How to avoid being lost in translation | Man About Asia

"The first lesson is that there’s no such thing as English – there’s only international English.” Wayne Arnold, CEO, Lowe Profero

The last of Man About Asia’s seven episodes, Lost In Translation, is host Wayne Arnold’s “homage to every single person who has ever worked in the Asia-Pacific (APAC), and to every single person who has ever worked with people in APAC”.

In the episode, which is intended as personal guide to business conduct in the region, Arnold covers common but often under-appreciated ground, such as the importance of using clear and basic English, and conference calls over international time zones. “By far the biggest source of frustration from anyone that I’ve ever known to work out here is the lack of understanding about time zones and conference calls,” says Arnold, who recommends talking in person as the most effective form of communication.

“One of the joys of working with people in this region and working in the region as a whole, is actually coming out and visiting. You’ll gain far more by doing so”, says Arnold.

The final observation encourages a deeper understanding of local cultures. “Like those famous HSBC ads, the world’s local bank, understanding when to eat, when to bow, when to hand the business card in the right way, is crucial,” adds Arnold.

Each of the videos along with their corresponding marketer vox pops, are available on the Man About Asia hub, in association with Lowe Profero.

To catch the entire series, subscribe to The Drum YouTube channel.

The Episodes

  • Episode one, 'What Is Asia Anyway’, breaks the vast and complex region into chunks, focusing on the scale of the opportunities across Asia.
  • Episode two, 'Avoiding Air Miles Disease’, takes a closer look at the opportunities each sub-region presents and the issue of where to invest.
  • Episode three, ‘Same Same But Different’, tackles arguably the greatest opportunity, that of China.
  • Episode four, 'Social Asia’, explores the wonderful, staggering and sometimes bizarre world of social media in Asia.
  • Episode five, ‘The Talent Game’, explains why finding and keeping talent is a ongoing challenge for marketers in the region.
  • Episode six, 'Creativity & The Power of Celebrity', takes a look at the diversity of creative cultures across Asia.
  • The final episode, ‘Lost In Translation’, offers up some tips and hints for those adjusting to Asian styles of business.

Sam Scott

Sam is The Drum's assistant publisher.

All by Sam