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Why are Polish people so rude? Lost in translation. Monika Chutnik 171003

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Have you ever felt that your Polish / Slovak / Ukrainian / Russian colleagues are somewhat rude? This slide set will explain what's going on! Because... something gets lost in translation :-)

Veröffentlicht in: Business
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Why are Polish people so rude? Lost in translation. Monika Chutnik 171003

  1. 1. Why are Polish people so rude „rude”! Monika Chutnik ETTA Global Leadership Consulting Sept 2017
  2. 2. 2 We know what we do. ETTA.  Leadership development in international setting  #1 in Poland in cross-cultural and international cooperation  Diversity management and people development strategies POLAND. Czech Republic. Hungary. Germany. Austria. Switzerland. Russia. Malta. | Spain. Italy. Romania.
  3. 3. 3 Why this topic? • In my training and coaching projects, I have frequently heard complaints from international partners that Polish people seem to be rude. • It was hard for me to believe, as I also had the chance of getting to know their Polish partners, and these people were sometimes even exceptionally nice and polite. • Something was going on here! I decided to investigate ☺
  4. 4. 4 Why this topic? • I noticed that many business partners which complained about the „rude” behaviour of the Polish colleagues came from countries like UK, Ireland, USA, or Sweden. • When asked about specific situations, how they know someone was rude, they were usualy referring to the way their Polish colleagues write mails to them = use language. • What helped was that in my student times I had been learning 10 languages– and even if I have not really mastered them, I have an understanding about their structure and logic. • Now, have a look at this:
  5. 5. 5 LANGUAGE Lost in Translation
  6. 6. 6 Politeness and language • Could you please close the window? a regular, polite sentence in English will be translated into Polish as • Czy mógłbyś zamknąć okno? (talking to a man) Czy mogłabyś zamknąć okno? (talking to a woman)
  7. 7. 7 Politeness and language However, there is an important part missing: • Could you please close the window? • Czy mógłbyś zamknąć okno? proszę Czy mogłabyś zamknąć okno? proszę
  8. 8. 8 Politeness and language • Could you please close the window? • Czy mógłbyś zamknąć okno? proszę Czy mogłabyś zamknąć okno? proszę Here, politeness is expressed by using „mógłbyś”, which is a modality of the verb. In this particular kind of phrase, adding an extra word „proszę” would indicate double politness, and so putting pressure on the other person: insisting or begging them to do something. • Politeness is expressed by using a modality of a word, not by adding an extra word.
  9. 9. 9 Politeness and language Similar structure like in English is present in some other languages, too. Politeness is expressed by using extra words. • Could you please close the window? • Schließen Sie bitte das Fenster. • Kan du vara snäll och stänga fönstret! • Czy mógłbyś zamknąć okno? Proszę IF these words are missing, then your phrase is perceived as
  10. 10. 10 Can you do it for me… NOW!
  11. 11. 11 Language families (Indo-European)
  12. 12. 12 Politeness and language To express meanings, Slavic languages play with: • modifications of words. For instance, a male name „Jan” can be expressed as Janek = Jan who I know Jasio = small Jan Jasiek = naughty small Jan Jasiuniek = my dear small Jan • Tone of voice and intonation. Question words (do you…?, have you..?) or a specific sequence do not matter that much.
  13. 13. 13 How does it happen, step by step? • Czy mógłbyś to dla mnie zrobić? •  Could you do it for me? •  Can you do it for me… •  Do it for me… •  Do it, now! A great space for misinterpreting the intentions, especially when voice and tone are missing.
  14. 14. 14 So what? Hints for successful cross-cultural communication If your native language is English, Swedish, German… • Please watch your Polish colleague’s intention, tone of voice. • Please make sure about the meaning by checking with the Polish person on the phone how they talk about it. • Please remember that missing the word „please” might be acceptable. In fact, it might even be fully ok ☺ as we all talk just international English.
  15. 15. 15 So what? Hints for successful cross-cultural communication If your native language is Polish, Slovak, Russian, also Lithuanian… • Remember that your international business partner might be sensitive to vocabulary. • Please remember to use the word „please” more than you would consider usual. Develop a habit of using extra „please”s when you speak English. • When you write an email in English, read it again before sending it to your international partner. Put extra „please” here and there, to make sure your positive intentions are well understood ☺ • And don’t worry! „Please” does not mean that much in English. You are not putting any pressure on your partner.
  16. 16. 16 So what? Hints for successful cross-cultural communication • Learn the language of your international business partner. Yes! Learn Polish. Learn German. Learn Swedish. Learn Ukrainian. • The more you know about it, the more you will understand and feel how it works. Learning a new language is like entering another universe. I can fully confirm it myself! ☺
  17. 17. 17 Grow with our best support!
  18. 18. Thank you! Monika Chutnik Monika.Chutnik@ettaconsult.eu +48 888 099 551 ETTA Global Leadership Consulting www.ettaconsult.eu

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