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Chapter Six Writing for International Readers
Establishing a Perspective on International Communication n n Cultures vary, but one is not superior. Audience ground rules are your guide. U. S. culture is dramatically different from most other cultures. Everyone is “ethno-centric, ” thinking his/her culture is the best.
Understanding Readers from Various Cultures n n n Individualism vs. collectivism: valuing either individuals or groups Separation of business and private relationships Power distance between social ranks Universal or relative view of truth Whether the entire message is contained within the text
Understanding Readers from Various Cultures n n n Whether uncertainty is to be avoided or accepted The power and value of time Masculine vs. feminine
International Audiences and Cultural Differences Achievement Emphasis Individual Collective Time Hurried Slower Paced Professional Relationships Business-like Personal Power Relationships Questioned Highly Respected Truth Relative Absolute
Sample Cultural Dimension Scores Country Individualism Power Distance Uncertainty Avoiding Masculinity USA 91 40 46 62 Great Britain 89 35 35 66 South Africa 65 49 49 63 Israel 54 13 81 47 Japan 46 54 92 95
Organizing a U. S. Business Letter According to Reader Expectations n n n News up front Support in the body Requested action in the closing Main point Supporting information or explanation Tells reader what to do next
Organizing a Pakistani Business Letter According to Reader Expectations n n Rapport building first Suggested purpose last Formal establishment of rapport Suggest purpose of message
Organizing a Mexican Business Letter According to Reader Expectations n n n Introduction to establish rapport Background development News in the middle More development follows Conclusion re-establishes rapport Introduction-Comments establishing rapport Background development News Development Conclusion-Comments establishing rapport
Culture and Graphics Guidelines Do. . . n Use arrows or numbers to show directions of flow in graphics. n Think about which side of the page is the more prominent placement. n Use plain typefaces. n Use graphics that are internationally recognized. n Use black and white rather than colors if possible.
Culture and Graphics Guidelines n n Use gender-neutral clip art and other representations. Determine how fluent in English your audience is and write accordingly. Use page design carefully. Expect common formats to vary with cultures.
Culture and Graphics Guidelines Don’t. . . n Use acronyms, abbreviations, jargon, slang, and colloquialisms. n Attempt to use humor. n Use graphics that provoke strongly different interpretations in different cultures. n Use graphics that depict hand gestures.