Re: Japanese and English

Subject: Re: Japanese and English
From: "Klopfenstein, Ed (AFS)" <EdK -at- ACCU-FAB -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 09:48:53 -0700

Deborah Wrot:
> If you wrote as straightforwardly in Japanese as in English, would it offend
>a Japanese audience by appearing to "command"
>them to do something? In some Near Eastern cultures, coming straight to the
>point is rude to the point of insult.
>This cultural stuff is starting to concern me, TWs.
>I've worked in Japan and can speak Japanese and the issue isn't "rudeness" or
>"culture" when talking about the differences between US and Japanese
>documentation. The difference centers around your perception of that
>Right now, I'm looking at some very technical documentation in Japanese from
>SUNX, a company that makes robotics sensors. It's very specific and to the
>point. In some ways, even more specific than English because it uses Chinese
>picture writing (kanji) for the real specific points. That makes the meaning
>crystal clear.
>The only "vagueness" in Japanese technical documentation is the use of more
>polite language. But this isn't because they're trying to sidestep some
>cultural no no; they're just trying to be polite. AND LET'S GET THIS
>STRAIGHT: Being too direct in America is equally as rude in business as it is
>in Japan!
>Let's pull away from the "Japan is different" mentality, folks. That's
>dangerous. And it's something that's going to get anyone doing business in
>Japan in trouble.
>What's really rude is treating Japanese documentation customers as cultural
>anomalies. Listen and meet their needs like you would with any other
>That's the mentality that makes American documentation writers successful in
>Ed Klopfenstein
>Technical Writer
>Accu-Fab Systems, Inc.
>Corvallis, OR 97330

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