Getting the words right


Google’s new Pixel Buds headphones might feature real-time translation, but it’s not always the translation that’s the problem, but the interpretation. How do you explain ‘cash cow’ to a native Polish speaker, or ‘on the ball’ to a Russian?

A Warwickshire company is coaching overseas executives the subtleties of the English language to help them in their working lives.

Williams and Cooper, run by Melodie Williams and Nicky Cooper, has received support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce through the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme.

The company, is looking to expand its client-base which already includes a range of small and medium-sized businesses as well as BMW, Arup and Hewlett Packard.

Melodie said: “People may have a good technical understanding of English but that doesn’t always mean they understand the culture or the nuance of language. And, as a nation, we don’t always say what we mean.

“If you are a native English speaker, you will very often understand the subtlety and the culture of your working environment. If you are not, you can take things very literally.”

Helena Bassett, a business adviser at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “With a huge skills gap, more companies are having to tap into the overseas market when it comes to recruitment.

“Having English on your CV is one thing, but being able to cope with all the different slang and subtle phrases is very different.”