Surely in your work, or simply communicating with foreigners at least once a similar situation arose. Some use words or phrases that you do not know or speak with an accent, you do not understand. How to solve the problem on your own? Here are some tips.
In the world of international business, most of us are used to communicate with people who have a variety of linguistic knowledge. Communication with native (native speakers) and non-native speakers (non-native speakers) can be extremely difficult at times. Carriers often speak quickly and use idiomatic language (idiomatic language), which are not familiar to people learning English. And often we do not know what to do in such a case.
Here, for example, the dialogue between Colin, a native speaker from the UK, and Thomas, his Austrian colleague:
Colin: Remember that tender we’ve applied for? I’m afraid we’ve come up against a brick wall.
Tomas: A brick wall?
Colin: Yes. That tender manager, Jones, or whatever his name is, he’s so hard-nosed.
Colin: Yes. Bloody-minded. Pig-headed. To put it in a nutshell: we got turned down flat.
Tomas: Eh ??!
Colin: Do you remember the tender, for which we have applied? I’m afraid we have reached an impasse (letters. «Faced a brick wall»).
Thomas: a brick wall?
Colin: Yes. The head of the tender, Jones, or whatever his name is, he is unyielding (letters. «Tverdonosy»).
Colin: Yes, he is bloodthirsty (the letters. «With a bloody mind»), stubborn (letters. «Svinogolovy»). In a word (always with you. «In a nutshell»): We categorically denied (the letters. «We put flat»).
Thomas: What ??! (please repeat the above)
As you can see, Thomas has no idea (has no idea), what says Colin. But rather than stop him and asked him to explain it allows him to speak further and further. And what I had to say instead? Here are a few useful phrases:
Sorry to interrupt, but I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to tell me. — Excuse me for interrupting, but I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to tell me.
I’m a bit confused. Would you mind explaining that? — I’m a little confused. Could you explain to me?
Sorry. What does «hard-nosed» mean? — Excuse me, that means «hard-nosed»?
Please note that these proposals contain the softening words like sorry (sorry), a bit (a little), not quite (not quite, not quite). This is a good way to specify unpleasant facts without aggression.
Accents, difficult to understand
The situation changes slightly if the other person — not a native speaker (a non-native speaker) or speaks with a local accent (a regional accent). You may need a little time to understand his pronunciation (pronunciation). Here are some polite way to ask for help (polite ways of asking for help):
Sorry, could you repeat that, please? — Sorry, could you repeat that?
Pardon (me)? — I beg your pardon! Excuse me)?
If the problem persists, you may have to take the blame for problems in communicating over:
I’m afraid my English is not very good. Could you say that again more slowly, please? — I’m afraid my English is not very good. Could you repeat that slowly?
If that does not work, you can ask:
Could you write that down for me, please? — Could you write it for me?
Sorry, I did not understand that word. Could you spell it for me, please? — Sorry, I did not understand a word. Can you pronounce it for me to spell?
We ask and confirm
When you are not quite sure of the correctness of the information received, very good method helps peresprashivaniya or requests to confirm heard. For example:
To make sure that I have not misunderstood anything: was the answer yes or no? — To be sure, all I understood correctly: the answer was «yes» or «no»?
So, in other words, are you saying that they said no? — So in other words, you are saying that they said «no»?
Does that mean that you did not get the job? — It means you did not get a job?
I hope that these simple, but sometimes essential phrases will be a pleasant discovery for you and help you in solving any problems communicating with foreigners at work, and just in everyday life.