Both sides appear to be speaking English but each is using it in a context relative to their own culture. Remember: When communication breaks down in this manner, and you feel offended or baffled by what your colleague from the other culture just said, please try to check if you misinterpreted the meaning.
Ask questions to make sure you understand one another.
An American manager, although usually polite, couldn’t restrain himself when he heard that statement. The Israeli manager’s intention got lost in translation since English is his second language.
What he meant by ‘don’t care’ was that it wouldn’t make a big difference, didn’t matter, didn’t bother them – the correct English phrase would be ‘don’t mind.’ (The two terms seem so close to the Israeli ear and mind… almost a synonym.) Due to lack of knowledge or not understanding the nuances of a language, many Israelis often make usage mistakes.
The topic of the call was transitioning from an on-premise product to a cloud-native product.
In the middle of the discussion, one Israeli manager said that the R&D staff in Israel ‘don’t care’ about some of the changes. This is a great example of a wrong expression giving the wrong impression.Translation involves far more than converting words and phrases from one language to another.For more information about cross-cultural communication, how to work with Israelis, past blogs or “Israeli Business Culture,” my bestselling book on Amazon, please browse the relevant pages on my website (English is THE language to speak when we talk across cultures.In Israel, English entered the workplace along with the global hi-tech boom.Careful dialogue forces all participants to truly listen and strive to understand what their conversational partner is trying to get across.Sure, this be challenging but patience will bear good results in time.Intercultural situations are characterized by encounters, mutual respect and the valorization of diversity by individuals or groups of individuals identifying with different cultures.By making the most of the cultural differences, we can improve intercultural communication in civil society, in public institutions and the business world. These case studies were made during the classes at the Master of Advanced Studies in Intercultural Communication.The richness of this material is that it contains real-life experiences in intercultural communication problems in various settings, such as war, family, negotiations, inter-religious conflicts, business, workplace, and others.Cases also include renowned organizations and global institutions, such as the United Nations, Multinationals companies, Non-Governmental Organisations, Worldwide Events, European, African, Asian and North and South America Governments and others.