Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lost In Translation

Recently I received an email that in its brevity made me question the emotion of the sender. Was this person angry with me? Hostile? Were they being funny or coy? Was I reading into the message something that wasn't really there at all?

In our busy communications, especially via emails, text messages and voicemails, things are often lost in translation and difficult to manage emotionally. Especially when business relationships (and personal) may hinge on individual words or commitments.

The devastating affects of this "lost in translation" reality became quite clear when I was in California and happened to drive passed a restaurant whose name compelled a mixed physical response - the name of the eating establishment? Phuket Thai. (pronounced like an American - "puke at thai?")

Obviously the owner of the restaurant WANTS business. WANTS people to come hungry. WANTS people to enjoy the food. WANTS people to remember the restaurant name. However, what is lost in translation may create a damaging gap in his business that he didn't see coming.

Trust me when I say, I have created huge gaps by some of my own blunderous, nausea-inspiring mis-communications. Unintentionally I have hurt people. I speak sadly as an individual with scars from the shrapnel of my own email fallout.

From my heart to yours, from someone who has often created huge communication disasters . . . if corresponce is significant, read your message from the receiver's perspective so as to accurately illicit the most positive response.

What can be lost in translation might tragically be what we want most.