Heheh….gotcha if you are reading this! This expression, while construed to mean being expressedly rude to someone to the point of vulgarity; is not the subject of this post. We are talking about communication. And nowhere is this most felt in the areas of commerce and travel.
We don’t meet foreign folks in our midst every now and then if one lives in your home country. But for those who are traipsing around the world or have to work with folks from outside of your country via phone, video or email, then sometimes you may inadvertently give a finger to someone…huh?
You should know about not giving the thumbs up sign just about anywhere (like in a broad swathe of the middle east some say). So it should not surprise you that some of the gestures that you use when traveling about the world could be offensive to someone, somewhere…But of course it wasn’t just the accidental rude gestures that were the concern.
Rather, it is the miscommunication that happens because you ask for one thing and receive another. Even technology has its limits. Remember we wrote about it here? Here’s an example of how some cultures will try to go out of their way in an attemtp to reduce confusion : someone in Japan came up with the following signs for English speakers (read here). Not sure if that will add fat to the fire though…
Mel recalls many years back his father ordered some dishes at a restaurant when visiting him in China. He had expected some chicken dishes to be served. But it turns out all of the dishes were vegetables! LOL. You see, the names that the restaurant gave to the dishes were “flowery”, ie literary and not literal…for those with a little in-depth knowledge of the Chinese language.
We read of folks who tout the benefits of at least learning some local tongues when traveling. Do you attempt to learn some? Or is Google translate your friend when in need?