Re: Qualifications for an off shore writer?

Subject: Re: Qualifications for an off shore writer?
From: "Monique Semp" <monique -dot- semp -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>, "Julie Stickler" <jstickler -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2009 12:42:04 -0800

Peter's points are very well said -- they're factual without judgemental
attitudes. And definitely, I've found that native-born Americans
(including me) often prefer a very direct communication style, and we've
developed the requisite thick skin to go with it.

Not too long ago I was documenting a product for a Japanese company, with
of course many Japanese staff of all levels (so much politeness is the
norm, especially in email messages), and where the lead engineer was from
India. He had a very high level of English fluency and certainly much more
knowledge of classical English literature than I could ever hope to aspire
to. So one might think that we'd have no communication issues. But I
often got the sense that he wasn't entirely comfortable with my
speaking/writing style. But it wasn't a big deal; we both professionally
and with friendliness just did our jobs.

At the last approval round for the doc he pointed out a few little things
for me to change, and I was delighted and wrote "thanks for catching my
mistake." I wanted him to know how much I appreciated him taking the time
to do such a thorough review.

He wrote back, though, "It was a mere request for minor modification to
reflect system specifications. Please do not consider it as catching a
mistake. If it sounded like catching a mistake, I apologize for the same."

Now in my book, I made a mistake, and had no issues with acknowledging it.
Nobody was saying "oh, what a terrible writer you are", and it really
wasn't a big deal. That's why we have reviews after all.

But clearly saying so directly that someone had made a mistake was to his
mind a very rude and nasty thing to say.

So moral of the story: with the US (and I'm sure the world) being such a
multi-cultural place, it's important to understand different cultures no
matter where you and your team mates are geographically.

-Monique


> From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
> Subject: Re: Qualifications for an off shore writer?
>
> <snip>

> In certain Asian cultures it is impolite to say anything negative, and
> if you ask the writer directly, "Will you have this finished by Friday?"
> you might need to distinguish between this answer:
>
> "Certainly. I can assure you that it will be done by Friday," which
> means yes, and this one:
>
> "Yes, I am thinking that by Friday it will be done," which means no.
>
> <snip>



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