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Competence or expertise

English translation: expertise (at least in this context)

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:Competence or expertise
English translation:expertise (at least in this context)
Entered by: Christine Andersen
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08:47 Sep 1, 2008
English to English translations [PRO]
Marketing - Advertising / Public Relations / What you have and what you advertise
English term or phrase: Competence or expertise
Am I just old fashioned, or does the word 'competence' sometimes have a ring of 'also ran' about it compared with 'expertise'?

"the quality of being competent" according to the dictionary.
"You can't run a business without competent employees"
Preferably highly competent... But somehow you need something more than just competence.

Compared with 'expertise', which is:
'great skill or knowledge in a particular field."

To succeed, you have to know how to apply comptetence...

Or am I just splitting hairs?

The context is a proof I am reading for a Danish client, in quite good English, but where 'kompetanser' sound fine to Danish ears, or some at least... and is a bit of a buzz-word, I would prefer 'expertise' in English.
It will eventually appear on the client's website.

The client writes, e.g.

"Our competences:
Consultancy
Sparring
Strategy
..."
Christine Andersen
Denmark
Local time: 11:20
expertise
Explanation:
Competence implies the ability to be able to do something, while expertise implies excellence. "Our areas of expertise" would be the better way to advertise their services
Selected response from:

Sarah Messeri
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:20
Grading comment
Thanks for a quick, but well-explained answer!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +8expertiseSarah Messeri
4 +1Competencieslindaellen
3 +1expertise
Arnold007


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +8
competence or expertise
expertise


Explanation:
Competence implies the ability to be able to do something, while expertise implies excellence. "Our areas of expertise" would be the better way to advertise their services

Sarah Messeri
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:20
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thanks for a quick, but well-explained answer!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ken Cox: As others have previously commented in related postings, 'competence' is a bit blasé in English -- if you're only competent, you don't have anything special to offer, and in some fields competence is taken for granted.
8 mins

agree  Casey Butterfield
13 mins

agree  xxxcmwilliams: I like 'areas of expertise'. 'Competencies' just doesn't sound natural to me in this context.
23 mins

agree  Lori Dendy-Molz: I hate the overuse of 'competence' and 'competencies' in business writing these days.
35 mins

agree  Wil Hardman
1 hr

agree  Gary D: you can do a compentence test, but not an expertise test.
1 hr

agree  Phong Le
2 hrs

agree  Ioanna Daskalopoulou: Competencies might refer to skills also.
1 day1 hr
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17 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
competence or expertise
expertise


Explanation:
Expertise has to do with how much is known of a particular field of knowledge : electronics, physics etc.
Competence has to do with having both the knowledge and the skills to do a specific job or task.

For consultancy, "expertise" would be appropriate in this context.

Arnold007
Canada
Local time: 05:20
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Aurelio111: very godd Arnold
6 hrs
  -> Thanks Aurelio !
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15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
competence or expertise
Competencies


Explanation:
I can't say that I like the term, it is real "business-speak", but it is often used, and I have frequently used it in this context. See the wiki article for a more detailed explanation. I only copies part of it below.



Core competency versus competitive advantage
Core competencies are capabilities that serve as a source of competitive advantage for a firm over its rivals. Core competencies emerge over time through an organizational process of accumulating and learning how to deploy different resources and capabilities. Examples of capabilities include management (ability to envision the future of their industry, effective organizational structure), marketing (effective promotion of brand-name products, effective customer service, innovative merchandising), human resources (motivating, empowering and retaining employees), manufacturing, distribution, management information systems and research & development.

The criteria for determining whether a capability is a core competency is whether it is capable of producing sustainable competitive advantage. A capability can deliver competitive advantage without meeting all of the required criteria, but this will only be for a limited time.

Hanson uses an updated model with four criteria of sustainable competitive advantage:

Valuable: the capability allows the firm to exploit opportunities or neutralize threats in its external environment
Rare: capabilities that few, if any, of its competitors possess
Costly to imitate: capabilities that other firms cannot easily develop. Take note however, this does not simply mean it is expensive to imitate, it means it is difficult to imitate (i.e. the capability developed through unique historical conditions, the capability itself is ambiguous or the relationships that underpin the capability are complex to understand and imitate).
Non-substitutable: the capability does not have a strategic equivalent. One example is R&D, the objective of which is obtaining new technology. To obtain new technology you could develop it internally, or you could monitor the external environment for developments then acquire them (a strategy Nucor has followed) - these are strategic equivalents. [2]


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Note added at 18 mins (2008-09-01 09:06:16 GMT)
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Perhaps you could use both, i.e. "Our competencies" and "To succeed, you have to know how to apply expertise".


    Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Core_competency
lindaellen
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Ken Cox: IMO 'competencies' is OK (or at least tolerable) inside the HR department, but not suitable for advertising the specialities of a company. However, 'applying expertise' is a bit redundant; 'applying knowledge and skills' is a better option.
32 mins

agree  Demi Ebrite: 'Competencies' would be the word used; A company has 'expertise' in specific areas, and it would be highly unusual to state that 'Consultancy', 'Sparring', or 'Strategy' are areas of expertise, as they are so overtly general. IPO 'strategy' = expertise
3 hrs
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