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Language as an insight to culture

  •  Posted on Aug 22, 2022  by  | No Comments

Have you ever noticed how you adjust your language based on your situation? When you’re sitting in the park, the pub, or the cozy terrace with a group of friends, you speak casually, quickly, and with a comfortable level ease. If you are in the office, you will use professional tones, and your colloquialisms will be pushed to the side. If you are meeting someone new, you will choose your words more carefully and wait until you have an understanding of them before you release your natural language and conversation tones.

The same thing happens when you switch between languages. Language can be an insight into the culture. Every language has its own personality and mannerisms. German speakers, for example, will rarely interrupt each other mid sentence. In a German conversation, the sentences may feel longer, and peppered with long compound nouns, and each person will still wait until the end to respond. This may be out of politeness, but it is also strongly influenced by the fact that the German language simply does not lend itself to be interrupted. German sentence structure forces you to wait patiently for the point, since the verbs are at the end! English on the other hand, has the verbs up front, with the less fundamental aspects of the sentence at the end. It is easier to understand the point of the sentence before it’s completed, making it easier and more common to interrupt and bounce between speakers quickly.

You can even find cultural cues and identifiers within the same language, but from a different country, or within different dialects. For example, Spanish in Spain uses an extra conjugation, “vosotros.” This is a formal conjugation for ‘you all.’ You won’t hear this used in Mexican Spanish. This slight difference in the Spanish languages can be felt in the culture as well. Spain will have more of a formal undertone in the culture than you may find in other Spanish speaking countries.

Once you understand the cultural intricacies of a language, you can immerse further into the culture and feel less like a foreigner even in a foreign country. Language creates a sense of unity within its speakers. English speakers will migrate towards other English speakers, even if they are not from the same country or speaking with the same accent. There is a sense of comradery and understanding. This breaks down even farther when you move into dialects and accents. Each language group shares something in common, but they still have differences depending on which dialect, accent, and regional version of the language you speak. These commonalities and differences between languages reflect the culture of the location and the people. When a speaker switches between languages, the cultural characteristics switch with them. You may not even notice that when you switch between languages, your personality can shift as well.

I leave you with some food for thought…when traveling, speaking to colleagues, or going through your daily routine, take a moment to think about how your languages influence your interactions. Take a moment to enjoy the new cultural intricacies and insights that appear once you switch into a new language.

“A language is not just words. It’s a culture, a tradition, a unification of a community, a whole history that creates what a community is. It’s all embodied in a language.”

Noam Chomsky

by Samantha K. Giovino, Recruitment Consultant

 

Recruitment Challenges in the UK for 2022

  •  Posted on Jul 26, 2022  by  | No Comments

After almost two years of uncertainty brought by the Covid pandemic, recruitment has now started to return to normal as much as possible. After a post-pandemic boom of new roles, things are now slowing down and returning to the levels of pre-pandemic. However, the combination of the pandemic and BREXIT has made recruitment in the UK even more challenging in 2022. In addition to this, we have a war in Europe and massive rise in cost of living, followed by a potential recession that the world is now facing.

The pandemic has brought us many changes and most of them are for the better. For instance, most of the businesses managed to adopt very quickly to remote working arrangements and develop a whole new system that is already proven to be successful for most of them. Some businesses will never return to their offices on a full-time basis, and some have closed them completely. Hybrid working arrangements are getting more and more popular amongst employers. It is basically a combination of work from home and office days, where the team has certain days to meet and work from the office. However, there are still many employees who prefer to work from the office on a full-time basis as they miss the socialising and after-work drinks, hence one of the challenges would certainly be the new working arrangements.

Another challenge for recruiters is the lack of qualified/skilled workers that we are currently experiencing in the UK. Many industries are short-staffed from the increase in redundancies over the last couple of years and lots of professionals decided to change their career paths and move to industries which were less affected. It is a candidate driven market when it comes to skilled workers. The best way to tackle this, would be to tailor the offers to the skilled people, and base them on their experiences and knowledge. Also, some industries will need to drastically increase their pay rates so they can keep attracting candidates. Highly competent candidates are aware of the value of their skills. In addition, they have plenty of choices in the job market, therefore a more personal approach might be very useful.

Recruiters must be prepared for a very high turnover in temporary recruitment. Candidates are looking to gain new experience and skills in a short-term placement that could help them to change directions in their career paths, and they will be preferably looking for permanent opportunities straight after that short assignment. In addition to the above, we have BREXIT which restricts new workers entering the UK from Europe and that makes temporary recruitment in the UK even more challenging. Skilled workers are in high demand and they are hard to find and difficult to keep. Recruiters need to make sure they really look after their temp candidates if they are willing to keep them on their books. This might also include communicating to their clients and to try to increase pay rates so they can attract more relevant candidates, especially for the short-term assignments. Recruiters need to adopt to the new normal. With the potential recession knocking at our door, it is possible that there will be an increase in temporary staffing needs.

The below data is from May 2022 (taken from https://www.hiringpeople.co.uk/blog/recruitment-news-outlook-for-the-remainder-of-2022/)

90% of UK employers are seeking to recruit in 2022 – a significant increase from 66% in 2021
76% of employers are offering remote and hybrid positions – to meet candidate’s increased work-life balance expectations
87% of companies are struggling to fill job openings – with 63% failing to hire because of skills shortages

The above numbers are confirming the shortage of skilled workers and the shortage of staff in general.

The five lessons and recruitment practices employers need to consider when hiring in 2022 include:

  1. Wherever possible, adopt flexible, hybrid working options to attract candidates
  2. Improve the attractiveness of roles by promoting extras, such as development and training opportunities, benefits, and bonuses
  3. State a willingness to consider transferable skills in job advertisements and assess candidates for them
  4. Broaden recruitment strategies to target wider geographical locations while highlighting higher pay and increased workplace flexibility
  5. Appreciate that hiring will take longer and cost more

The report, conducted in partnership with Dynata, which surveyed 400 UK talent acquisition, recruitment, and HR professionals, indicates that companies are hiring relatively equally, aiming to fill new roles and replace existing staff.

To tackle the challenges, recruiters need to consider a wider talent pool, look for transferable skills and train those candidates. Hard and soft skills are always in demand including communication, strategic planning, collaboration, flexibility, IT, and problem-solving.

Published by Georgi Slavchev, Senior Recruitment Consultant – Temporaries Division

 

Adjusting to life in the UK. “A vibrant and diverse place to live”

  •  Posted on Jul 22, 2022  by  | No Comments

Many people will agree that the UK is a unique place to live. It is lively, fun, and multicultural with beautiful landscapes, historical places and some of the best museums, art galleries and cinemas worldwide. However, coming to the UK can be an equally exciting and daunting event. It may take time to adjust to life in a different culture and a plethora of questions may cross your mind about your social life or even how you will begin to get around.

Despite the feeling of excitement of moving to a new place, you may also feel terrified because you leave the familiar environment of your home and your family members. Straight after you switch to a new environment, you are likely to be hit with culture shock and homesickness.

Here are some difficulties that I faced at the beginning:

Culture shock
I moved to the UK 5 years ago to study. I had never been there before and for that reason I was very stressed, as everything seemed different. As expected, I got hit by culture shock which made it even more difficult to adapt to the different aspects of the UK society. Language, accents, and mannerisms caught me off guard. On those grounds, bear in mind that social behaviours may confuse, surprise, or offend you, specifically in the centre of large cities, like London, where people might come across as cold and distant or always in a hurry.

Picking up the local language and slang
Before moving to the UK, I studied English for several years, however I still felt nervous when it came to communicating with the native speakers. Sometimes people were confused by my accent and at first, I did not always understand what they meant. Constantly listening and speaking in a foreign language might be tiring, especially when English is not your first language. Phrases and slang make up also a large part of social communication, which can be puzzling if you have never heard them before. British slang can be equally confusing, as they tend to informally use words for their opposite meaning, or even to mean something totally irrelevant. For instance: “sick” means “good“ and “peak” means “bad”. This has caused to many of us some embarrassing moments!

Politeness
Politeness is at the heart of everything they do. Orderly queues, holding doors open and saying “please” and “thank you” are what the UK was built on. From rushing past someone on the stairs to walking into a lamppost, Brits love to apologise. For example, you might accidentally hit someone with your bag, so why are they apologising to you? It’s an unspoken rule that everyone should apologise over the most trivial reasons, regardless of who, or whether anyone is at fault.

Here are some of my suggestions which will help you adjust quicker to the UK lifestyle:

Keep yourself busy! - (My favourite one)
UK is a place, where you can always keep yourself busy. There may be an opportunity to learn a new sport or activity or continue an interest from back home. Ever since I moved here, I managed to become fluent in two new languages and discovered my passion for travelling. Moreover, you can easily meet new people and socialise with them and find someone to talk to, who will listen to what you say uncritically and with understanding. It can be a great learning experience, which will make you more aware of aspects of both your own culture and the one you have recently entered.

Build your network!

Even though culture shock might only be something temporary, it is essentially important to have in mind that there are certain things that can help you get through it. It really helps to surround yourself with other people who are in the same boat as you as it is a huge relief to know that you are not alone in this new chapter in life. In general, making friends is not only important for building your network but also for your mental health as it goes a long way in improving your social skills that can be useful across many areas in your life. It is always good to keep in touch with friends and relatives as well and update them on your current situation.

Always be open minded

An effective way to overcome culture shock is to stay open minded even in the most awkward situations. Take some time and think before you act. Treat everything as a new chance to learn more about the culture which in this case is largely based on politeness. You can gain knowledge from the most insignificant moments. From the q’s to the bus driver to the p’s to the barista that serves you your morning coffee. Being polite will always be appreciated and put you in a good stead. Undoubtedly, the word “please” will always be followed by a “thank you”.

Curiosity goes a long way
Ever since I moved here one of my biggest fears was being alone in a completely different country. Therefore, if there is one thing, I wish I knew earlier was how much people are willing to help you. Surprisingly it is considered to be very normal to stop someone on the street and ask them questions. Apart from that, asking my British friends questions helped me understand better the British culture and encouraged me to be more confident in my everyday life. As a result, I found communicating in English much easier. It might take you a while to get a grasp with the British use of English, especially if you’re used to watching American TV shows like I did, but don’t worry, you’ll pick it up in no time!

Conclusion: The UK as a society is very diverse, with many different cultures and nationalities. Welcoming people from different countries has been a long tradition, and for that reason many have stayed here permanently. It might be difficult once you move to a new country, but the way to deal with it would be: to always have a plan, be very well organised, and learn every day to be patient, because it WILL get better!

Published by George Theodotou Associate Consultant - IT Sales and Technical Division

 

Overcoming Common Barriers to Employment

  •  Posted on Jul 12, 2022  by  | No Comments

There are a wide range of barriers to employment which affect jobseekers. These barriers affect socioeconomic and ethnic groups differently, but we have identified five common barriers which are faced by almost all jobseekers in the UK but especially those who may not speak English as a first language. This blog has been created to help jobseekers overcome these barriers, improve their chances of submitting successful job applications and to help streamline what can sometimes be an arduous task.

  • Relevant Experience

Describing previous experience can be challenging especially if you have limited work experience and you are translating your CV into English. However, it’s good to remember that previous experience doesn’t only come from past employment but also hobbies, extra-curricular activities and general life experience. Learning how to articulate all of your experiences concisely and apply

  • Documentation

There is a lot of documentation involved with starting a new job especially if you have just moved to another country for work. Keeping your documentation organised and accessible can save you a lot of time and stress. One common issue candidates face is proof of address. Generally, some forms of proof of address cannot be digital copies, e.g., bank statements which often need to be printed out from a bank and stamped in order to be valid. P60s are probably the easiest form of proof of address to obtain as these can now be accepted in digital format and anyone who works in the UK can access one.

  • References

Having a number of people who can write positive and reliable references for you can aid your job applications a great deal. These people should be familiar with your work ethic, skills and achievements. It’s worth remembering that referees don’t always have to be managers, especially if they are managers whom you didn’t frequently interact with. They can also be teachers, supervisors or other colleagues who you feel like know you well. Asking them in advance can also help you save time with your applications.

  • Employment Gaps

Having gaps between periods of employment is common and not necessarily a bad thing! The reasons for having gaps between periods of employment are varied; some may take a break to return to education, start a family or care for other relatives. Its important, however, that any gaps between periods of employment are stated and justified on your CV and application. Its also a good idea to explain which skills you developed or gained during these periods of your life.

  • Language & Communication

Language and communication barriers can be significant for those who do not speak English as a foreign language. However, it’s important to remember that even native English speakers can struggle to communicate clearly especially when in a pressured situation such as a job interview. Many people will prepare their answers for interview questions and those who have learned English as a foreign language should do the same. Learning set phrases and memorising examples of times when you showed employability skills can help you to communicate concisely in front of prospective employers.

Published by Alasdair Anderson Talent Resourcer – Regional Division

 

How To Definitely Get Your Jobs Filled

  •  Posted on Jun 28, 2022  by  | No Comments

When you engage a Recruiter, you have a choice of how. Do you want them to a) definitely, b) maybe or c) possibly find you the candidate you ultimately hire?

When you retain a recruiter (option a) you give them the confidence to do their best work and the drive to exceed your expectations. You rely on them, believe in them and commit to them (and them to you).

When you work exclusively with a recruiter (b), you give them a chance to compete with your internal teams and methods and to do strong work. You’ve chosen them alone to help but kept options open.

When you instruct multiple agencies (c), you give them poor odds in a race and won’t have the time to give them all a level playing field. You ask them to work fast and in hope rather than with conviction.

Guess which one everyone involved seems happy with?

I was shocked the first time a client opted to retain me. It was 2005, I was new to recruitment and was told by colleagues that it never happened. None of them had retained clients. We didn’t do it like that. Clients didn’t do it like that.

At this meeting, after a swift glance at terms, this new client read the terms quietly (felt a bit awkward, quite a lengthy document back then) raised his eyebrows and signed up for the retained option on the spot.

Expecting him to be mistaken, I asked if he’d understood that he’d be relying 100% on me for his next multilingual hires and that he’d be paying a portion of the fee that day. The reply was “Why would I want to work with more than one recruiter? You’re here because I don’t have time. I don’t want to be called by five or six people. You specialise in languages and know what I want”. He nailed it. Multiple hires followed. He wanted someone to get the job done with minimum fuss.

Many retained clients later, I’m certain that if the shoe was on the other foot, I’d always retain a recruiter to get my job filled. I’d make sure they understood what I needed and where I could be flexible. I’d trust that if there was a short stint or a career pivot on the CV that they’d checked it out. They’d know the lines of communication were always open. I’d help them market my job brilliantly. We’d both take responsibility to deliver.

When you’re hiring and know you need support, what would stop you committing?

If you’re a recruiter, what stops you asking for a genuine partnership?

Talk to me if you like definitely more than maybe; always happy to talk about the advantages of retaining your Recruiter.

Ben Brogden is an Associate Director at Euro London and a veteran of many retained searches (and plenty of contingency too)

 

How to write the BEST CV (according to recruitment professionals)

  •  Posted on Jun 27, 2022  by  | No Comments

Have you been applying tirelessly for jobs but don’t seem to be getting any calls back from employers? The recruiters here at Euro London have some top tips for writing the best CV, to help you find that perfect job!

  1. Look out for spelling mistakes! Regardless of your experience, bad spelling and grammar shows a lack of attention to detail. Employers receive lots of CVs and will throw out those with errors! Make sure you read through it with a fine-tooth comb, double check it, use a spell checker and get a friend to read it, to really make sure there are no mistakes!
  • Don’t try to make it too fancy! (But also avoid using a bland, generic template). The information on your CV should be clear and easy to find. Use a plain, easy-to-read font, with clearly distinguished headings. The information you put in your CV should be detailed, relevant, yet concise – your CV should not be longer than two or three pages! You should also put your experience in chronological order, starting with the most recent. Employers don’t want to have to trawl through your CV to find what they’re looking for – hand it to them on a plate!
  • Make sure to include a personal profile! This is a great way to introduce yourself to the employer, explain what your current working situation is and what kind of role you are looking for! It also adds some personality to your CV!
  • Avoid having gaps in your CV! Breaks in your career can raise alarm bells for employers. Make sure to explain any significant gaps in your employment. If you went travelling for a few months, add that to your CV! Erase all ambiguity from your CV so that any doubts the employer may have, are nipped in the bud.
  • Make sure all information you put in your CV is accurate and honest. You will always be caught out if you lie on your CV! Make sure dates on your CV match the dates on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t say that you are fluent in a language if you are not. Embrace the skills you truly have!

Implementing these tips into your CV are sure to help you stand out from the crowd! Now go ahead and apply for jobs with your new and improved CV and see the difference for yourself!

(Honourable mention: make sure you have some contact details on your CV. You’ll never get a call back if there’s no number to call!)

Published by Jordon Walsingham Talent Resourcer – Customer Services Division

 

Growing Up Bilingual

  •  Posted on Mar 03, 2022  by  | No Comments

Children learn languages much faster and easier than adults do. All tips and tricks for ensuring your child grows up speaking more than one language agrees that the earlier they start learning a second language, the better. Euro London Appointments is made up of consultants who grew up bilingual, learnt second languages later, or learnt multiple languages are various stages of their life. All agree however, that these language skills have been an incredible asset in life.

I was born in Germany but moved to the UK when I was 3 years old. I already had a head start with my English as my parents are both bilingual and spoke English and German around me. My Scottish Granny noted that I spoke “Ginglish”, with half my sentence in German and half in English. As I grew up, I grew out of the mixed language sentences and learnt to divide the two, but it wasn’t without issues.

My spelling and grammar were poor in both languages, and while I was able to speak both languages fluently it took a lot of effort to learn the difference grammatical systems. Reading and writing in German was much harder for me than in English. This came from my Mother Tongue having progressed to a second language and English became my predominant daily language. To try and counteract that, my parents changed a few things in our daily lives and here are some of the tips that worked for us!

  • All films and TV shows were in German. Living in England I wasn’t exposed to a wide variety of German vocabulary and this was super important to making sure I had a broader understanding.
  • Reading together in German and talking about it. I would ask why some words had capital letters in the middle of the sentence even though they weren’t “Proper Nouns”. All of a sudden it wasn’t just names, places and the start of a sentence that had a capital letter.
  • Writing letters to friends and family in German. While it felt like homework, it was so useful to actually get used to writing and paying attention to grammar.
  • Trips to Germany to immerse myself without my parents around. I was 8 years old when I first went on the plane on my own. Yes it was guided but I felt very grown up! My Aunt picked me up from the airport and I stayed with her for 2 weeks. While my German relatives all spoke pretty good English, it stopped me turning to my parents to translate. I joined my cousins at school and got to experience a typical school day for them and use my German to an age-appropriate level.
  • Consistency. If you don’t use the language, you lose it. You can’t expect a child to be able to speak fluently if you only use that language when visiting that country. It requires effort from parents and child.

There is no magic formula for raising a bilingual child, but these are some of the things that worked for me. Growing up eating German and English food, celebrating a mix of English holidays and traditions as well as German, and being constantly surrounded by both languages means that I grew up very aware and proud of being bilingual.

Published by Charlie Ottaway, Talent Resourcer – Temporaries Division

 

The Great Resignation or the Great Realignment?

  •  Posted on Jan 12, 2022  by  | No Comments

January is often noted as the time of the great resignation, but unless you’ve been living in a hole these past 18 months, it’s now seen as a standard monthly process. Strange what a world shattering event such as a global pandemic can make one do, but rather than going through the whole navel gazing exercise of scrolling through Exit Interviews and crying “where did we go wrong??!” perhaps take a closer look at where your ex-staff are going.

Yes, you will find the flash of cash is going to get pulses racing and legs running but upping your salaries is not necessarily going to be the answer, often it’s the challenge of a totally new sector or environment.  Changing careers to spend time with family (and not in a shamed politician sense) you cannot compete with, you can offer flexibility, working from home etc but if it’s to take over a family business you ain’t going to get a look in. There’s no getting away from it but Covid has really shaken up recruitment and after staying put over furlough and lockdowns, employees are re-evaluating their lives sooner and taking greater risks with their careers.

So what can you do?

Feedback is essential; regular face-to-face meets, employee surveys and of course Exit Interviews will give you insight as to how your employees priorities may have shifted over the course of the pandemic. Offering flexibility for those who may not have seen families for months, better work-life balance, greater focus on wellbeing and mental health, re-establishing which parts of the role makes your employees excited and giving these greater emphases are all steps in the right direction.

Ultimately, as the pandemic rattles on companies will continue to see a high rate of resignations, however this could be an opportunity for you to realign your teams, nurture your new talent and see greater retention in the future.

If you are looking for a new career challenge and would like to join our team we're hiring now! Please visit https://www.eurolondon.com/work-for-euro-london/ for more information

 

Beware of False Friends: Surprising Spanish-English False Friends Everyone Falls For

  •  Posted on Dec 08, 2021  by  | No Comments

Ever been in linguistic hot water or at the very least placed in an embarrassing situation? Most likely this will be the result of a false friend. These false friends are words that sound the same in English and Spanish. They lure new users of the language into thinking they have the exact same meaning in both languages, and that you can count on them to communicate properly and effectively.

And that’s when you land yourself in awkward situations, however they can be overcome if you study them closely, manage to identify them, and keep your guard up when they are around.

Librería — bookshop | Biblioteca — library

Meet librería and library. You could go to either one of these places to pick up books for your language reading practice. The difference is that one of them is for profit (bookstore) and the other is more philanthropic (library). Can you guess which is which? From hereafter, it should not be a guessing game!

Constipado — to have a cold | Estreñido — constipated

One of the more dangerous pairs is constipado and constipated.  While they both indicate a lack of health, they refer to very different conditions. More importantly, they are both treatable with over-the-counter products. Obtaining any kind of medicinal product in Spanish-speaking countries requires you go to a pharmacy and speak with the pharmacist. So, it is wise to know the difference between these two.

Not knowing the difference could be disastrous!

Conservante — preservatives | Preservativo — condom

Need I say more?

Recordar — to remember | Grabar — to record

Hmmm, let me see if I can remember…Yes, I remember. You may not record these words as alternates. recordar ≠ record.

Above all, remember that any new skill requires practice, practice, practice and a good healthy dose of mistakes! As long as you are open to learning from them, they will always lead you in the right direction.

Published by Manu Fara, Consultant - Customer Service Division

 

Hiring a Chinese speaker? Which language variety do you need?

  •  Posted on Jun 08, 2021  by  | No Comments

When you are looking to hire a Chinese speaker to support your business, the terms “Mandarin”, “Chinese”, “Cantonese” “Simplified Chinese” and “Traditional Chinese” may all appear in people’s CV or LinkedIn page. You may find yourself wondering, “why there are so many terms?”, “what’s the difference?”, and the most importantly “which is the one I’m looking for?”

Not to worry, I will answer all these questions. In this article I will not go into too much depth on linguistic intricacies, but I will give you a practical guide for hiring Chinese speakers.

  1. Speaking Chinese V.S Writing Chinese

When it comes to the language of Chinese, there is a fundamental linguistic concept that will provide clarification for all the confusion. Chinese is a logogram language. It basically means the writing and speaking systems in Chinese are separated. Each Chinese character in writing has its own meaning rather than just reflecting the pronunciation in speaking. Since Chinese is the only logogram language in use, you may find some confusion you do not come across when hiring other language speakers.

Both Mandarin and Cantonese are speaking languages in the Chinese language group. However, in writing, there are two formats: Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. There are more speaking languages in Chinese, but only Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese are using for writing.

  • Traditional Chinese V.S Simplified Chinese

As mentioned previously, Traditional and Simplified Chinese are both writing language in Chinese. In the countries and regions using Chinese as the official language, Mainland China and Singapore use Simplified Chinese while Taiwan, Marco and Hong Kong use Traditional Chinese

The two systems share some of the characters, most of the grammar and the vocabulary. The major difference between them are the structures of each character. In most cases, Traditional Chinese has a more complex structure. The chart below can give you an idea about the differences.

Even though the two writing systems looks so different, people from the different writing systems can still understand each other 90% of the time. This is because Chinese is a logogram language. Since the characters have meaning, people can read and decrypt the articles written in another Chinese format without too much effort. The shared grammar and vocabulary also helps with reading. However, when it comes to writing by hand, most people can only write in one of the systems due to the complexity of Chinese characters (you have seen the chart above, you know what I mean). There is not too much to worry about when typing on computers, most office software has a built-in function for switching between Simplified and Traditional Chinese with just a few clicks.

When considering what kind of language writer to hire, it depends. For most positions, both simplified and traditional Chinese writers can carry on perfectly. The distinction would only be necessary in some specific cases. For example, Chinese font designing tasks or brand localisation campaigns.

  • Mandarin V.S Cantonese

Mandarin, also called ‘standard Chinese’, is used in schools and universities across all official Chinese speaking countries and regions. Cantonese is a dialect used in southern China, Hong Kong and Macau. In day-to-day life, most people in mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore speak Mandarin. However, the majority of people in Macau and Hong Kong use Cantonese. When people describe themselves as a “Chinese speaker”, they are likely mean Mandarin, but it is always worth clarifying with them.

Due to the huge difference between Mandarin and Cantonese, people who only speak one will not necessarily understand people who speak the other. Mandarin is generally more adaptable since it has been used more widely in education and so there is a higher chance for Cantonese speakers to understand a Mandarin speaker. However, they can understand each other by writing in most cases.

The decision between hiring a Mandarin or Cantonese speaker will depend on the nature of the position. For example, a role’s client base combined with the frequency of spoken communications would impact on which you would require.

To sum up, Chinese has two systems for writing. Both Simplified and Traditional Chinese writers can work for most Chinese reading and writing positions. However, when it come to spoken Chinese, a candidate’s fluency in Mandarin, Cantonese or other dialects may need to be considered based on the requirements of the role.

Published by Summer Tong, Consultant - Chinese Desk

 

My 5 most beautiful but untranslatable Portuguese words.

  •  Posted on May 07, 2021  by  | No Comments

Since moving from Brazil to London and learning how to speak English, I started realising that sometimes I could not fully express myself. At first, I thought my vocabulary was lacking... and that was the case most of the time in my first year, at least! But then researching and asking around I realised some words just do not translate. You can explain the meaning with other words but that deep feeling of the word just does not come across.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a privilege of Portuguese speakers only. Back in Brazil, we adopted many English words, either for fun, marketing or simply because it would take a while to say it in Portuguese. Such as “brainstorm” or saying something is “top” to mean something good.

So here are my 5 words I wish I could translate to English:

  1. Saudade:

It's a mixture of longing for a person, place or pretty much anything in the world and nostalgia for someone or something that is no longer near or with you, whether its absence is temporary or permanent. This prominent word is used by Portuguese speakers A LOT.

Tem quase um ano que eu não vou ao Brasil e estou morrendo de saudades.

Rough translation: I haven't been to Brazil in almost a year and I'm dying of that longing feeling.

 

  • Cafuné:

The act of running your fingers through someone's hair -- yes, there's a word for that. However, this one may only resonate with Brazilian Portuguese speakers.

Eu queria que você me fizesse um cafuné.

Rough translation: I wanted you to run your fingers through my hair.

  • Cheiroso(a):

It is a word we use to call someone or something that smells good. Sounds simple enough… you could say someone “smells good”, sure! But it just misses the feeling of having that specific adjective to be an antonym of “Smelly”. It is more intimate than that, so careful when saying it to a person you are not dating!

Oi minha cheirosa.

Rough translation: Hi my ‘good-smelly’.

  • Lindeza:

Prettiness, used as a noun to describe someone or something, and even at times as a term of endearment. When speaking English, we would never call someone "prettiness" -- a "beauty" perhaps, but never the former. The two words just simply don't carry the same weight in both languages.

Que lindeza!

Rough translation: What prettiness!

  • Words ending in -inho... / words ending in -ão...

If you add -inho to the end of almost any word in Portuguese, it's essentially the English equivalent of adding "little" before it. It makes the word “cute”, and it can take the harshness away of certain words.

Me da um beijinho!

Rough translation: Give me a little kiss!

Now reverse that... If you add -ão to the end of almost any word in Portuguese, it's the English equivalent of attaching "big" before it.

Meu amorzão!

Rough translation: My big love! Or my “big boo”.

While there may be literal translations of some of these words in English, the way that they're used in Portuguese gives them their own unique meanings -- which is why we've included them here.

Published by Mariany De Lima Toniolo, Senior Consultant

 

Go back to the office, are you mad?

  •  Posted on Mar 31, 2021  by  | No Comments
Pre-covid, who didn’t dream about the flexibility of working from home five days a week? Eschewing the daily commute for more quality time with the family and/or yourself?  As lockdown eases and we look to the office return, how did those reveries pan out? The Ideal: Using the daily commute time to go for a run, read a book, gather thoughts before embarking on day ahead. The Reality: Finding the best tone on the alarm that’s not going to be too irritating on the 5th snooze. The Ideal: Leisurely, healthy breakfasts with the family discussing the day ahead. The Reality: Frantically shoving toast into mouth whilst conducting MS Teams calls and juggling laptop and a cup of tea, shoving offspring in front of TV with a bowl of coco pops “as a treat” ie the new daily routine. The Ideal: Working in a comfortable and temperate environment, no background noise, coffee on tap. The Reality: Eyeing up a growing pile of dirty cups whilst working from the kitchen for easy access to kettle. Opening and closing back door depending on whims of cat who’s loudly expressing discomfort by pretending to sound like a tortured violin. Repurposing unread books as a makeshift monitor stand whilst trying to work out whether it's your glasses or eyes that need replacing. The Ideal: Saving £££’s through not embarking on daily commute and purchasing expensive lunches. The Reality: Burning through the savings with increased childcare/food/petrol/electricity/gas costs. Weighing up whether re-mortgage possible after deciding to embark on a remodelling project incorporating new garden office as nearly 360 days within the same four walls has turned you into a budding Kevin McCloud. The Ideal Fully able to focus on work in hand with no distractions from colleagues, office politics, endless meetings. The Reality: Anxiously trying to decipher whether Jim from Accounts is having a bad day and hung up on you in a fit of pique or whether his internet connection has just dropped out. The Ideal Unwinding after a full working day, glass of wine in hand, catching up on the latest boxset. The Reality: Squeezing in a couple more emails as no, they can’t wait till tomorrow even if it may bide you some extra snooze time. Calculating whether you can put another wash on and have it hung out before midnight whilst simultaneously preparing evening meal which you hope will be fully digested by 9pm and not cause nightmares and/or gastric problems. What’s that you say? Some companies are looking to make the switch to remote working permanent? So dreams can come true, but perhaps be careful for what you wish for!