Dear seniors .. while I was talking to a professional in the readiness development service i.e. one who does Global Training . The individual said there are certain challenges i.e. in terms of cultural communication being a barrier. Even though english is a universal language for training, the preference of native language is a priority. How can we address this cultural communication barriers and what could be strategies used to overcome such barriers and understand the customers very well. Awaiting for inputs...
From India, Bengaluru
Hi Shruthi,
Your post is not clear.
What do you mean by Cultural Communication?
Which native language/s are you referring to?
When you say customers, whom are you referring to?
If a professional imparts training globally (as per your post), then what's the role of native language in that?

From India, Delhi
Hi Shruthi,

English is certainly the most popular business language as far as communication is concerned

at the international level.

However it is not adequate by itself.

There are cultural influences ( having no bearing to English or any other language) that one has to understand

to do successful business.

A concocted anecdote is often referred about a popular soft drink with international standing.

It is said to have taken place in Arabia.

There are three slides in an advertisement with pictures and no language written to explain the same.

A man is lying down in a hot desert and he is offered the soft drink.

The second picture( to its right) shows the man drinking the soft drink.

The third one( the next right) shows the man in happy mood with arms raised and full of energy.

The advertisement failed to give any positive impact.

The intended message is clear if you read from left to right.

However in Arabia they read from right to left

As you ponder, you can imagine what a bad message the same pictures convey, as you see them from right to left.

Like this one has to understand local cultural influences of nodding the head, shaking hands, talking with ladies etc

A study of body language will help to mitigate the difficulties to a large extent.


From India
Dear Friend,

Of course and indeed, english have become a language of communication at Global level, yet, the local culture, the language by the people attending the training did take a place for the best communication and understanding. Here, the best related to understanding of english at a higher level.

1) A Trainer must have the knowledge of local language not at the best but, relatively good expression with some words put the training in a good spirit.

2) A Trainer should know cultural festivals and their importance. During, the training these festivals should be praised for the co-operation of humanity, possibly the session provided with the delicious foods on these occasions. These will attract the people more close to the training method and the success is written in grand.

3) Difficult sessions should be catered with local language initially and slowly transformation to the global language heed a good response.

4) Native language is not a priority, yet, for a successful training native language is the way. It is the opening spell.

5) A trainer should have a person to get know the local people in the organisation for betterment of training. And the local people who have succeeded in the life/achievements..for quoting.

best of luck...

From India, Arcot
Dear Shruthi,
What the professional said is correct. One faces challenges while communicating in other countries. When I had been to Nigeria, I had this problem. We Indians speak little faster. Whereas Africans are slower. Indians give emphasis on clarity of each word. Sometimes I was unable to understand what they spoke.
Sometimes Europeans do not understand what we speak. When we watch BBC news, their English is far more clear. In contrast, I found natives of UK have far greater accent and sometimes it is difficult to comprehend.
What I have written is only about the language. There are few other differences while dealing with nationals from middle-east countries.
Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Hello Shruti, it is true that with globalization,diversity is posing a challenge to HR and more so the training professionals.An audience of rainbow culture is a tough challenge to a trainer I am no training expert but I could visualize some problems as I once found it difficult to understand a European couple who did not know English,seeking guidance to go to a famous sight seeing place but could guide them properly because I understood the only name of the sight seeing location uttered by them and by uttering words like cab and some land mark buildings near by and finally explaining the cab driver in Hindi about where the couple wanted to go. But you cannot deliver training like that..If your problem is as to how to communicate to an audience in their native language which is other than English, I do not think there is any way but to employ some trainer who can speak the native language of the audience as well as English so that he can translate the training content which is in English into the native language ensuring that the original meaning and context is not lost in translation. Employing a translator to translate the communication in English into native language simultaneously before the audience will rob the training of it's effect and the audience of their interest in training.

However if you have no other option but to communicate in English to a linguistically diverse audience, you need to ......

1)study and understand the nuances of communication of the people of that particular culture - the way they greet etc.

2) try to know the the ways of expressing key English phrases in the native language with their meaning.

3) Understand what kind of body language can express what in the native language as trainers use it in explaining processes and concepts as the same body language may mean differently in different cultures.

4) Do more research about communication of that particular culture to ensure that the training does not end in a damp squib.


From India, Mumbai
Respected senior ,
In the post due to confidentiality matters could't reveal everything. There is a challenge in the workplace which we need to handle; so here it goes -
In the context of cultural communication it is in reference to global training.
When individuals conduct global training over calls there is a gap in communication. how could we overcome it ??
Native language is in reference with the language spoken by people across globe in any region where the training is conducted.
customers as in i meant are clients .
sorry for not being very clear ..

From India, Bengaluru
Hi M. Shruthi,

It seems like a challenging situation if the training is conducted over calls. If I was the trainer, I would actually include a section (right at the beginning of the session) on cross-cultural sensitization. It could be something very simple but effective--like a story about how trainers were training over calls and there was a communication gap. You could actually derive the story from a situation that your trainers have actually encountered. Keeping things real always adds to the effectiveness of a training session.

The story could be followed by questions such as...

1. What would you do if you were being trained by a trainer from another culture and the trainer said something that offends you or doesn't make sense?

2. What do you think trainers should do if they get offended by something you say or are unable to understand your point of view?

If delivered sensitively, this could be the ice-breaker.

It would allow the trainers and the trainees to be on the same page as also enable them to evolve a method of communicating should either (side) detect some lapse in communication.

Hope this helps.

~ just another trainer

From Netherlands, undefined

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