Off topic: Let's talk "special language": what is really meant by "business language"?
Thread poster: George Trail

George Trail  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:49
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
May 15, 2010

"Mind your language" has no single sense to this professional translator; and to be frank, I'm pretty sure it's the same for the majority of people who do not do what I do.



What of "business language"? At least, most people "get the first bit right" i.e. refraining from the use of casual expressions, and trying their best not over-generalise etc. But when you think of all the demands that come with running a business (I think of interaction with clients, marketing and promotion, tax considerations and insurance matters off the top of my head), you get the impression that "correct" business language is expected to play as much of a role between business colleagues, and a business and third parties, as it does between a business and its customers. Does this make sense?



Born in Britain, I have English as my mother tongue. And I can understand that a lot of people like myself will immediately feel lost when they are expected to acquaint themselves with business language in another language. (I'm sure we all know people with English as their mother tongue who have no sense of business English, but that's another subject.) I've gotten a grasp of business French to a certain extent - enough to accept that it is not just limited to "relatively uncommon" (and elusive?) expressions like "overheads", "turnover" and "ROI"; terms which a lot of people, including children, have heard of but they just couldn't confidently explain what they mean.



One example of business French that I have been mulling over recently is one which I came across in my last translation project: a piece of business marketing that was like a presentation. (I actually mention it in my last blog - and I agree that the "utile" / "utilisable" debate that it refers to also belongs in the discussion of "business language".) Anyway, this example is: "définir les bons indicateurs."



On the surface, there's no questioning what its literal translation is, "defining the good indicators". I was careful not to let myself be misled - competent enough to ask myself the question: are we talking about those indicators for a specific business scenario and aiming for an impartial conclusion about which are the most profitable in connection with the interests of the business; or is it a case of making mangerial decisions about which indicators from a given list are to be dedicated more attention, focus and investment, and which aren't?


 

Anne Bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:49
English to French
indicateurs => indexes May 15, 2010

"Définir les bons indicateurs" is a major concern for most managers. It means choosing indexes, well... something you can measure, because -supposedly- your activity can and must be measured.
The actual problem is, you can always find something to measure within the scope of your activity, but having something which adequately measures your performance, or the quality of your work, is much more difficult. That's all the difference between "un indicateur" and "un bon indicateur"...

[Modifié le 2010-05-15 22:20 GMT]

[Modifié le 2010-05-15 22:20 GMT]


 

Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 06:49
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
I be humbled May 17, 2010

George Trail wrote:
But when you think of all the demands that come with running a business (I think of interaction with clients, marketing and promotion, tax considerations and insurance matters off the top of my head), you get the impression that "correct" business language is expected to play as much of a role between business colleagues, and a business and third parties, as it does between a business and its customers. Does this make sense?



To be quite honest, I've no idea,

Born in Britain, I have English as my mother tongue. ....... I've gotten a grasp of business French


With a short stay overseas, no doubt. I envy you.

I was careful not to let myself be misled - competent enough to ask myself the question:


I'm afraid that in the same situation I would have failed to manifest such competence and resistance to "misleadingment". I might have even have made so bold (and foolish, no doubt) as to have translated it as "good indicators".

Andy


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 06:49
English to Czech
+ ...
@Andy May 17, 2010

Hi Andy,
I'm afraid George's posts have never been meant to raise any discussion. They are simply posts of a blogger who is desperate because nobody reads his blogs. See this thread: http://www.proz.com/forum/translation_theory_and_practice/171056-why_even_professional_translators_readily_welcome_second_pairs_of_eyes_to_act_as_proofreaders.html

AFAIK, George has been temporarily banned from posting in this forum for spamming it with his "profound thoughts" and "deep insights".

All the best!


 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:49
Italian to English
+ ...
temporary ban May 17, 2010

Oh come on, I haven't laughed so much in ages......please can we have him back, pleeeeeeeeeease
Suzi


 

madak  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:49
Swedish to English
+ ...
I've laughed a lot too May 17, 2010

Susanna Garcia wrote:

Oh come on, I haven't laughed so much in ages......please can we have him back, pleeeeeeeeeease
Suzi


But having the forum homepage hijacked wasn't really that funny.


 


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