The Linguist

The Linguist 57,3 – June/July 2018

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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26 The Linguist Vol/57 No/3 2018 FEATURES Let us call it human conductivity, defined as the degree of openness we can establish and maintain between the people we come into contact with in our daily lives. We need to increase the bandwidth of the communication we have with others: imagine a very narrow connection where one person sends many signals but only a few get through to the other person; now imagine a much wider channel where two-way communication is enabled and we can sense a much deeper connection between two souls. Which would you choose: fibre optics or 'good old' copper filament? In any conflict situation, whether it is an argument with your partner about whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher, or a decades- long territorial dispute between two rival nations, we can see that there is a breakdown in communication and an unwillingness to 'receive' the true message from the other side. Even the most cursory glance at the current state of the world – from politics, civil society and business to education, entertainment and the environment – shows us how destructive behaviour can lead to a marked deterioration in our ability to create a fair and equitable society for all members, and how important it is to maintain a constant guard against our worst habits of prejudice and self-interest. We need to create a safe space, or invite others to facilitate this. Of course, in conflict, this is the problem; getting people to sit together in the same room and look each other in the eye can be a tortuous process. For me, that brings us back to the question of defining culture. It is a mutual statement of what we share at a given moment in time. It is often a matter of priorities, both conscious and unconscious: in this situation, my priority may be different to yours, because of who I am, who you are, what we are doing, how I am feeling, the relationship that exists between us, who else is in the room, and even the time of day or the weather outside. In conclusion, I would say, if you have an interest in the meaning of culture, the way we interact with others, how we are influenced by our inner predilections and our environment to act in certain ways, then you are an interculturalist. Welcome to the club. What do you think about these issues? How do you negotiate culture and identity in your work? Robert Johnson will answer readers' queries about culture and the practical application of intercultural awareness in a subsequent issue of The Linguist; please send your comments to Notes 1 Hofstede, G (2001) Culture's Consequences. Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across nations (2nd ed). London: Sage 2 Kahneman, D (2011) Thinking, Fast and Slow. London: Penguin Books 3 Okri, B (2018) 'How to Combat the Populism that Gave us Brexit? Active citizenship'. In The Guardian, 30/1/18 Links online ALBA SORT Translator and integrated marketer Alba Sort shares her tips for using Instagram. With 800 million users, Instagram can be a great tool to tell your brand story and engage with your target audience. It is also easy to use and very good at fostering interactions. However, if you aren't a keen photographer, or dislike video, it may not be the best platform for you. Before you start, be clear as to what you want to achieve, and how Instagram will tie in with your other social media accounts. A Business Profile on Instagram will give you access to follower insights and advertising tools. Spend some time browsing and studying how users interact with each other. Instagram searches are hashtag-based (e.g. #translatorlife), so using the right ones for your target industries will give you visibility. Instagram is also a good hunting ground for influencers with large and heavily engaged followings. Identify those that matter to your potential clients, and if you spot an opportunity, do not hesitate to reach out. Your Instagram page and username should reflect your brand and be in line with your other online profiles, but bear in mind that visuals are particularly important here. Pay attention to your colour palette: do you favour bright colours or pastels? Make sure you use quality images and experiment with Instagram filters; using the right one for your image can boost engagement by up to 60%. Above all, remain consistent and keep some regularity in your posting pattern. The photos, videos and captions that deliver the best engagement are customer- focused, so think about what your audience enjoys. Quotes, behind-the-scenes images and daily hashtag content also do well. Having a carefully curated feed, engaging with other users and 'regramming' (i.e. sharing their content) will help you to grow your following. Finally, video content, Instagram Stories (pictures and videos that disappear after 24 hours) and live streaming are increasingly prominent. Perhaps now is the time to practise your presenter's voice. Share your thoughts @Linguist_CIOL using #TheLinguist. HEAD TO HEAD Conflicts between nations can be intensified by cultural misunderstandings and prejudices, which make it harder to bring the two sides together. Leonid Brezhnev and Richard Nixon meet in Washington, 1973, during the Cold War détente between the USSR and USA

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