Lost in Translation: Dab vs. Pinch vs. Smidgeon

I met an interesting woman the other day, founder and owner of Workforce Language Services, who has a PhD in Linguistics and Anthropology.   We were talking about the ongoing challenge as practitioners to prove the business case for diversity, and she told me about a language training project she had done for a client in…

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Culture Shock: Everyone’s Being Mean to Me!

  After much whining during our trip to see family in Brazil last week, my eight year old son announced that he was behaving badly because “everyone here is being mean to me.”  Knowing that nothing could be further from the truth, I immediately went from being (annoyed) mother to ethnographer:  This was culture shock…a gut…

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Burger King Multicultural Marketing “Misstep”…or Worse?

Diversity, Inc., yesterday reported that Burger King “does it right” by pulling its Texican WHOPPER ad following outcry from the Mexican Ambassador in Spain at the ad’s offense.  More than a “misstep” as Diversity, Inc. called it, Burger King seems to base much of its advertising on objectifying or setting up power imbalances between cultures. …

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Hardees Ad Alienates Women, Hindus

And I thought the Burger King Burger Shots ad was offensive in its objectification of women!  The new Hardees Western Bacon Thickburger campaign, created for the US market by Mendelsohn Zien Advertising, LLC, goes over the top with its raunchy scene of model/actress/author Padma Lakshmi seductively eating said product.  The fact that she is Indian/Hindu seems like…

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10 Things to Help You in Sao Paulo, Brazil (or a country other than your own)

 My son Dillon and I find ourselves unexpectedly in Brazil.  Here is our list, created jointly, of 10 things to adapt more easily to another country: Ask questions.  Dillon asks in English, he gets responses in Portuguese-not sure how it works, but accompanied by pointing and context, it does seem to work! Meet a guy…

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Multicultural Marketing Success with Nike Men Vs Women Campaign

With the mix of internationally recognized celebrities (you’ll recognize at least one), the seamless change out of language (men-hombes-uomini vs. women-mujeres-donne) and liberal use of physical action over dialogue, 72andSunny creates a truly multicultural ad campaign that resonates across a wide range of ethnic groups and is readily adaptable to present in multiple global markets,…

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Implicit Assumptions about Stereotypes in Language and Media

 On the Daily Show earlier this week, Senior Black Correspondent (his formal title on the show) Larry Wilmore pointed out Jon Stewart’s implicit assumptions:  “So what you’re saying is in these times the new face of criminality is now white.”  “I’m glad you’re finally admitting that you thought it was black,” is Wilmore’s response. The…

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Lost in Translation: Gift Exchange Between U.S. and Russia

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy And I felt bad when I told the street vendor in Mexico I couldn’t buy a sweater from him because I didn’t love him (no ‘te’ quiero vs no ‘lo’ quiero).  Take a look at this cross-cultural communication gaff on behalf of the…

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The Road to Multiculturalism is Paved with Good Intentions…and That’s Okay!

 My husband brought home whole milk plain yogurt from the grocery store…again.  Since there was still half a container festering in the fridge from the last time he shopped, I had to ask:  “What were you thinking?”  I tried to deliver the line with a sing-songy up-tone as though I really thought he had a…

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5 Easy Steps to an Honest and Equitable Judicial System

  In less than 30 seconds on the Internet I can find what Casanova’s job was in 1798, what Darwin had for dinner on January 3, 1834, 1,500 recipes for banana cake and how to add water to a sub-pump.  What I can’t find is how two judges could “choos(e) to treat children as commodities…

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