Have you ever received an email saying “Happy Holidays” even though you will not actually be celebrating anything? People love to share their happiness with others and sometimes they do not remember that the recipient might not be in the same situation. This is very common in multinational societies, like in Canada, where there are so many different nationalities living and working together.
Last year, a group of Israeli journalists used an online machine translation tool to translate an email for the Dutch Consulate in Tel Aviv. The message should have been about an upcoming visit to the Netherlands for a seminar on Dutch politics. However, the final result was nothing close to that and they ended up asking the Dutch minister some senseless questions about his mother.
China ’s long history and rich culture have helped shaped the formation of its modern society. Although China has come a long way in the last 30 years, just because “Prison Break” is a hit show and young people wear blue jeans doesn’t mean that it isn’t culturally very distinct.
Nike has been selling shoes in China since 1984. Everybody knows that Nike shoes aren’t the cheapest, but they adjusted their prices for the Chinese market. Also, the sudden popularity of basketball in China was the real boom for Nike. Basketball players wear Nike and people in China love them so they love Nike shoes… This company found the right instrument to crack into a tough market.
An old Latin proverb says that all roads lead to Rome... However, it seems that these days all roads lead to China for many reasons, but most recently, to the Olympic Games. Going there for business or for the Games, a few basic things about China and a few words in Chinese might come in handy.