The Blog for Culture Vultures

Satiate your inner Culture Vulture with regular news and posts about cultural awareness, doing business abroad, working in a multicultural environment, HR diversity and global mobility.

"Cultural cloak of sensitivity" is preventing human rights

"Cultural cloak of sensitivity" is preventing human rights


A "cultural cloak of sensitivity" is preventing figures in authority, including police, teachers and social services, from protecting basic human rights for fear of upsetting certain ethnic minority communities, David Cameron warned yesterday.

In his strongest attack on multiculturalism, which he said had created a "cultural apartheid" by allowing communities to lead separate lives, the Conservative leader claimed that society was caving in to "extreme elements" who should be sidelined. Cameron cited two examples:

· authorities often turn a blind eye to forced marriages - schools in Derby have recently refused to put up posters about the issue - amid fears that they might be perceived as racists;

· Victoria Climbié, the eight-year-old who was tortured to death by her aunt and her aunt's boyfriend, was not properly protected by social services because they did not want to offend a family that had recently arrived in Britain.

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The impact of expats in 2008

The impact of expats in 2008
Companies are aware that knowledge workers are key to the success of the Dutch economy and, focusing on this growing community, a new congress 'The Impact of Expats' aims to cover everything which companies in the Netherlands bringing knowledge workers into the country need to know.


ZuidasThe success of the Dutch economy is knowledge-based and Dutch business and industry know only too well that it is the presence of highly skilled workers in a city which increases its capacity for innovation and makes it attractive for new business.

Amsterdam, with its highly rated quality of life, cultural diversity and lively reputation is becoming increasingly popular with skilled internationals seeking to develop their careers abroad.

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Expats in Spain filling job gaps

Ex-pats living in Spain are being recruited and trained to work as remote telemarketing staff for English businesses because there is a shortage of suitable candidates in the UK.

Call centre staffing company Sensée has hired 10 sun-soaked British workers as telesales agents for Sense On Hold (SOH), a UK-based company providing marketing to callers while they are waiting on hold. The agents will never meet their new bosses at SOH, as all elements of recruitment and training take place online.

The move reflects the growing number of employers using mobile workers for traditional, office-based jobs.

Read more> Expats 
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Migrants' safety getting lost in translation

Many employers are risking migrant workers' wellbeing by not providing adequate health and safety training warned the Institute of Occupational Health and safety (IOSH).

It said many non-English speaking migrant workers are especially at risk as H&S training is usually delivered in English. IOSH recently conducted a pilot study into how H&S training is delivered to migrant workers in the food processing sector.

Half of the 26 companies polled admitted their H&S training did not address how non-English speaking workers were informed, instructed or trained in H&S issues and practices.

"The evidence from the food and drink sector is that too many employers are taking risks with their migrant workers by not offering proper training in H&S issues," said IOSH policy and technical director Richard Jones."Within this sector only 42% of employers provide English lessons to staff."

Read more> Migrants 
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Punjabi is 4th most spoken language in Canada

Punjabi is the fourth most spoken language in Canada after English, French and Chinese, according to an official census.

While English and French are official languages, Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, Italian and Arabic are the most five most widely-spoken non-official languages in the country. Punjabi is also the 4th most spoken language in the Canadian Parliament.

According to the census by Statistics Canada in 2006, the most widely-spoken non-official language is Chinese (2.6 per cent of Canadians). It is followed by Punjabi (0.8 per cent), Spanish (0.7 per cent), Italian (0.6 per cent) and Arabic (0.5 per cent).

Read more > Canada

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Recruiters have a key role to play in helping ethnic minorities into work

Following the publication of the National Audit Office’s report that showed there was still a significant gap between the employment rate for ethnic minorities and the general population, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation has again highlighted the need for more work to be done in this particular area.

The report stated that the employment rate is 60 per cent for the ethnic minority population compared to 74 per cent for the general population.

Read more > Diversity 
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Translation of food labels

Translation of food labels
Revere's (Massachusetts, USA) diverse community has given rise to a number of ethnic restaurants and grocery stores brimming with international products from countries such as Cambodia, Lebanon, and Thailand.


While these restaurants and stores provide a taste of home for immigrants, they may be confusing for residents who want to try new things but cannot read foreign-language packaging.

This was one of the arguments used by City Councilor George Rotondo when he asked, by way of a council motion, that Revere stores that sell products in a foreign language provide an English translation.

"I embrace diversity. I live it," said Rotondo, whose wife is from Colombia and who can speak or read five languages. "Unfortunately, I believe it's unfair that you go to a store and see something there and don't know what it is, and have to rely on someone telling you what it is."

His colleagues on the council last month approved the motion, which then made its way to Mayor Thomas G. Ambrosino's desk. There it met a speedy death.

"The council passed it and the mayor vetoed it," Rotondo said. "He thought it was 'silly'; he wrote that in a letter to me."

"I just thought it was kind of foolish," Ambrosino said in an interview. "First of all, I don't think we have the authority to have private companies translate their products into English. And I don't think it's an effort in which we ought to be expending our efforts."

Read more > Revere 
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Expatriate cultural coaching improves performance

High Expectations

Most people believe that international assignments are easy and "first-time" expatriates always start off with an excited and optimistic attitude. On the receiving end in the host foreign company, the managers and other employees have high expectations for the newcomers who bring new skills and insights. Although most of these employees have never been on an international assignment, they usually expect an expatriate to immediately perform as valuable experts. They anticipate that these new arrivals will adjust, make decisions rapidly and maneuver across cultures with ease. Most simply expect the expat to get to work immediately and to perform better than others.

 

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Mills & Boon to commence Polish translations

W H Smith is to introduce Polish versions of some of Mills & Boon's most popular titles according to the press today.

Libraries are also tipped to bring in copies for an increasing Polish customer base.

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Increased arrests of immigrants puts strain on police translation costs

The increasing number of foreigners in the UK is resulting in police forces strething to "bursting point." This according to leaked memos reported in the press today.  One chief constable commented his force had been "underfunded for years" in its battle to cope with a growing number of immigrants which has left resources strained. Police also note that extra translation and bureaucratic costs are resulting.

Read more > UK Police 
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Finding talent globally

The war for talent never ends. Middle managers in China? Good luck finding them, let alone keeping them. Assembly line workers in Central Europe? They're well-educated and hard-working: Trouble is, every company wants them. The cubicle warriors of Bangalore? They get the job done—if they stick around. I For corporations, managing this widely scattered, talented, restive, multicultural workforce has never been harder. This Special Report, written to coincide with the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, brings readers to the front lines of the struggle. It delves into IBM's (IBM) effort to rein- vent the way it gets tasks done around the world, follows a Nokia (NOK) manager as he recruits a workforce from scratch in Transylvania, meets a restless generation of IT workers in India, and hears from the corporate road warriors who never, ever stop traveling.

These and other stories make a simple but powerful point: The old way of managing across borders is fading fast. In the first half of the 20th century, the globalization of business was based on the British colonial model. Headquarters, functions, and capital were in one place, with managers dispatched to run regional operations like colonies. In the second half of the 1900s, companies adopted the multinational model, replicating their home country operations in other places where they did business. Country units rarely dealt with other divisions in other markets.

Today, global corporations are transforming themselves into "transnationals," moving work to the places with the talent to handle the job and the time to do it at the right cost.

Read more: transnationals 
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Movies to help expats settle in Korea

Three Korean films and a cartoon have been translated for immigrant workers and foreigners married to Koreans here. About 10 immigrants from Southeast Asian countries participated in the translation project to help people settle down in Korea more easily.

Three movies, ``Wolf Daddy,'' ``Stand by Me’’ and ``Walking in the Rainy Day’’ and a cartoon cooking guide were translated into four languages, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Chinese and English. The cartoon contains recipes for various Korean dishes and is already popular among foreign workers.

``My Filipino friends asked me to translate a Korean cartoon and movie into Tagalong and I did the job for almost three months from September last year,’’ said Maria Judids Bublacion, 38. Maria is married to a Korean here. ``It is my pleasure to help them. I hope to get more opportunities to do this kind of job for immigrants here,’’ she added.

Cultural Action (CA), a non-profit civic organization, organized the translation project, which it pursued in cooperation with a cartoon company and the Association of Korea Independent Film & Video funded by the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs.


Read more > Korea 
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Understanding the transcultural consumer

Press Release, San Francisco, CA, January 06, 2008 :

“The more than 100 million multicultural consumers in the US, are not just multi-colored or multi-lingual but cross-cultural and transcultural as well. They are rapidly evolving and challenging the definition of “ethnic” or “multicultural” marketing,” says Valerie Romley, Chief Research Officer and author of "Beyond Translation; The Marketer's Field Guide to Understanding Today's Transcultural Consumer".

“What was effective yesterday is no longer relevant and what is effective today may not resonate with tomorrow’s moving targets. It’s time for marketers to go beyond relying on translation and color and language based segmentation and understand the roles that culture and context have in influencing beliefs and attitudes and driving consumer behavior.”

Read more> Beyond Translation 
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2008 top 10 trends in business training

2008 top 10 trends in business training

What are the top ten trends in training and human resource development that are expected to dominate in 2008?

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88% of clinical professionals encounter non-English speaking patients

More than 88 percent of America clinical research, healthcare, and medical device industry professionals surveyed encounter non-English speaking patients and subjects on a regular basis. The November 2007 survey, which was conducted by Global Language Solutions (GLS), polled the firm's clients and industry contacts on the types of languages spoken by their patients or research subjects, as well as the one(s) used most often.

GLS, which specializes in translation and interpreting services for the medical devices, pharmaceutical, and healthcare industries, was not surprised to find Spanish as the non-English language most commonly cited by respondents; with 90 percent those surveyed who encounter non-English languages listing it as the most common. Other languages listed included French (37 percent), Chinese (25 percent), and Russian (20 percent).

Read more> GLS 
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88% of clinical professionals encounter non-English speaking patients

More than 88 percent of America clinical research, healthcare, and medical device industry professionals surveyed encounter non-English speaking patients and subjects on a regular basis. The November 2007 survey, which was conducted by Global Language Solutions (GLS), polled the firm's clients and industry contacts on the types of languages spoken by their patients or research subjects, as well as the one(s) used most often.

GLS, which specializes in translation and interpreting services for the medical devices, pharmaceutical, and healthcare industries, was not surprised to find Spanish as the non-English language most commonly cited by respondents; with 90 percent those surveyed who encounter non-English languages listing it as the most common. Other languages listed included French (37 percent), Chinese (25 percent), and Russian (20 percent).

Read more> GLS 
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Home Office on course to meet diversity targets

Targets for the recruitment and retention of staff from minority ethnic communities are on course to be met across the core Home Office, a report published today revealed.

The eighth annual Race Employment Targets Report shows progress against the Home Office's 10-year race equality employment targets. The Border and Immigration Agency, Identity and Passport Service, the Forensic Science Service and the core Home Office areas all exceeded their aims.

The news comes just days after a new mentoring scheme aimed at preparing black and minority ethnic (BME) staff for leadership roles in the Civil Service has been put into action.

Read more > Home Office 
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Language and Culture are issues for midwives

Language and Culture are issues for midwives
The UK's population is growing. Part of that increase is fuelled by women from other countries having children here.

And as the Local Government Association (LGA), representing 400 councils in England and Wales, outlines to a House of Lords select committee how migration stretches community services, one midwife tells how the changes affect her.


For midwife Jayne Cozens, going to work these days is also becoming something of a geography lesson.

She has worked in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, for 12 years, and her caseloads are containing increasing numbers of foreign nationals from across the globe.

Language and culture are becoming more of an issue, as Mrs Cozens' job becomes ever more multi-cultural and multi-lingual.

"It can be a challenge explaining to a 17-year-old English girl what an amniocentesis is, let alone to a teenager from abroad who doesn't speak the language," she says.

There are cultural issues, too, which midwives must handle in the course of giving their advice to non-UK nationals.

"Chinese families tend to sleep together in the same room and the same bed.

"Children, new baby, mum and dad are all together. It's what they're used to, so you go to a house and there's a couple of mattresses on the floor.

"But our advice in relation to cot death is for women to not sleep with their babies, so if you have the whole family in together then that presents a problem."

Mrs Cozens said that in the course of her work "you do learn a few words" but that this is not enough to clearly explain the full message.

Read more> Language & Culture
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Enjoy Christmas say UK's religious leaders

Enjoy Christmas say UK's religious leaders
Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims joined Britain's equality watchdog Monday in urging Britons to enjoy Christmas without worrying about offending non-Christians.


"It's time to stop being daft about Christmas. It's fine to celebrate and it's fine for Christ to be star of the show," said Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

"Let's stop being silly about a Christian Christmas," he said, referring to a tendency to play down the traditional celebrations of the birth of Christ for fear of offending minorities in multicultural Britain.

Suicide bombings by British Islamists in July 2005 which killed 52 people in London have prompted much soul-searching about religion and integration in Britain, a debate that has been echoed across Europe.

Read more> Christmas
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Expats "get the best of both worlds"

When English people move abroad, almost half (46 percent) miss traditional dishes such as bangers and mash and black pudding.

More than a third (37 percent) miss their favourite TV programmes, such as Only Fools and Horses, according to a major new survey of expats by BUPA International.

But surprisingly, in spite of craving familiar foods and TV programmes, the majority of English expats say they are actually happier abroad.

Findings from research by the world's largest expat health insurer show that three in four English expats now call their new country "home", while a third say they feel healthier since moving abroad, thanks to better weather and an improved quality of life.

Ninety-three percent of the English surveyed also said they would recommend the expatriate life to others, with over half declaring that "they get the best of both worlds".

Read more> Expatriate
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