reps in Japan where greetings take form of bowing. Leadership and sales courses are topics that are open to interpretation. In order to help trainees make the most of your course, accurate cultural reference localization is essential.

  3. Grow your global footprint

    When employees are engaged, you can more effectively hire, train and retain teams that help drive expansion.

What is usually localized?

eLearning takes many different forms, from interactive quizzes and assessments, to articles and videos. The most common elements that need localization include:

  • Written content
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Images and Graphics
  • User experience elements (navigation buttons and coding)
  • Formatting (date, time, currency, units of measurement)

With that in mind, we will show you how to save time and money by planning for multilingual content from the beginning.

How to plan for multilingual content

Here are 6 helpful tips to consider when preparing your content for localization:

  1. Avoid slang, idiomatic expressions and acronyms

    It will make the process more straightforward, which in turn will help your language partner deliver the project faster. Try to use simple language and shorter sentences, especially for straight-forward content such as technical training, and health and safety assessments.

  1. Keep text expansion and contraction in mind

    When translating from English to German, the text expands by 10% to 30% on average. In contrast, when translating into Mandarin, text may contract by 20% to 50%. This becomes a challenge when it needs to be featured in pre-designed slides, turned into voiceover, or inserted into video. Dealing with text that contract is generally not as much of a problem as text that expands. With languages that expand, it may look crowded. Thus, keep in mind how the translation would fit in and look when presented in its final form. In terms of video, provide your partner with extra footage so the scenes can accommodate for longer voiceover. In terms of visual elements, allow enough white space around speech bubbles, call outs and other text elements.

  1. Consider graphics and images

    Localization includes carefully choosing culturally appropriate colors and images. For instance, the color white tends to symbolize purity and peace in Western cultures (North America and Europe) while it represents death and unhappiness in Eastern and Asian countries. If your eLearning course contains interactive assessments with navigation buttons (i.e. next, close, submit), tooltip speech bubbles, and any pre-programmed visual elements, make sure to include XML files so these snippets can be extracted, translated, and imported back into the eLearning software.

  2. Provide editable files

    Provide all eLearning content to your language partner in editable formats to ensure translations can be incorporated easily, and to save you the cost of having to re-create the files from scratch.

  3. Choose the right language partner

    The best-suited translation company is one that can take care of the entire project from start to finish. At Local Concept, we make use of the latest technological advancements to get you more for your money in a timely manner, such as Translation Memory (TM). This is beneficial when dealing with on-going projects over a long period of time as it ensures consistent translation and shortens turnaround time. We can work with any platform or format you prefer. We integrate directly with your LMS and perform final testing to ensure that delivery is superb. Lastly, Local Concept ensures that your company-specific terminology and approved translations are used through our client-specific glossary.

Conclusion

Naturally, when people are taught in their native language, they learn, understand and retain information better. By understanding your target audience, the effectiveness of your course increases. The ROI of eLearning localization is not just about the numbers, but the non-quantifiable results and impacts. It has proven to reduce lost time, improve employee retention, accelerate productivity, and mitigate injury claims.

Do you need help getting started with your eLearning localization? Contact us today for a free consultation!

Six Traditional Chinese Words that don’t have an English Translation

Par | Culture, Translation | Aucun commentaire

Unlike alphabetical languages such as Spanish and French, the Chinese language is a writing system that is composed of over 50,000 characters. This logographic writing system gives access to visual representations of objects and concepts. This makes the language both difficult to translate, and less precise than its counterparts. Here we present six examples of Chinese words that are hard to translate.

撒嬌 (sā jiāo)

Little girl holding flower

Leo Rivas via Unsplash

Whiny, to seek attention in a childish but lovely way.
This is an act particularly practiced by a grown-up female to her partner. It is considered as a way to show the side of her feminine character.

面子 (miàn zi)

Woman holding rose

Giulia Bertelli via Unsplash

Surface (literally), referring to dignity or self-esteem.
For example, I was just pretending to understand the conversation in French in order to save face (保全面子, bǎo quán miàn zi).

風水 (fēng shuǐ)

Furniture

ROOM via Unsplash

Feng shui, known as Chinese geomancy.
The term literally translates as “wind-water”. By orienting buildings and furniture, it’s practiced bolster the harmony between individuals and their surrounding environment.

緣分 (yuán fèn)

Many hands together

Tim Marshall via Unsplash

Fateful coincidence, an interactive concept that describes good and bad chances and potential relationships.

Sometimes, it’s simply translated as “destiny”, “fate” or “luck” with a focus on the relationship two people or objects share.

幸福 (xìng fú)

Yellow book named happy

Josh Felise via Unsplash

A state of being satisfied and content with life especially when with families and significant others.

It can be simply translated as “happiness” depending on the context.

孝順 (xiào shùn)

Two elderly people sitting in their chairs

Elien Dumon via Unsplash

Filial piety, a virtue of respect for one’s parents that is commonly praised in the Chinese community.

It includes but is not limited to being a loving, dutiful and caring child, as well as being responsible for the well-being of one’s parents.

Written by: Yijen Lu, Project Coordinator at Local Concept. 

How Different Cultures Perceive Emojis

By | Culture, Translation | Aucun commentaire
Woman holding emoji balloon

Lidya Nada via Unsplash

Emojis are undeniably fun, and sometimes they ‘speak louder than words’. They enable us to add emotional context to plain text, such as humor, brevity or irony. They illustrate non-verbal cues that could be expressed in face-to-face communication including gestures and facial expressions. However, when creating content for a multicultural audience, it’s important to consider how different cultures perceive symbols, colors, and body language.

The most popular emojis around the world

Although being an “official” emoji translator just became a thing in 2017, a study done by Swiftkey in 2015 uncovered insights to how different languages around the globe are using emoji by analyzing over one billion pieces.  Here are some interesting findings:

  • Americans score highest for a variety of emojis, including skulls, birthday cake, fire, tech, LGBT, meat, and female-oriented icons.
  • Canada uses the smiling poop emoji more than any other country. It also leads in violent, body parts, money, sports, raunchy, and ocean creatures.
  • French leads in the heart emoji, and uses hearts 4x more than any other languages. The red heart is also the #1 emoji for several Scandinavian and Eastern European countries.
  • Arabic-speakers are fond of roses and flowers.
  • Swedish-speakers use the bread emoji more than any other language.
  • Scandinavian (Danish, Swedish, Norwegian) use the Santa emoji more than all other languages. (But… doesn’t Santa live in Finland?).
  • Australia uses double the amount of alcohol-themed emoji than others, 65% more drug emoji than average, and leads for both junk food and holiday.
    • Portuguese speakers actually topped Australia in the use of drug emojis (pill, syringe, mushroom, cigarette) when Swiftkey published its second report.
  • Brits use the winky emoji twice the average rate.

Emojis are understood differently by different cultures

The meaning of an emoji varies greatly depending on culture, language, and generation. Using emojis in cross-cultural communications runs the risk of being misunderstood. Here are some examples of cultural variations:

Sign of the Horns GestureIn countries like Brazil, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Colombia and Argentina, the “metal horns” can indicate that the person was cheated on by their partner.

 

Waving HandWhile the “waving hand” is used to say hello or goodbye in one language, it can signify the ending of a friendship in another.

 

Thumbs UpThumbs-up” may be a sign of approval in Western cultures; but it is considered an obscene gesture in Greece and the Middle East.

 

OK HandIn Brazil and Turkey, the “OK” hand gesture is considered as an insult, and is equivalent to giving the middle finger in America.

 

Clapping HandsClapping hands” shows praise and offer congratulations in Western countries, while in China it’s a symbol of making love.

 

Slightly Smiling FaceThe “slightly smiling” emoji is not used as a sign of happiness in all countries. In China, it implies distrust, disbelief, or someone humoring you. It can also convey an ironic tone of voice in other contexts.

Baby AngelThe angel emoji can imply having performed a good deed or signify innocence in the west, while it may be used as a sign of death and be perceived as threatening in China.

 

Eggplant Dreaming of an eggplant on the first night of the New Year means good fortune in Japan. Some people take the eggplant for what it is: a vegetable. In other countries like the U.S, Trinidad and Ireland it has a strong sexual connotation, especially by users ages 18 to 24.

 

PeachSimilarly to the eggplant, some cultures take the peach for what it is: a fruit. Other countries translate this emoji to “butt”.

 

Tips for localizing cross-cultural content with Emojis

Given that emojis are open to interpretation, using them for a multinational audience can be tricky. However, emojis have been proven to boost engagement levels, click-through-rates, and open rates in marketing initiatives. In 2015, Oxford Dictionaries made the Face With Tears of Joy emoji the word of the year. There are many benefits of using emojis in marketing, and they are inevitably here to stay.

So, what should we consider when localizing cross-cultural content?

  1. Avoid using hand gesture emojis.
  2. Avoid using only emojis to convey any idea.
  3. Make the emoji relevant to the text in order to enhance the meaning.
  4. Consider how it looks on different platforms.
  5. Sometimes it might be best to spell it out *Neutral face*.

Conclusion

Just being proficient linguistically is not enough to translate emojis. Context and cultural differences need to be considered, thus full localization of the content is essential.

Are you curious about using emoji in your cross-cultural content? Contact us for a free consultation.

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Six French Words that don’t have an English Translation

By | Culture, Translation | Aucun commentaire

Do you ever get that feeling when you can’t find the right words to describe something? Maybe you’re not thinking in the right language. Here are six French terms with no English equivalent.

N’importe quoi 

Person holding his hand on his face

Adrian Swancar via Unsplash

Literally translates as “it’s no matter what”, but it means it’s a nonsense, but not really, it means you can’t even try to find the words for something, so absurd that something is.

Frette

Freezing cold high rise urban town

Geoffrey Chevtchenko via Unsplash

When it’s really, really cold. Even colder than cold (cold = froid). (i.e. below -4 F).

Jaser

Lighthearted talk between girls

Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash

To have a lighthearted talk, very friendly and unrushed with someone.

Tiguidou

Woman tiguidou

Miguel Bruna via Unsplash

It’s a popular expression similar to “It’s all good”, but has an impressive capacity to flex into different contexts.

Examples:

  1. He’s “tiguidou” = he’s great!
  2. My doctorate thesis? It’s “tiguidou” = it’s finally done, so happy!
  3. I’m “tiguidou” with you = I completely agree with you!

Déjà vu

Man realizes he is having Deja Vu

Laurenz Kleinheider via Unsplash

Most of us know this one, but did you know it originates from French? It translates to “already seen”. It’s that feeling of having lived through the present situation before.

BONUS:

Another noteworthy point to mention about this language is that in French there isn’t a word for cheap – only not expensive (“pas cher”). There was even a grocery store whose tagline was “the less expensive grocery store”.

Some of these words are only used in Canadian French. Can you guess which ones?

Check out these Six Spanish Words with no English Translation if you need more terms to express yourself.

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Six Spanish Words that don’t have an English Translation

By | Culture, Translation | 2 Comments

Language tells us a lot about a particular culture, and there are some Spanish words that don’t have an English translation. For instance, in Spain, they use a number of sayings having to do with food. Spaniards love food. For instance, when trying to say that something takes a long time, they say that it’s longer than a day without bread. 

Here are examples of six Spanish words with no equivalent in English.

Sobremesa

People eating a meal around a table

Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash

This word is a unique part to a Spanish meal. It relates to the time spent talking and drinking after the meal is over. The largest sobremesa I ever participated in was three hours.

Estrenar

Wearing something for the first time

Another word that is not a part of the English language is estrenar. In short, it means to wear something for the first time. There seems to be a certain pleasure one gets the first time something is worn. Separately, in English, there is a concept of ‘breaking something in’ when wearing it for the first time, but this is not the same as estrenar.

Tuerto

One-eyed person

Scott Umstattd via Unsplash

Another word, tuerto, loosely translates as a one-eyed person. The word comes from the Latin word, tortus, crouket. In early times this word referred to injustice.

Desvelado

desvelado

Christian Erfurt via Unsplash

The word desvelado means a person who is not getting enough sleep.

Merienda

merienda

Sarah Swinton via Unsplash

The closest translation is a “snack”, but not really. Many Spanish-speaking countries include a small meal between lunch and dinner where you sit and have coffee, hot chocolate, pastries or a small snack. If you’re an American visiting Spain where there’s an 8 hour lag between lunch and dinner, a merienda might be just what the doctor ordered.

Te Quiero

man and woman hugging

Candice Picard via Unsplash

It’s a word used to show you appreciate someone or care about them. It’s a midpoint between I like you and I love you.

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Will God Bless you when you sneeze? It depends in what Country you are sneezing

By | Culture | Aucun commentaire

sick snow white GIF by Disney

Before we discuss international treatment of “God bless you,” let’s discuss the origins of these three words. It seems that sneezing goes hand-in-hand with an old superstition that said sneezing happens when your body is trying to get rid of evil spirits. Saying, “God bless you,” is, in essence, the same as wishing a person good luck from those evil spirits.

Another superstition is that the evil spirits hurry into your body when you sneeze. Yet another popular superstition around the words, God bless you, has to do with Pope Gregory, the Great, who ruled during the black plague. He started saying God bless you to those that sneezed, since sneezing was a sign that they had the terminal disease. Most countries use similar words as God bless you. Some countries refer to good health. In some countries they don’t address the God bless you form, nor do they wish you good health.

In France, first sneeze gets you, “à tes souhaits,” which translates into “to your wishes.” The second sneeze gets you, “à tes amours,” which means “to your loves.” A third sneeze will get you, “qu’elles durent toujours,” which means, “that they last forever.”

In Korea, no one says anything after a sneeze. I guess no evil spirits in Korea.

In Portuguese two different versions are used: “santinho,” or “little saint,” and “Deus te,” which means, “May God smother you.” The Dutch, after a third sneeze, go on to say, “The weather will be nice tomorrow.” I guess they’re moving away from using satellite weather maps.

No matter what country you’re in, and what you’re told after, we can all agree a sense of relief is had after every sneeze.

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How Emotions and Silence can get you in or out of Jail

By | Translation | Aucun commentaire

Emotions and silence can get you in or out of jail or in trouble, depending on your Interpreter.

In court criminal proceedings, you have probably seen a witness speak for 30 seconds while the interpreter takes 10 seconds to translate what has been uttered by the witness.

The interpreter role is not only to interpret the words, but to create the same tone and emotion of the witness.

well let me translate that if i can hillary clinton GIF by Election 2016

Imagine in a criminal rape case if the witness is asked “have you ever raped anyone?”.

Scenario A: The witness quickly answers NO.

disagree no way GIF by VH1

Scenario B: The witness is silent for three seconds… thinks about it… utters a murmur and then answers NO.

not for me no GIF by Originals

These two answers say a lot about the state of mind of the witness and they should be “mimicked” as part of the interpretation. It is the role of the interpreter to step in the shoes of the witness and sound like him.

In scenario B, all utterances, and even “hums” need to be interpreted. Sometimes, the emotions of the witness will play an important role in the interpreters’ choice of words.

In 2007, Spain’s Prime Minister Zapatero was trying to speak. Hugo Chavez, ex-President of Venezuela, kept on interrupting him. The king of Spain, Juan Carlos, then asked Hugo “¿Porque no se calla?”. By his tone, you could see he was just asking him to be quiet. The interpreter for the US media interpreted it as “Shut up”. This is obviously a different message, one that did not allow for context and interpretation of the emotions.

Often times, emotions take on more meaning than words, especially when it comes to communication in high context cultures.

court GIF

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