“So I message a millennial blogger I am working with. I ask her what her Skype is so we can chat and which time zone she is in. She says,’Hey I am in Cali, I have never heard of Tel Aviv and no idea where it is, so just call me at this time, my time.’ ” (Facebook post by Keren Brown)
With guests, customers and colleagues around the world, this answer is no longer acceptable. Yes, it can be challenging sometimes to coordinate meetings and communication with people on the other side of the globe but with a bit of geography and organization, you easily can get a hold of it.
What is a time zone? A time zone is a region where the same standard local time is used.
The local time within a time zone is the difference, the time offset, from the world’s time standard Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This offset is displayed as UTC- or UTC+ plus the number of hours and minutes.
Matters get a little complicated when we have to calculate in the Daylight Savings Time (DST) which is not applied at the same time (or not at all) in the various time zones.
The local time zone names are linked to a geographic landmark of the particular country or region and can be different in various regions of the same time zone. With that, different regions with the same UTC offset can have different names, such as Miami, Florida which is in Eastern Standard Time (EST) and Havana, Cuba, which is also UTC-5, with its local Cuba Standard Time (CST).
To make it more confusing, there are various identical abbreviations, such as IST – India Standard Time (UTC+5:30) vs. IST – Israel Standard Time (UTC+2).
There are also 25 military time zones, they are named after the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie…), they are used in aviation, at sea, and in communication.
There are various websites that help you get a hold of this complex topic.
My favorite website is www.timeanddate.com, it has all you need to completely understand this system (I refrain from saying “understanding time”, that would be a different post, if you like) coordinate time differences for meetings and have fun with them.
Click the map to go to the interactive time zone map
Today I read an article in the German online newspaper Die Welt on how the dictator Adolf Hitler is idealized in India for his leadership qualities and strength. Most people are not at all aware of his dark past.
Using his famous grim look with the little mustache is even a very effective lead magnet for businesses. A boutique even chose for that very reason Hitler for its brand name (complete with the swastika in the dot of the “i”). Like some other businesses that used the famous name related to German history in their brand, they had to change it after the pressure of Jewish protesters.
Using foreign names in your brand or product can get significant when market to a foreign community. Check out the history related to it and be prepared for conversations about your choices (politic isn’t such a tabu topic in other countries as it is in the US, but that’s for another post).
Often, names are chosen with the intent of giving imagery and foreign flair. Such as the Salon and Spa “Le Belle” or another with “Le Bella”, or a multi-million Dollar housing construction named “Bella Fiore”, not too far from a Florist and Event Specialist with the same name. French and Italian natives shake their heads seeing those grammatical and constructional errors in brand names. And you don’t want to compromise your expertise by such disregarding of local orthography and grammar.
Yes, you can blame it to Google Translate and its linguistic limitations but at the end, it’s your research, your brand, your money.
Fazit: Test your business and product names, check in with natives or get a professional checkup to make sure to not offend possible customers and embarrass yourself.
“Taxi drivers should learn the basics of one or two other languages in order to be able to communicate with foreign tourists.”
Earlier this year, I had shared a link on Facebook to an article about a speech at a Taxi Association division meeting. It said further “Taxi drivers are among the frontliners in the tourism industry. You should equip yourselves with basic language skills so that you can at least greet tourists and ask where they want to go in their own language.”
I couldn’t forget this article and how right it was in its saying that basics of other languages would also improve quality of their service besides helping to boost the tourism industry. It was so obvious. And I started pondering which other professions are frontliners in the tourism industry. Here is what I came up with:
City Bus Drivers
Tourism Information Center Staff
I am sure there are more…. Let us know!
Although Tourism is the fourth-largest industry in Washington, we became last year the only state in the US with no statewide tourism office and no money from the state to promote our state to travelers. The Washington Tourism Alliance was formed to coordinate state wide marketing and continue branding efforts and take over existing assets, such as Washington’s fabulous state website. We all have it now in our own hands!
Let’s all do something to help boost tourism!
Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation) is the transportation for enjoying the journey while traveling the US, as well as Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal in Canada.
Amtrak took its international approach very thorough and translated its entire content into Spanish and German language. I explored the German part and I am pretty sure that the Spanish is of equal excellence:
Portal (to the various languages): When arriving at www.amtrak.com, you clearly can see the links in the native language ‘Español‘ and ‘Deutsch‘ written vs. the sometimes ambiguous flags that are used to indicate a foreign language page.
Images: Images with text are translated, special offer picture ads, even the search button are translated for the German visitor. It gives the whole website a very integrated look and feel.
Customer Service: The German traveler finds all info on individual Amtrak stations, can search for current special offers, latest information on critical issues (such as swine flu), and use the reservation system in its native language. Amtrak provides an interactive map to search routes and plan trips which is in English, yet it is acceptable because the search goes via an image map of the US or by station and region names. And in case German visitors don’t find an answer in the question and answer section of the website, they can go to the contact page and submit their request… the answer they receive will be in German.