It is said that the world is shrinking. Although not physically, different countries being endowed with different resources have to trade with their counterparts from across their immediate border to also a country across the seas. In such a scenario there exists many challenges, which when overcome with effective negotiation can lead to a fruitful and symbiotic co existence. On the other hand, if the communication is mired in misunderstandings and misconceptions, it can end in a disastrous manner.
There are various factors that can contribute to the success or failure of talks between two or more countries. Whether it is peacetime negotiations regarding trade or otherwise, there are many challenges that can be faced by the negotiating parties and which need the services of effective communicators who are knowledgeable about not only the languages, but also the cross cultural differences that exist between the two parties on either side of the negotiating table.
The main factors that have varied connotations when communicating are:
- Language: Although there maybe a basic understanding of any language by the translators who officiate in such cross cultural dialogue, that is not the only requisite for effective communication and fruitful conduct of the same. For example, in the Chinese language itself a single word when uttered with the wrong stress placed can change the connotation from greeting to a slang or a sentence with absolutely no reference to context.
- Non verbal behaviour: Some of the non-verbal behaviours of any language are the loudness, tonality, facial expressions when using the words spoken as well as gestures not only lend a lot in the process but also lend a certain meaning to the whole conversation.
- Values: Different cultures place different values as the core of their existence. This is one of the most important factors that can make or mar the whole process of the communication. It is an accepted fact that the values of any person are the result of years of observing and practising certain things over a long period and hence, they do not change in a short span of time.
- The Process of thinking and Decision Making: Whether it is arriving at a decision regarding volumes of trade or declaring embargo (trade or otherwise) and persuasion regarding lifting of such embargoes, decisions with regards to such issues needs serious and prolonged thought as well as much of all of the above factors. Hence, the thinking and decision making process are not just an end but also a means to that end, by itself.
The combination of all of the above factors contribute in the culmination of any talks between two or more parties meeting to chalk out the future path for their respective countries. As discussed above, in the example regarding a language like Chinese for example, if the language is not properly interpreted can lead to disastrous situations.
It is therefore imperative for the interpreters to have the most intricate knowledge of the complexities of usage of language so as to minimize or even totally avoid any damages arising out of bad or misinterpretation and not any intentional malice on the part of the two parties in the dialogue.