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抛弃母语改用英语的跨国公司

时间:2021-02-20 15:12 来源:网络整理 转载:枣阳资讯网
抛弃母语改用英语的跨国公司

抛弃母语改用英语的跨国公司

2019-11-11教育 浏览

The international companies using only English
抛弃母语改用英语的跨国公司

Nearly every meeting Keiko Claassen must attend at work is held in English. No big deal – except that her company is based in Italy and she’s Dutch.

凯科·克拉森(Keiko Claassen)必须参加的工作会议几乎都使用英语。这没什么大不了——只不过,她的公司位于意大利,而她则是荷兰人。

At one recent meeting where she was the only non-Italian in the room, her colleagues stopped speaking English – the common language between them – because someone had trouble following the conversation.

在最近的一次会议上,她是房间里唯一一个非意大利人,由于有人跟不上对话节奏,所以她的同事不再说英语——这是他们之间的共同语言。


“It was like watching a movie,” says Claasen. “As soon as they switched… you could see their culture come to life.”

"这就像看电影。"克拉森说,"当他们转变语言时……你会发现他们的文化立刻苏醒过来。"

At ITT Motion Technologies, an Lainate, Italy-based engineering company where Classen is executive director of communications, every senior staffer is expected to speak English and most communications are delivered in English. While it’s not considered an official corporate language, with 4,500 employees working in several countries, including Japan, China, India and Germany, it’s the only language that everyone can generally speak in common – even if speaking doesn’t mean always fully understanding.

克拉森担任沟通执行总监的这家意大利工程公司名叫 ITT Motion Technologies,总部位于雷纳特(Lainate)。在这家公司,所有高级职员都被要求用英语沟通,而多数沟通信息也都使用英语。虽然并非公司的官方语言,但由于有4,500名员工在包括日本、中国、印度和德国的多个国家工作,使得英语成为了大家共同的语言——即便会说英语并不表示他们总是能完全理解彼此的意思。

In other firms, such as France-based food services company Sodexo, English is being adopted as an official language. After years of translating emails, webinars and other materials into as many as eight languages, including French, English and Spanish, or holding massive town-hall meetings in multiple languages, the company announced in January that its senior leadership team would be embracing English. By year-end, it’ll be English-only for the leadership teams that are responsible for its 500,000 employees across 80 countries.

在其他公司,英语则被当成官方语言,其中就包括法国餐饮服务公司索迪斯(Sodexo)。多年以来,该公司都会将电子邮件、在线研讨会和其他材料翻译成多达8种语言,包括法语、英语和西班牙语,或者用多种语言举行大型会议。但他们却在今年1月宣布,其高级管理层将会使用英语。到今年年底,他们就将成为一个只讲英语的管理团队,负责领导全世界80个国家或地区的50万员工。

Others that have made the shift to English-only, despite being based in non-English-speaking countries, include Yokohama, Japan-headquartered Nissan, which implemented an English-first strategy in the late 1990s. In 2015, another car maker, Tokyo-based Honda announced that its corporate language would become English by 2020. German electronics company Siemens also made English its official language years ago. It’s likely many more companies will adopt English-only, says Jia Lin Xie, a professor of management at Toronto’s Rotman School of Management in Canada.

其他公司也展开了类似的转变,有的甚至来自非英语国家,包括总部位于日本横滨的日产(Nissan),该公司早在20世纪90年代末就部署了"英语优先"的战略。2015年,另外一家日本汽车制造商本田也宣布将在2020年前把英语当做官方语言。德国电子公司西门子也在多年前将英语作为官方语言。加拿大多伦多大学罗特曼管理学院管理学教授谢家琳(Jia Lin Xie)表示,可能还会有更多公司把英语作为唯一用语。

For most of these companies, including Sodexo, the aim is simple: by communicating exclusively in a single language, leaders in South America can collaborate with colleagues in France or the US. It’s also part of a larger cultural shift for the company, says Kim Beddard-Fontaine, Sodexo’s group vice-president of employee and change communication.

对于索迪斯这样的公司来说,目标很简单:使用单一语言交流,南美的领导者便可与法国或美国的同事展开协作。索迪斯集团雇员和变革沟通副总裁金·拜达德-封坦(Kim Beddard-Fontaine)表示,这也是该公司整体文化变革的一部分。

“Business are organised globally and not regionally these days,” she says. “We want to become more efficient by collaborating across geographies. English is an enabler of that.”

"当今的企业都要面向全球,而不再局限于某些地区。"她说,"我们希望通过在不同地域之间展开协作来提升效率。英语可以促成这一点。"

English for everyone

人人都说英语


This shift is not a throwback to colonialism or a play for cultural superiority. In Europe, nearly 80% of children in their primary years are learning English, while a 2013 survey by the 21st  Century Education Research Institute in Beijing found that 70% of Chinese parents want their children to learn the language to help them get into to better schools.

这种转变并非殖民主义复辟,也不是文化优越性使然。在欧洲,接近80%的儿童会在小学阶段学习英语,而北京21世纪教育研究院2013年进行的调查发现,70%的中国父母都希望孩子学习英语,帮助他们进入更好的学校。

“It’s also one of the most succinct, simple languages to learn” says Lin Xie. “It’s a required formal language of study in many schools in different countries.”

"这也是最简明、最简单的语言。"谢家琳说,"不同国家的很多学校都要求正式学习这种语言。"

Sodexo, in theory, could have made its official language French – it is a 50-year old French company, after all – but only 35,000 of its staff work in France, while 125,000 live in the US.  Says Beddard-Fontaine: “I think if we decided to make French the company’s global language we would have had a revolt on our hands.”

从理论上讲,索迪斯可以把法语作为官方语言——毕竟,这是一家有着50年历史的法国公司——但他们在法国只有3.5万员工,而美国的员工人数却多达12.5万。拜达德-封坦说:"我认为,如果你想把法语变成公司的全球性官方语言,肯定会遭到反对。"

Since the change is primarily for the company’s 200 executives and its 1,600 senior leaders – and in many companies English-only policies are for senior staffers who are expected to know the language – lower level staffers, many of who don’t speak English, will continue to receive communications in different languages. Still, that may change at some point, too, she says. As well, materials might be translated into fewer languages in future.

由于此次改变主要针对该公司的200位高管和1,600名高级管理者——而在很多公司,只说英语的政策也仅限于那些理应懂得这门语言的高级员工——很多低级员工都不说英语,他们仍可继续收到不同语言的沟通信息。不过,她表示,这种情况可能会发生变化。今后的材料翻译成的语种可能减少。

“It’s an absolute must that we move to English,” says Beddard-Fontaine.

"转向英语是必然之举。"拜达德-封坦说。

Sense and making sense

顺畅过渡


English might be the dominant language of business, but it’s not used everywhere or prioritized as a language learned all over. In a country like Brazil, only about 5% of people learn the language. In Italy, just 29% of people speak English.

英语或许是商界的主导语言,但却并非处处使用,也并未被所有地方作为主要语言。在巴西这样的国家,只有5%的人学过英语。而在意大利,也只有29%的人说英语。

Lin Xie suggests that if a company wants a smooth changeover and aims to promote people from within the firm, it ought to offer English lessons to staffers lower down the corporate ladder, and not just focus on executives. When Nissan adopted English as its official language, it did just that, in part to recognise that the transition would not be easy for everyone. “They understood that there is a language barrier and if they want to be truly global they’d have to help people do something to overcome it,” she says.

谢家琳建议,如果一家公司希望让变化过程更加顺畅,而且希望从内部提拔员工,就应该为级别较低的员工提供英语课,而不能只关注高管。当日产将英语作为官方语言时,就采取了这种方式,部分原因在于,该公司明白这项转变并非对所有人都很容易。"他们知道员工有语言障碍,如果他们希望成为真正的国际化公司,就必须帮助人们采取一些措施来克服这个问题。"她说。

Both Sodexo and ITT Motion Technologies offer English courses to some staffers who want to get a better grasp of the language.

索迪斯和ITT Motion Technologies都为那些希望更好地掌握英语的员工提供英语课。

Compassion and nuance

激情与细微之处


Even so, when an entire language changes, a dose of compassion is necessary – imagine having to suddenly speak in a language that isn’t your own or which you don’t quite speak fluently.

即便如此,在全面调整语言时,还是需要一些激情——试想,如果突然之间要使用非母语的语言进行交流,或者使用一种你没有流利掌握的语言交流,会是什么感觉,

Bosses and peers alike should realise that others might not fully understand what’s being said, says Claassen. That could lead to misunderstandings or feelings of awkwardness. She’s been on plant tours where the person showing her around began the conversation by apologising for not speaking English well, even though the employee had an impeccable grasp of the language. “They have to cross this wall for themselves because they don’t feel their confidence is high,” she says.

克拉森表示,老板和同事都应该明白,其他人或许无法完全理解他们表达的内容。这可能引发误解,或者令人感觉尴尬。有好几次参观工厂时,给她做导游的人都因为英语说得不好而在一开始就向她道歉,即便那些员工的英语并没有什么瑕疵。"他们必须自己穿过这道墙,因为他们的信心不够强。"她说。

In some cases, the perceived language barrier holds employees back. When Claassen has group meetings with Chinese colleagues, many of them remain quiet until they’re asked directly for their input. They don’t want to lose face by using the wrong word or accidentally saying something funny, she says.

在某些情况下,语言障碍还会阻碍员工的发展。当克拉森与中国同事开会时,很多人在被直接点名之前都会保持沉默。她说,他们不想因为用词不当或说了一些好笑的事情而丢脸。

“You have to be conscious of that and really invite them in,” Claassen says.

"你必须明白这一点,然后邀请他们参与沟通。"克拉森说。

As well, non-English speakers will likely fail to pick up on some of the nuances of the language, but it’s more important they understand the overall message and that everyone feels comfortable working together, says Sonita Lontoh, a vice-president of marketing at Siemens. It’s up to the native and experienced speakers, she says, to repeat and make sure others understand. That’s especially true of native English speakers, who are deemed to be the worst communicators.

同样地,非英语人士也有可能无法理解这种语言中的细微之处,但西门子营销副总裁索尼塔·伦托(Sonita Lontoh)表示,更重要的是让他们明白整体的意思,还要让所有人在一起工作时感觉舒服。这都取决于能够熟练掌握英语的人,他们需要重复自己的话,确保别人明白自己的意思。对于以英语为母语的人来说尤其重要,他们往往被视作最糟糕的沟通者。

Lontoh has worked at several global companies where English has been the main language and has never encountered a problem. But, there have been some humorous moments, like when one her German colleagues was discussing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions mentioned  finding “low carb solutions,” – the term refers to a low carbohydrates diet in.

伦托曾经任职于多家把英语作为主要语言的跨国公司,而且从未遇到过问题。但还是发生过一些有趣的事情,例如,她的一个德国同事在讨论降低温室气体排放的战略时提到了"low carb solutions"——这个词的意思是"low carbohydrates diet in",也就是"低碳水化合物饮食"。

But, the move to English as a corporate language just make sense, she says: “If a Chinese person meets someone from the Middle East, they will speak English. They don’t expect to know each other’s language.”

但把英语作为公司官方用语的确有意义,她说:"如果中国人遇到中东来的人,他们会说英语。他们不会奢望对方能听懂自己的语言。"

上一篇: 母语为英语的人应该重新学习英语

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