Useful tips on how to handle a conference call — January 10, 2019

Useful tips on how to handle a conference call

Are you frightened of speaking English in a conference call just because you might not understand?

Speaking English is challenging, but during a conference call and in front of your colleagues, your boss and other business partners can be really stressful!

It can get easier if you follow some tips:

 Prepare Ahead

  • Think about the vocabulary and expressions you would like to use

Greetings

  • Keep it simple with: Hello/Good morning/Good afternoon

Have some Paper and a Pen

  • You might need to take notes

Show you’re listening

Use expressions such as:

  • Oh, I see
  • Right
  • Exactly

Repeat Important Details

Never be afraid to repeat relevant information to make sure it’s correct.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification, repetition, or to slow down!

What we need is CLEAR COMMUNICATION!

 

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How to translate correctly and fearlessly — November 27, 2018

How to translate correctly and fearlessly

English students very often need translations for themselves and for friends as well. The funniest part of it all is when you need to translate from your language into English. It can drive you nuts, but please, don’t lose heart. Here is some advice for you.

Remember that what you want to translate will be subjected to English readers. So, bear in mind that it has to sound English, and, what sometimes has sense in Italian can sound a conundrum or senseless in English. However, let’s see some common or less common mistakes.

Settimana bianca

In English you cannot possibly say white week as it would be considered as opposed to black week, which does not exist so far. So, you might like to translate this expression as a skiing holiday, which English people will find perfectly understandable.

Faccio il ponte

You would not hopefully like to translate this expression as I’m making a bridge. Think if you were a chef in a restaurant, for example. But you can say instead I’m having a long weekend. In other words, your usual customers would be deprived of your specialities for two-three days but then you would be back and delight them with your dishes once again, rather than challenging them of facing the perils of crossing a bridge that you have built during your short absence.

Sotto la pioggia; Sotto la luna; sotto i riflettori

The cat is under the table, say kids. It wouldn’t ’be possible for you to say under the rain. But you can well say I was out in the rain and I’m drenched now. If this sounds difficult, try to remember the song Dancing in the rain.

Under the moon would not be possible either, as it suggests that you are exactly under that gorgeous planet, not an inch more to the left or to the right. So, to begin with, try to analyse what the original expression in Italian stands for. Does it not mean, perhaps, that you are enjoying the moonlight and Romeo or Juliet have long gone green with envy?

In fact, you can translate this expression as in the moonlight.

Though a big fan of the Italian singer Zucchero, the lyrics in English in his song Baila Morena, I fear, should have been in the moonlight / sotto luna piena (not: under the moonlight).

The same goes for sotto i riflettori. In English it matches in the spotlight.

 

translate blog

 

How to make the right impression on a prospective employer and get the job of your dreams? Part II — September 24, 2018

How to make the right impression on a prospective employer and get the job of your dreams? Part II

During the interview:

In part one of this series, we examined some useful, I hope, tips to effectively prepare for a job interview.  Now, let’s focus on what to expect during the interview itself and how to deal with those tricky questions….

Yes, probably the prospective employer will ask some tricky questions.  For example, they will certainly ask what your biggest defect is.  Don’t say “I’m often late for meetings” or  “I just can’t seem to get on with my colleagues.” Do all you can to turn a weakness into a strength for the employer.  For example, don’t say “I’m very demanding with others and consequently they avoid working with me.”  Rather say “I’m rather demanding with myself and thrive on diversity.”

Moreover, they will probably ask you to define yourself with three, maximum four adjectives.  Again, don’t be generic.  Be specific.  Think carefully and try to come up with specific adjectives that clearly identify you.  Your prospective employer must, to some extent, see you reflected in those adjectives.

And lastly, they will ask why they should hire you.  Tell them you have the right skills and competencies to make a difference in the company.  Be careful, though.  Don’t sound overconfident.  Simply let them know that you have ideas you would like to share with them.  Ideas you believe can be developed by the company.

To sum up then.  Think of your biggest defect and turn it into an opportunity.  Define yourself using specific adjectives and give them a good reason to take you on board.

After the interview, thank the interviewer and leave as soon as possible.

What should I do now?  We’ll consider this question in part three of this series.

How to make the right impression on a prospective employer and get the job of your dreams? Part I — September 20, 2018

How to make the right impression on a prospective employer and get the job of your dreams? Part I

Landing the right job often depends on what impression you initially make at the first job interview.  Let’s face it, we judge by appearances.  So, how can I prepare for that job interview that may get me the job I’ve  always wanted?  In part one of this series, we’ll look at some basic tips to keep in mind before the interview.  In the second part, we’ll consider tips to bear in mind during the interview and in the last part we’ll quickly examine what to do after the job interview.  So let’s begin!

Part 1: before the interview

You finally get that call from that company you’ve been always wanting to work for.  They are impressed by your C.V. and want you to pop in for an interview.  You are thrilled at the idea of finally realising a lifelong ambition.  How should you prepare for this interview though?

First thing, do your homework.  Do as much research as you can on the company.  Find out how much profit they made last year, if they expanded overseas and if yes, where.  Show the company you know about them and you want to join a winning team.

Secondly, dress smart but conservative.  Don’t call too much attention to yourself, let your abilities and skills speak for you.  Avoid flashy colours.

Thirdly, get to the interview on time, not too early and not late.  Five minutes before is the usual standard.

Fourth, turn off your mobile phone before entering the interview room.  If you forget to turn it off and it rings during the interview, simply turn it off without checking who is calling.  Now we can begin with the interview.

In part two we will see what to do and not to do during the interview.

(to follow)

 

 

Culture hidden in vocabularies — June 8, 2018

Culture hidden in vocabularies

Every language belongs to a certain culture. This is an indisputable fact which we can notice studying a new language. Sometimes we may feel surprised by the number of words the mother tongues use in different countries to name apparently the same concept.

A common example which shows the situation when the language mirrors the culture is the one of Inuits. They are the native inhabitants of the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada and Alaska. Researchers have studied the language of this ethnic group and have discovered that their vocabulary is distinguished from others by the use of terms meaning “snow”. In fact, Inuits keep the notion of snow straight in their minds and name it in plentiful ways. As they live where the snow doesn’t lack, they are used to it and they notice the differences between its kinds, its way of melting, and other phenomena related to it. The research on the language has shown that the Inuit glossary contains more than 400 expressions while English, and other languages, presents a significantly lower number.

The way snow is comprehended by some cultures illustrates how languages work, which means how they adapt to the reality they belong to. Every culture has its own view of the world and it can be easily seen in language. The point is that if a society meets something on the everyday basis, it gives the concept many names making a distinction between its multiple sorts. At the same time, if the same notion doesn’t occur or is a rarity in other societies, the names for it are few. That is why, Hawaiians have 65 terms for fishing nets, 108 for sweet potato, 42 for sugarcane and 47 for bananas. Similarly, Scots describes rainy weather, Somalis camels and the Baniwa tribe living in Brazil uses 29 words to name ants.

As we have seen, languages are inherent to cultures. By studying a new language, you assume a new perspective and you get to know things you were unaware of. Obviously, more the culture is distant from yours, more surprises wait for you.

snow

By Kaja Brąz

It & He/She and They — November 24, 2017

It & He/She and They

It
When explaining the personal pronouns, teachers usually tell students that ‘it’ is used for animals and objects. Such definition is true, though not complete. ‘It’ is used for people as well.

For instance, if a visitor is knocking on your door, you might ask ‘Who is it?’, or, if one is making a phone call they introduce themselves by saying ‘It’s Mark’. As you can see, the pronoun ‘it’ does not define the gender of the speaker/interlocutor.

He/She and They
Because indefinite pronouns such as one, someone, somebody, anyone, anybody, do not define the gender, in order to avoid misunderstanding, we use ‘they’, which stands for both masculine and feminine speakers.

Let’s consider the following sentence:
When someone says that you are smart, they mean that you are intelligent.

In alternative you could also say:
When someone says that you are smart, he/she means that you are intelligent.
This too is correct, a bit longer though.
Remember that the same goes for possessive adjectives: his/her and their:
Someone rang the doorbell twice but immediately afterwards, strangely enough, I saw their car leave hastily.

Photo Courtesy of Google
English Quotes and Proverbs! — November 2, 2017

English Quotes and Proverbs!

Enjoy some of the most common English quotes and proverbs:

All’s well that ends well
Heart of gold
It’s no use crying over spilt milk
Love is blind
Cold hands, warm heart
All you need is love
Laughter is the best medicine
Knock, knock! Who’s there?
An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Seen better days

Surely, you know them all!
Can you guess which ones are Shakespeare’s quotes?

Neither fish nor fowl — October 2, 2017

Neither fish nor fowl

I find it difficult to understand your proposal. As a matter of fact it’s neither fish nor fowl.

What do you think this idiomatic expression means “to be neither fish nor fowl” ? It basically refers to someone or something that can’t be easily classified or identified with any definite group.

How to improve your writing — September 25, 2017

How to improve your writing

writing

Want to make your writing more natural, clear and organised but find it a real challenge to do so? Perhaps the following suggestions will be of help.

First of all, make it a point to think in English when building your idea. Don’t make the common mistake of constructing an idea in your native language and then expect yourself to translate it in English. It simply will not work! What if though you lack vocabulary? Take time to acquire say a new word a day so that you can expand your vocabulary bank. In time, you will be surprised at how many words you have made yours and are now ready to use.

Then, fix in your mind this simple acronym K.I.S.S. It stands for Keep it simple and short (or stupid.) It means that your idea should be kept short:
•Avoid long periods that may confuse the reader.
•Stick to the point and be relevant.
•Avoid unclear or ambiguous language.

In other words, put yourself in the shoes of your reader and ask yourself what effect your writing would have.