September 24 – In Class Activity

Company: Subway

Subway US: https://www.subway.com/en-US

Subway Brazil: https://www.subway.com/pt-BR

What specific features regarding linguistic and cultural communication designs do you see as more prominent? How do they represent the local values/cultural specifics (i.e. localization)? In what ways does this website adopt (or not) effective communication strategies for the targeted audiences?

I was surprised when I first saw Subway’s Brazilian website, and how it is really different from the US one.

Why:

  • It has a very weak branding appealing compared to the US version
  • Its focus is on the “information” and not in the lifestyle beyond the product
  • Two of the highlights of the website is a call to action to the available careers at subway, and how to own a local franchise, what can lead us to an interpretation of a website not really focused on the client’s experience
  • B2B website instead of B2C
  • Its design is very “simple” – not minimalist
  • Content focus on the deals they offer
  • Popular words/ superlatives

September 17 – In Class Group Discussion

  • Sarita Lee, Jason Wu, and Lorena Moreira.

What challenges (or strengths you can utilize based on your experiences) do you see on the way to conducting an ethnographic study in the cross-cultural or cross-language business context? How do you plan to overcome them?

 

Challenges:

  • Recognize the interviewee cultural background to understand and lead the discussion. It is even more challenging when you are not familiar with other culture involved in the process.
  • Language: when there is no translation for specific expressions/words among the languages involved.
  • When the interviewer in a non-native speaker of the language placed in the interview: lack of confidence/ courage to lead the discussion
  • When the interviewee in a non-native speaker of the language placed in the interview: core interview content may be missed

Overcome:

  • Be prepared for the interview: research about the theme, possible topics, plan the questions and share them in advance with the interviewee (so she/he can also be more confident about the process), and cultural background of the interviewee.
  • Understand both positions, yours and interviewees, in the process
  • Be open-minded and have patience
  • Different from a more casual discussion, the personal feelings, and beliefs must be placed behind the interview influence so the main goal of the interview can be accomplished

 

 

 

September 17 – In Class Interview

Sarita Lee

Object:

Challenge Coin – Keychain

 

What is:

Traditional coin of Navy Chief Petty Officers

 

Origin:

Bahrain/ 2015 – when she was initiated as a Chief Petty Officers

 

Meaning:

Among the different coins that she collects, this specific coin is the most important. It has the three core values of the Navy: honor, courage, and commitment. It means being always faithful to the navy.

 

Every chief has to carry a coin at all times. The origin of this tradition comes from the 2nd World War when a Navy pilot was shot and saved by the coin that was in his neck.

 

Fun fact:

If you are in somewhere that you don’t know anyone, you can recognize other chiefs by their coins.

 

But, be aware! If a group of chiefs goes to a bar, each one of them must tap their coins and if someone is missing her/his coin, she/he must pay a drink for all of the others.

 

Others coins:

Sarita just came back from the annual initiation, that included the Final Pinning Ceremony (promotion) and she has various coins in her backpack as well. One that is very interesting – and beautiful – is the one from Carl Brashear, the first black navy diver

 

Highlight:

The coins represent communities and its an representative/ integration artifact. The trading and collection of coins are now part of the navy tradition.

 

Traveler:

Sarita has so many different stories from personal and professional experiences. In 2015, her initiation year, she lived in the USS Ponce Deployment ship for a whole year and traveled a lot. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Jebel Ali and Djibouti were some of the destinations. She also had to face various challenges, for example, sharing a small sleeping compartment with 14 women in total.

September 10 – In class discussion

In what ways do you feel challenged or privileged as a communicator across cultures and languages?

As an international student, the language itself becomes a challenging factor when I have to face a new situation, especially when it involves a new environment. The English dominance and well-discussed “authority” is still a struggle that I encounter on a daily basis in both the academic and business fields.

On the other hand, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to face the challenges from a different perspective, due to my prior educational and professional background. That allows me to understand my possible issues with language, learning and working as part of a much broader and complex cultural framework.

Based on your readings for this week (communicating across borders), what strategies do you find useful and supportive when communicating with people across borders?

What I found the most interesting part was that we have to understand that there is no “right” or “wrong” ideas, just different cultural settings. So the one thing that I am sure that will serve for my entire life from now is to always try to analyze it first by how do I perceive one situation, according to my background, in order to understand the other people’s opinion/action. Also, that I am constantly shaping and being shaped by this cross-cultural lifetime experience.

Further, I believe that perceiving the language with the concept as a cultural component available to who may need or want to use this as a way of communication and connection, instead of an “object” of possession of a native speaker, will help me in the everyday struggle with English or any other foreign language that I might use.