National and cultural features of business communication

Why should translators and interpreters know almost everything (we say "almost" only because it is impossible to know absolutely everything)? The answer is simple: too many factors affect the quality of the translation and the correctness of its perception. Cultural differences of non-verbal communication refer to those factors. When conducting negotiations with foreign partners, their psychology, habits, national characteristics, and customs should be taken into account. Such knowledge will help you to find a common language with your interlocutors and also to not offend them.

For instance, you should never sit with your legs crossed in front of arabic people because sitting that way, you may accidentally show a shoe sole to a person, which is a very offensive sign for that culture.

In the Middle East, it is worth to be very attentive with what hand you give a person a gift, money or food. In order to not offend them, you can not do this with your left hand, since for those who profess Islam left hand is considered to be unclean. At the same time, for Europeans there is no difference.

In China never present hosts of a meeting with some expensive gifts, because in case they can not respond with a gift of the same value, they will feel humiliated.

There are a lot of such examples which can relate to many different spheres of life. It is extremely important for a translator or (especially) an interpreter, as a person who speaks languages belonging to different cultures, to know the features of both verbal and non-verbal communication. In many cases, the successful outcome of the negotiations depends on the ability of an interpreter to inform the client about the cultural peculiarities of the interlocutor and to act in accordance with the acceptable communication rules for a particular culture.

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