Tag Archive for: communicate

Lost in Translation

Anyone who speaks two languages knows that some phrases in one language communicate certain ideas better than in another.
For instance the word “gezellig” in Dutch.
In English it is pronounced “heh-sell-ick.”
According to Wikipedia, “A perfect example of untranslatability is seen in the Dutch language through the word gezellig, which does not have an English equivalent. Literally, it means cozy, quaint, or nice, but can also connote time spent with loved ones, seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness.”
It means everything from cozy to friendly, from comfortable to relaxing, and from enjoyable to gregarious.
Just one word and eight letters in Dutch, and it takes Wikipedia and me two dozen words to try and summarise, define and understand that one Dutch word, of which there is no English equivalent.
In fact different cultures prescribe different words to various emotions, and words to express a particular emotion may not be found in another language.
I have learned that all languages have strengths and weaknesses.
Recent observations have taught me something about the Dutch.
Firstly, many Dutch will explain something, and then secondly, they’ll add an English translation to emphasise a point they wish to make, or ensure understanding.
Frequently I now do it myself!
Consider this example in English and the possible interpretations, depending on the emphasis you give different words. (𝒃𝒐𝒍𝒅 𝒊𝒕𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒔 added)
“𝑰 never said he stole my phone”. Suggests I never said it, but someone else did.
“I 𝒏𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 said he stole my phone”. Suggests that I never said that at all.
“I never 𝒔𝒂𝒊𝒅 he stole my phone”. Suggests I may have implied it, even if I didn’t directly say it.
“I never said 𝒉𝒆 stole my phone”. Suggests that I didn’t say that boy stole it, but some other boy did.
“I never said he 𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒍𝒆 my phone”. Suggests that I never said he stole my phone, but perhaps he borrowed it.
“I never said he stole 𝒎𝒚 phone”. Suggests that he stole someone’s else phone, not mine.
“I never said he stole my 𝒑𝒉𝒐𝒏𝒆”. Suggests that he stole something else, but not my phone.
𝐄𝐦𝐩𝐡𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐬, changes meaning – a lot!
What have you lost in translation?

Don’t forget to laugh!

A fun experience from Belgium last week.
Departing our hotel room, on the second floor, fully loaded down with all our luggage, we arrived at the lift.
Our unspoken plan was to take the lift to the ground floor reception and checkout.
The visual indicator showed that the lift was on the ground floor “0.”
We both looked at the lift call buttons and independently of each other, we pushed the call buttons.
One button pointed upwards, the other button pointed downwards.
One of us pushed up, the other pushed down.
Quizzically, we looked at one another, thinking “Why did you do that?”
Do you remember the classic book on communication styles, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” by John Gray?
The book highlights the key differences between how men and women think, act, and communicate.
I must admit – that was my first thought as we stood waiting on the lift to arrive.
We turned to one another again and laughed!
It was a silly moment, but one that highlighted the simple differences between our thinking.
Stepping into the lift, we did finally arrive at our destination, after a short detour upwards, to the third floor!
After 28 years of marriage, our conclusion is this…
No two people ever see all things precisely the same!
Understanding and appreciating one another’s differences is the key to healthy relationships.
And don’t forget to laugh – often!! 😅
𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐚𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡?

Building Rapport

Recently I was asked – “How do you build rapport?”
Rapport – “a relationship characterized by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy – a friendly, harmonious relationship.”
I see rapport as being the sense of connection that I may have with someone.
When you have good rapport it’s like being in sync with someone, and are mutually interested in each other. Often you’ll discover that you have similar feelings and emotions too.
It is also about effective communication and building a healthy camaraderie.
Building rapport is all about establishing that connection and the process of creating deeper relationships.

Top Tips

Firstly, start with yourself!
You really need to know and understand your truest self. Who are you, what are your core values, what are your interests and hobbies, how do you go about getting things done? Importantly – do not pretend to be someone you’re not!
Secondly, empathy is key.
What is empathy? It’s understanding how others feel and being compassionate toward them. The key part to empathy is being genuinely curious. Don’t just stand in another person’s shoes, go, and actually take a walk in them!
Thirdly, ask questions.
Some variation of “tell me about yourself” is often a great way to start a conversation. Asking questions can remove uncomfortable small talk and help you get into more meaningful conversations.
Fourthly, listen!
Active listening means giving your full attention to someone who is speaking. If someone feels like you are hearing them, they will likely listen to you in return, which can establish a good relationship and build great rapport.
Fifthly, take time to understand.
When you take the time to really understand someone, you’ll begin to be able to see the world from the other person’s perspective. It helps to find some common ground and create some shared experiences together.
I know that building great rapport will improve your relationships and will make you a better communicator.
What can you do to build rapport?