EnglishBusiness AG – We expand your global reach https://www.englishbusiness.com Tue, 08 Jun 2021 09:55:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 How to evaluate English levels for business https://www.englishbusiness.com/blog/how-to-evaluate-english-levels/ Tue, 08 Jun 2021 07:59:27 +0000 https://www.englishbusiness.com/?p=9206 Der Beitrag How to evaluate English levels for business erschien zuerst auf EnglishBusiness AG - We expand your global reach.


How to evaluate English levels for business

You want to know how good your English is? So do we! But we’re not just interested in your level of language proficiency. Knowing your expectations, goals, role in the company and language level helps our trainers to target the session at your needs and to equip you with easily applicable skills that translate to your day-to-day responsibilities. So, how does a language evaluation work?

English language levels

Photo credit: Sander Crombach

Why do we conduct evaluations with all new students?

The short answer is that evaluations help us provide a better service to you and your team. However, there are four more specific reasons why we like to meet attendees before the first session.

1. Consistent language levels across the group

Getting to know participants ahead of time is particularly relevant for group courses. We want to make sure that the group has a homogenous language level. This prevents some participants being under-challenged and others being overwhelmed. Consistency in language proficiency ensures the lesson material can be chosen appropriately.

2. Creating groups by goals and topics

Matching individual learners to form a group goes beyond English skills. The requirements of people’s roles in the company are another important factor. It makes a huge difference whether someone needs to learn industry-specific vocabulary and business phrases in a short space of time or wants to practise small talk and keep their speaking skills active over a longer timeframe. Meeting the expectations of these two participants would be impossible if they were in the same group – even at the same language level.

3. Choose the perfect trainer

Choosing the right trainer is as important as the composition of the group. We know that the character, teaching style and experience of the trainer are vital to the success of the course. In getting to know the participants a little, we are better able to match them with a trainer. Do they need a more traditional or innovative teaching style? Is the professional background of the trainer important? Is British or American English more relevant?

4. Create a briefing for the trainer

Finally, we use the evaluations to give our trainers a comprehensive briefing before the course starts. They’re given information about the level of the group, the general needs of the participants and any relevant comments about their motivation or previous history learning English. This allows them to go into the first lesson with a level-appropriate plan and build rapport with the group.

An additional bonus is that we are aware of participants’ scheduling requirements and therefore support HR in finding an appointment which works for everyone.

What happens during a language evaluation at EnglishBusiness?

We schedule a 20–30-minute call with each participant. These days we prefer to set up a video call, but pre-Covid we would often come to your office to do the talks in person or simply conduct them over the phone. The evaluation is held by a native speaker – either one of the EnglishBusiness team, or the trainer who will be teaching the course (if we’ve already chosen someone).

Some people are nervous at the start of the evaluation, but there is no need to be. For the participant, the evaluation is a short conversation in English – we just want to you speak 😊 We’ll ask some questions about your job and responsibilities, your needs and expectations of the course, and some more general questions, perhaps about your hobbies or hometown. The evaluator will take some notes and pay attention to any difficulties in understanding, grammar mistakes and general fluency in order to assign a level at the end.

What levelling system to use for English proficiency

We use the CEFR (Common European Framework Reference) as a basis. The CEFR organises language proficiency in six levels, A1 to C2, which can be regrouped into three broad levels:

  • Basic User
  • Independent User
  • Proficient User

We at EnglishBusiness further break each of the six bands into three sub-levels for more accuracy.

Our language evaluations focus on the speaking and listening comprehension level. Should we need a more thorough analysis of written comprehension, we would need to add an extra element. However, we’ve found that for the purposes of corporate language courses and seminars, a written assessment is usually not necessary. Most of our clients want support in improving their spoken English, rather than written accuracy.

Do we conduct evaluations for all your courses?

We evaluate the English levels for all weekly group courses and single classes. However, there is no evaluation for our CompactMINIs as the short, interactive nature of these seminars allows everyone to gain fluency practice even with varying levels of proficiency.

Our communication skills seminars also require an evaluation. However, these only confirm whether the minimum English level of B2 is achieved and focus on more detailed questions about the participants’ expectations and any specific challenges relating to the type of seminar booked.

For example, if an international presentation skills seminar has been booked, we’ll ask about the participant’s experience of presenting in general, where they feel their strengths and weaknesses lie, whether their presentations are to native or non-native speakers, whether they’ve attended a presentations seminar before (in German or English), etc.

We are also able to give the participant information about the format of the seminar and answer any open questions they might have.

How can I get my English levels evaluated?

If you book a course or seminar with EnglishBusiness, the evaluation is included. Of course, evaluations can also be booked independently. The best way forward is to contact us for a consultation and we will find the best solution for you and your team!

This post was written by

Laura Blackburn

Laura Blackburn

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How do you translate an annual report? https://www.englishbusiness.com/blog/annual-report-translations/ Mon, 17 May 2021 10:34:21 +0000 https://www.englishbusiness.com/?p=9129 Der Beitrag How do you translate an annual report? erschien zuerst auf EnglishBusiness AG - We expand your global reach.


How do you translate an annual report?

The beginning of the year is the busiest time for us at EnglishBusiness; every January, we begin translating the annual reports of numerous listed companies. This challenge carries a great deal of responsibility. The annual report provides details on the financial standing and performance of the company: this is valuable information that must be treated confidentially until publication, but will then be read by shareholders, journalists or employees all over the world. What do our language experts do to translate an annual report perfectly?

Annual report


First of all: Why should annual reports be translated?

The annual report is the public face of a company. Listed German companies have long been of interest to people who don’t speak German. A high-quality translation helps to better address international shareholders and other stakeholders such as employees, customers and the media.

What should you pay attention to when translating an annual report?

An annual report is an extensive project with tight deadlines and many updates. It’s worth it to plan the processes in detail ahead of time and to include time to communicate with all the people involved. At EnglishBusiness, project managers take care of the communication and planning so that the translators can focus on the texts.

Annual reports follow partly binding regulations such as the IFRS and the ESEF. Project managers and language experts must therefore be familiar with requirements regarding terminology, format and structure.

Due to the confidential nature of the content, data security is also an important topic. At EnglishBusiness, data is only sent in an encrypted form and specific linguistic resources are set up for each company. The safety of our processes earned us ISO 17100 certification. We also comply with the specifications of the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) regarding insider information.

The translation begins with the customer briefing

Before we can get started on the actual job, we need more specifications from the customer.

  • Should we translate into British or American English?
  • Do official standards such as IFRS, GCG or GAAP apply?
  • Are there particular requests regarding the presentation of numbers and units?
  • Is there a particular style, specific terminology or general corporate wording preferred by the company?

Setting up and updating resources

Aside from individual linguistic and technical skills, our resources are our best guarantee of quality. They ensure greater consistency of tone and terminology. We set up the resources for each customer individually so that we can precisely implement their requests and specifications and provide more data security. The longer we work with a company, the more the data improves, allowing translators to work faster and more accurately.

But which resources do we actually use?

Translation memory:

The translation memory stores all of a company’s translations in a specific language combination. Texts are broken down into small units called segments that usually correspond to one sentence. When our editors review and approve a translated segment, it is simultaneously saved into the translation memory. If a segment is similar to a previously approved one, the translation is automatically suggested to the translator. This allows the translator to use the approved segment as a template, and the customer’s corporate language remains uniform.

When translating annual reports, it is particularly helpful to save the previous year’s report including the translation in the translation memory. This ensures uniform corporate language and streamlines the translation process since time-consuming manual research into previous years’ publications is no longer necessary.

Terminology databases:

Term bases act as dictionaries that are integrated in the translation software. They ensure that the terminology is uniform and reduce search time as well as typing errors. We primarily include technical terms, company-specific terminology and commonly used words in our term bases.

Style sheet:

The style sheet contains all the information from the customer briefing as well as updates that result from our continuous collaboration with existing customers. In addition to stylistic preferences, this is the place where requirements specific to different types of texts are recorded. Style sheets allow translators to brief themselves before they start the job.

Translation by specially trained native speakers

Our project management system now passes the annual report and style sheet along to the translator. The translation software – we work with market leader Trados Studio – breaks the text down into segments, and the resources are integrated.

A good translation is contextually accurate, linguistically impeccable, and reads as though it were written in the target language. This is a demanding task. We thus only entrust our texts to native speakers of the target language who have relevant experience in the translation of financial publications and corporate reports.

Review by in-house editors

Even the best specialist translators make mistakes from time to time: all translations are therefore edited by our in-house team. Our colleagues are familiar with the specifics of our customers, and they regularly undergo training in accounting standards and in the subtleties of British and American English.

Updates, feedback and revision requests

EnglishBusiness stands out in particular through its extensive communication with customers. This allows us to react quickly to updates, feedback and revision requests. Our team often provides advice on style and grammar, though content modification is also common – especially during the pandemic.

Publication: the end of one annual report is the beginning of the next one

Financial translations

Following publication of all the annual reports, the entire team can breathe a proud sigh of relief. The finished reports are also a valuable resource, however.

We are always glad to arrange follow-up conversations with clients. This helps both parties improve reports – crucial elements of a company’s public image – from year to year.

And what about machine translation?

People who are familiar with the translation industry might ask themselves why we don’t use machine translation. We at EnglishBusiness and our clients all have such high linguistic standards that post-editing machine translations would be more time-consuming than human translation of annual reports using our proven resources. However, we follow the topic with interest, and regularly reassess and evaluate our position.

The perfect translation of an annual report begins with a consultation

Contact our experts early on and let us advise you on specialist translations and your corporate language!

This post was written by

Marlen Schrader

Marlen Schrader

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How to network in a 3D virtual world https://www.englishbusiness.com/blog/virtual-networking/ Tue, 11 May 2021 08:19:47 +0000 https://www.englishbusiness.com/?p=9080 Der Beitrag How to network in a 3D virtual world erschien zuerst auf EnglishBusiness AG - We expand your global reach.


How to network in a 3D virtual world

What happens when a virtual language industry conference meets a 3D online gaming experience? From 15 to 16 April 2021, the EUATC’s T-Update21 presented an innovative approach to a more personal networking experience online. EnglishBusiness’ Marlen Schrader was an ambassador to the event; she tells us about her most unusual online conference yet.

Virtual networking

During the pandemic, we have all grown accustomed to attending webinars, video calls and virtual conferences instead of meeting in person and travelling for conferences.

Most of these virtual formats work well for sharing knowledge, but networking proves to be more difficult in a virtual setting. Meeting new people or bumping into old friends while getting coffee is an essential part of networking events that is hard to replicate online.

Even with breakout rooms and scheduled one-on-one meetings, the social interaction feels a bit more distant, and serendipitously meeting your next client or business partner seems less likely.

But that was before the T-Update21 virtual conference.

The EUATC’s (EU Association of Translation Companies) annual language industry event used a completely different setup to tackle the networking dilemma, and it was by far the best virtual networking experience I have had so far.

The language industry meets online gaming

T-update took place in a virtual world that reminded me of a ‘90s computer game. It came with two main stages, several booths, an executive lounge with restricted access, and a maze to wander through if you needed a little break to reflect.

The event also had yoga and meditation breaks to help you recharge. Even if you’re not a gamer at heart, being able to walk and fly around the conference world, passing other avatars and being able to spontaneously join their conversation in a chat zone is a big difference from just clicking on a breakout room or speed typing in chat rooms.

Video calls between participants started automatically in dedicated chat zones so you weren’t just speaking to an avatar but were able to connect faces and names.

Interacting through avatars

The selection of avatars ranged from wearers of classic business attire to ninjas and cyborgs. Each avatar had a set of moves to enhance interaction. You could give a round of applause or smile and wave at someone; there were even various dance moves that came in handy at the after-show party. That’s right: there was a party with lots of dancing, networking opportunities, and good music.

T-Update21 app

The conference also came with a dedicated app that allowed you to stream all sessions without entering the virtual conference world and to join from your phone. The profiles of all participants, as well as opening discussion groups were accessible through the app; you could also send questions to speakers and the organising team.

The amount of technology might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but having an app available to take notes and get additional information was a real benefit.

How to survive a 3-day virtual conference

  • Give yourself time to set up
    Schedule time to install and test the program before the event starts. A 3D virtual world with several hundred attendants requires elaborate software and there are bound to be updates shortly before the conference starts.
  • Join the practice round
    If there is a guided tour or pre-conference sneak peak, attend it! You’ll get detailed insights and lots of beneficial tips and tricks. You don’t want to start your conference struggling with technology.
  • Don’t worry; everyone walks into virtual trees
    Don’t be frustrated by little mishaps. You will run into a virtual wall or a tree at some point. It happens to everyone (I am speaking from first-hand experience here).
  • Organise your schedule ahead of time
    Being interactive and engaged at an event takes planning! Familiarise yourself with the venue and plan your schedule ahead of time. As with real world conferences, you need to know which stage or booth to go to next and where to find it.
  • Try all the features
    Make use of the conference app to connect with people, join discussion groups, and schedule meetings during or after the conference.
  • Say hi to strangers!
    Don’t be shy! If you send a chat message to the wrong person, you have a chance to make a new contact. You would start a conversation with a stranger in a real-world conference setting, so why not do the same in a virtual world?

Next steps

Looking to stay up-to-date and connected in the translation industry? We recommend signing up for Meet Central Europe. We might see you there!

You want to organise your own event or workshop? EnglishBusiness has years of experience with facilitating networking and teambuilding events, so get in touch and find out how we can help you!

This post was written by

Marlen Schrader

Marlen Schrader

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Laura Blackburn on the digital trends in learning and development https://www.englishbusiness.com/blog/trends-in-learning-and-development/ Tue, 27 Apr 2021 15:51:35 +0000 https://www.englishbusiness.com/?p=9047 Der Beitrag Laura Blackburn on the digital trends in learning and development erschien zuerst auf EnglishBusiness AG - We expand your global reach.


Laura Blackburn on the digital trends in learning and development

The learning and development industry is evolving at a rapid pace, supercharged by a global pandemic. Our Business Development Manager, Laura Blackburn, stays ahead of the curve by attending conferences such as the LEARNTEC xChange. Read on to find out about all the new tricks, tools and trends!

Virtual learning

Can you give us a short summary what LEARNTEC xChange is and what you enjoyed most about it?

The LEARNTEC xChange was an event over three days comprising webinars, online lectures and discussion rounds on topics surrounding the digitalisation of the learning and working world. In the past, we have attended the LEARNTEC in Karlsruhe and were happy to discover this event as a digital alternative.

I enjoyed the variety of talks available and getting inspiration from forward-thinking experts.

How do you rate the virtual conference format compared to in-person events?

The digital platform was one of the best I’ve experienced so far. The webinars ran smoothly, and each session was well moderated. Questions from the audience were integrated and made the sessions more interactive – arguably even more so than the in-person events.

It is also more accessible to attend from the comfort of my home! Of course, recreating the networking experience is a real challenge. The ‘get together’ sessions provided a good alternative to small discussions and guests were able to reach out to each other and set up meetings.

3 trends in learning and development

  • Learning is becoming more self-determined and informal
  • Access to learning has improved, levelling the playing field
  • Content curation will be a priority as the offering is becoming increasingly overwhelming

What are the skills that companies are trying to build in 2021?

Self-organisation, meta-skills, digital competency and a philosophy of limitless learning. The Next Skills Profiles identifies classic skills such as communication and cooperation competences as remaining as important as ever, now paired with digital literacy and the ability to reflect and project.

How has COVID-19 impacted the learning landscape?

The obvious answer is that COVID-19 has accelerated the move to virtual solutions. However, the true fall-out won’t be known until the pandemic is over. I believe a large amount of training will remain virtual going forward. The surge in E-Learning services and their relative success (from current statistics) shows that such solutions are popular, above all for their flexibility and variety. I think there are very few negative sides to this – more access to learning can only be a good thing! Having said that, some training – especially intercultural or soft-skills – will always be preferable in-person and will return when it’s safe. But they’ll remain the exception (and need to be exceptional!).

Online learning

How will the role of trainers change in the future?

Face-to-face training will be something of a special occasion and therefore the facilitation of these sessions will need to be high-quality. Trainers holding virtual classes will first and foremost need to be able to move with the times and adapt to demand. Additionally, they’ll have to be prepared to work harder to keep their participants’ attention and add real value to their learning experience. There are so many digital tools to supplement the virtual classroom, but the key will be finding a couple that align with learning goals and support the learners. In our business specifically, we’re teaching (English) business skills, and this means understanding the challenges our clients have in their daily business lives. If they’re doing all their business virtually, our trainers need to grasp what that means and be able to bring those skills to the lessons.

Did you come across any new learning or teaching software that you’d like to implement at EnglishBusiness?

We’ve highlighted MIRO as key software for our seminars and have been working hard on implementing this wherever it adds value. A main pillar of our seminars is collaborative interactivity, and it has been important for us to find a tool which lets us recreate as much of the live experience as possible.

Internally we also moved to Microsoft Teams just before the pandemic hit and have been discovering a lot of new tools within the Microsoft universe. For example, we’re experimenting with creating a social learning space for our freelance colleagues within this – a place where we can make training materials available to them and encourage further development, but they can also exchange tips and materials amongst themselves. This is something we’ve always done live in monthly meetings until now.

One of EnglishBusiness’ areas of focus is cross-cultural communication. How relevant is this skill today?

More relevant than ever! Not only are we seeing with increased remote teams that our colleagues and clients can be located anywhere in the world, adding complexities to our interactions, but for us at EnglishBusiness, ‘cross-cultural’ doesn’t strictly mean ‘cross-national’. Our individual culture and thereby the way we behave is shaped by a wide variety of influences. It’s about opening up the dialogue to better understand your team. Teams are dynamic, people are complex and successful communication is a lifelong study – I can’t imagine a scenario where this wouldn’t be a vital skill! This is one of the reasons our Cross-Cultural Simulation remains so popular as a team-building activity, whether with international teams or not – unfortunately we haven’t quite figured out how to hold this virtually yet but watch this space!

You have recently transitioned form Head of Learning & Development to Business Development Manager. What are your goals and challenges in the new role?

EnglishBusiness has, like many small companies, had a bit of a bumpy year due to COVID-19. A major challenge for all of us and particularly someone starting out in a business development role under these conditions, like myself, will be to keep long-term clients onboard while winning new contracts in an industry which has shifted immensely.

Apps and E-Learning can build a great foundation, but we’re convinced that human-to-human interaction still provides one of the best learning experiences and that’s where our expertise lies.

Suddenly, our competitors are not only primarily Hamburg-based language and soft skills providers, but also include tech companies spread worldwide. EnglishBusiness sees value in keeping the human element to training; apps and E-Learning can build a great foundation, but we’re convinced that human-to-human interaction still provides one of the best learning experiences and that’s where our expertise lies. A big goal for me is to find my voice within the role – I’ve been in the industry for almost 10 years (!) and I know EnglishBusiness, its clients, the trainers and our products inside out. Now, the goal is finding the best way for me to share this knowledge with decision makers.

One thing I’ve enjoyed thus far has been the relative ease with which I can meet new contacts through video calls – much nicer than a phone call and less organisation than a visit. Of course, it would be great in future to be able catch up over coffee again!

How does attending a conference like LEARNTEC xChange help you in your daily work?

Inspiration! Sitting at my desk (at home by myself due to COVID-19) and checking things quietly off my to-do list, it’s quite easy to forget that we work as one small part of a huge industry, full of companies passionate about learning and development. Attending conferences and trade fairs is a reminder that things are constantly moving and is a great motivator. Also, being able to see innovative solutions and developments within learning and seeing how things are being done at other companies is a great way of finding small things that can be adjusted within my own role or in the company. There’s also the opportunity for networking with peers and of course it’s a bonus if we manage to get some new business out of attending, too!

What new products is EnglishBusiness working on?

Our focus in the past year has been on adapting our current courses to the digital sphere and helping our trainers get comfortable using new software. Our language and skills seminars run over 2 full days when held face-to-face. We know that in a virtual setting this isn’t practicable, nor is it going to get the best results. Therefore, we’ve broken down the sessions into shorter chunks and supplemented them with offline activities where applicable. This has proven popular and as an additional bonus allows for participation of colleagues across time-zones.

We’ve also started offering a 60-minute unit for one-on-one classes. In speaking with our clients and trainers, we’ve recognised that virtually this works well for the client, and as the trainer saves on travel time, it also allows them to be more flexible.

One completely new product we have added to our portfolio is an online writing module. Teaching writing skills in a classroom, face-to-face or virtual, is often not the best use of contact time. This package allows learners to work in their own time on written tasks common in business correspondence, with suggested phrasing and model answers for comparison. Arranging a meeting or answering a customer enquiry, for example. We believe this complements our current products nicely and provides an option for anyone who struggles mainly with written communication.

Do you have a question for Laura? Get in touch to discuss how you and your team can keep learning!

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One year of the coronavirus: what we’ve learned, and what we expect for 2021 by Andreas Ollmann https://www.englishbusiness.com/blog/coronavirus-andreas-ollmann/ Mon, 29 Mar 2021 14:53:25 +0000 https://www.englishbusiness.com/?p=9023 Der Beitrag One year of the coronavirus: what we’ve learned, and what we expect for 2021 by Andreas Ollmann erschien zuerst auf EnglishBusiness AG - We expand your global reach.


One year of the coronavirus: what we’ve learned, and what we expect for 2021

This is a guestpost by Andreas Ollmann originally published in German on LinkedIn and translated by EnglishBusiness

On Friday, 13 March 2020, we in the Ministry Group spent our last workday together in our agency offices. Due to the increasingly dire coronavirus situation, we decided that if possible, we would not meet in the office for the time being starting the following Monday. The official notification from Berlin came in over the weekend. This means we’ve been working from home for exactly one year, and we’ve learned a lot during this period of time. To mark the one-year anniversary on 16 March, we want to look back – and also to look forward.

Andreas Ollmann quote

“What remains: working from home and digital workshops. What follows are new concepts, new rules, transparency.”
– Andreas Ollmann

To begin with, we have already been working in the cloud for a decade. We were among the first Google Apps for Business customers (later G Suite and now Google Workspace) in Germany, and we have enabled every single workstation to be mobile for years. We have also had trust-based working hours and completely flexible work-from-home arrangements for years. Anyone can work from home at any time if they coordinate with the team. We even had one team with a member who moved from Hamburg to Bielefeld: they worked together every day as though the person were on site.

First realisation: the office is more than a workstation

As far as work processes were concerned, we had no logistical, technical or cultural problems, and were able to continue working without a hitch. The entire project business in the Ministry Group’s communications and software division continued quite smoothly. What we did notice very quickly, however, was that an office serves other purposes than just as a place to sit in front of a computer. And we don’t mean that you can quickly call out to somebody across the desk. Quite the opposite: that behaviour is a sign of poor communication, and nobody misses it.

No, it’s more about the many little bits of social exchange that make a team a team: the meetups at the water cooler, the coffee machine or the stairwell, or while people are cooking and eating together in the kitchen. Our initial idea was to come up with a replacement for these places of social exchange – a virtual coffee machine or a virtual water cooler. Quite quickly, we made appointments with each other for “coffee drinking” or “walking”. These were very deliberately not in the name of “efficiency” but rather in support of team cohesion.

Ministry Group Kitchen

Would our brand workshops, Design Sprints and Learning Journeys also function remotely?

The next thing we asked ourselves was how we could best deal with our “official” appointments. We have a number of them: brand workshops with customers, Design Sprints, and Learning Journeys – mini-conferences in which we gather inspiration for our own transformation and process it in workshops. After it became clear that we would not return to the “old normal” in a few weeks, we looked for tools and principles that would allow us to hold these events online in a way that was just as valuable as when we did them offline.

Today we can say that, while there were certain start-up difficulties, all these formats now take place virtually with no trouble at all. All the necessary tools are also available in very good quality online. Naturally, the meetings have to be moderated differently, and they require completely different time management, but we have organised so many workshops over the past twelve months that we can carry them out in any form quite easily now.

One thing we still think is wonderful is that in principle, many more people can participate in online than offline workshops. One example: normally our Learning Journeys are restricted to ten participants at most so that they can collaborate efficiently in the workshop portion – for instance, in a Lean Coffee format. We painlessly organised more than 20 of these journeys for one Berlin customer. When so many people are sticking Post-it notes on a board at the same time, it has to be virtual. Another great thing is that we save all the travel costs and effort. This makes it possible to get inspirational people on board who would not be able to come to a “real-life” meeting due to the travel expense.

How can events that focus on an exchange of ideas and networking take place online?

Our next challenge was that before the virus hit, we organised various regular business events. We normally invite guests to come to us and discuss their digital transformation with us at our in-house bar. We call these events “fireside chats”. We also organise the New Work Future conference once a year, which brings together about 60 people over two days to engage in intensive discussions about new ways of working.

Ministry Group Beer

We tried out the fireside chats in several variations as Zoom conferences, and we must say: it’s hard to compete with standing together at a bar and talking about an inspiring lecture face to face. We’re going to start this format up again once personal meetings are possible. And the New Work Future conference? It also mainly consists of personal interactions on site. In 2020, we organised New Work Future completely online. This meant we had to rethink everything: the process, the programme, the number of days, the length of the slots, the interaction spaces. As a result, the conference was spread out over four months.

New Work Future Andreas Ollmann

We spread our Motivation Day out over two days in June with shortened inspirational talks, a lot of breaks, and breakout rooms for small group discussions. We moved Interaction Day to the autumn and met in short monthly meetings during the time in between, so that we could support each other throughout the crazy corona summer. We received very positive feedback from participants: Inga Höltmann from Accelerate Academy assured us that New Work Future was the best event she attended in 2020. That makes us very proud. Nonetheless, this year we’re aiming for personal on-site interaction once more, and we want to hold NWF21 here at our place in Hamburg in September.

What remains: working from home and digital workshops are fixed components

Which brings us to our outlook: how will the way we work change in 2021 and beyond? Working from home will continue to be a fixed component. We have all seen that we can concentrate on certain tasks at home much better than we ever could in the office. (Especially if we don’t need to school children at home “on the side”.) We appreciate how well professional work and family life can be connected. But we have also seen how valuable it is to be together in one room during certain processes.

So we know that, while we won’t be working from home all the time, we won’t stop doing it either. That wasn’t how we did it before, and it’s not necessary now. Working from home will continue to play an essential role. For this reason, we are currently working on a concept for how to really use our company’s beautiful 200-year-old building in post-corona times. We no longer need all the office space if a number of us will always be working from home. We have therefore decided to make the building a “shared household” where we “live” together with complementary companies or freelancers from our ecosystem. Our large kitchen, garden, bar and lounge, and the basement party room will certainly help.

Ministry Group Garden

Another thing we’ll keep is digital workshops. As previously mentioned, working together by meeting in person and on-site is without a doubt our preferred version. However, with some projects this can be difficult, for reasons of time or for personal or logistical reasons. In these cases, we and our customers all benefit from remaining flexible, and from being able to switch seamlessly to the virtual version if needed – no matter the subject. With the necessary tools and the corresponding experience up our sleeves, this work method provides us with wonderful new opportunities.

What follows are new concepts, new rules, transparency

We are currently working on concepts for the creation of “workspaces for all ways of working” rather than “workstations for all workers”, because when you go to the office, you frequently no longer need a desk. Instead, workshop spaces for co-creation are called for, with the option to quickly send a few emails on your laptop or tablet now and then. Of course there need to be concentration zones, but it’s not essential that “your desk” be in them – any desk will do.

Ministry Group fireplace

It’s very important that we regulate how we decide who can work where when. We need transparency about how the decisions currently stand, and we need to negotiate these regulations. We currently find ourselves in the midst of an exciting process.

Incidentally, we are also happy to help other organisations based on our experiences. If we can introduce our ideas and the things we’ve learned over the past year to you in workshops, events or Design Sprints – or if you’d like to hear our observations about the digital transformation of brands and organisations – we’d be delighted to hear from you!

About the author

Andreas Ollmann is the founder and Managing Director of the Ministry Group, a group of communication, new work and IT consultancies. He is a thought leader on Business Transformation for the 21st century with a focus on technology, communication and organisational development.

If you enjoyed reading this translation by the EnglishBusiness editors, why not contact our consultants and find out what we can do for you?

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Our 12 favourite TED Talks on communication, culture and leadership https://www.englishbusiness.com/blog/our-12-favourite-ted-talks-on-communication-culture-and-leadership/ Tue, 16 Mar 2021 08:47:41 +0000 https://www.englishbusiness.com/?p=9003 Der Beitrag Our 12 favourite TED Talks on communication, culture and leadership erschien zuerst auf EnglishBusiness AG - We expand your global reach.


Our 12 favourite TED Talks on communication, culture and leadership

TED Talks are an easy way to get inspiration, entertainment and education. In lieu of physical events, we decided to have a look back at our favourite talks on leadership, cultural awareness and communication. Analysing TED Talks also happens to be a great way to work on your own presentation skills!

TED Talks

Photo credit: Bogomil Mihaylov

Speaker: Derek Sivers is an entrepreneur, author and musician. He is known as the founder of CD Baby and for his books and speeches on starting businesses and decision-making.

Date and location: TED2010, United States, February 2010

Why we like the talk: The great thing about Derek Sivers is that he can inspire and convince you in the length of a pop song. Using a seemingly silly dancing video, Sivers debunks the glorification of leadership in a talk that is entertaining and disarmingly simple.

Surprising takeaway: Leadership is over-glorified. If you want to start a movement, show others how to follow.

Why I, as a black man, attend KKK rallies

Speaker: Daryl Davis is an R&B and blues musician, author and activist. He has played with Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, but is mostly known for engaging with members of the Ku Klux Klan to improve race relations.

Date and location: TEDxNaperville, United States, November 2017

Why we like the talk: How can you hate me when you don’t even know me? In trying to answer this question, Daryl Davis faced racism head-on and with an open heart. His story of befriending an Imperial Wizard of the KKK as a Black man seems so unlikely, it’s hard to believe. But Davis has the evidence and shows us the power and the importance of listening to our adversaries.

Surprising takeaway: You can respect people you don’t agree with (maybe not a surprising insight, but one that is underutilised).

Perspective is everything

Speaker: Rory Sutherland is Vice Chairman of the Ogilvy & Mather Group, one of the world’s most renowned ad agencies.

Date and location: TEDxAthens, Greece, December 2011

Why we like the talk: Rory Sutherland argues convincingly that facts are not as important as our perspective on them. The power of reframing affects not only advertising and sales, but communication and even thinking in general. Thinking not only about amounts, but also about meaning, will open up better solutions in many areas such as the food industry, traffic and maybe even unemployment.

Surprising takeaway: There are psychological solutions to factual problems.

Your body language may shape who you are

Speaker: Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist, author and speaker known for promoting the self-improvement technique of power posing.

Date and location: TEDGlobal 2012, Scotland, June 2012

Why we like the talk: This is an empowering talk that gives simple and accessible tools to anyone who wants to feel more confident and less stressed. It is common knowledge that our body language can give away how we feel, but Amy Cuddy flips this around and posits that our body language can impact how we feel and perform. The story of how this helped her and a student of hers is the emotional highlight of this talk.

Surprising takeaway: Body language doesn’t just affect our communication, is also affects how we feel about ourselves.

Don’t ask where I’m from, ask where I’m local

Speaker: Taiye Selasi is a writer who explores the topic of identity. She is a local of New York, Rome and Accra.

Date and location: TEDGlobal 2014, Brazil, October 2014

Why we like the talk: As a company of multicultural and multi-national people, we believe strongly that nationality is too narrow a concept to grasp a person’s identity. Taiye Selasi not only finds the perfect words, but also suggests a better concept. Asking “Where are you local?” highlights the rituals, relationships and complexity of people’s backgrounds.

Surprising takeaway: There is no “going back” to a home country.

Could your language affect your ability to save money?

Speaker: Keith Chen is a behavioural economist at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and focuses on microeconomic theory.

Date and location: TEDGlobal 2012, Scotland, June 2012

Why we like the talk: We often view language as a part of culture or an expression of it, but in this talk Keith Chen explains that people with the same culture and different languages can have different behavioural tendencies. This is based on whether or not your language grammatically forces you to use a specific tense to talk about the future. Speakers of futureless languages like Chinese put more emphasis on planning for the future.

Surprising takeaway: Native English speakers are more likely to smoke and less likely to use a condom.

The danger of a single story

Speaker: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an award-winning author and a feminist. Her writing includes novels such as “Half of a Yellow Sun” and “Americanah” as well as the essay “We Should All Be Feminists”.

Date and location: TEDGlobal 2009, England, July 2009

Why we like the talk: In theory, we all know the harm that prejudice can do, but sometimes the right concept can allow a fuller understanding of the scope of a problem and how it relates to us. “The Single Story” and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s examples of it show that we are all vulnerable to being prejudiced, even the speaker herself.

Surprising takeaway: We are all prone to relying on just one perspective on people.

Are you a giver or a taker?

Speaker: Adam Grant is an organisational psychologist and prolific author, teacher and researcher. His bestselling books include “Give and Take” and “Originals”.

Date and location: TED@IBM, United States, November 2016

Why we like the talk: Adam Grant researches and thinks deeply about how organisations can work better. We particularly like this talk because the concept of givers and takers applies universally when people work together. This talk is insightful, entertaining and leaves you with clear strategies of how to make better hires and encourage collaboration.

Surprising takeaway: Agreeableness can blind us to whether people are givers or takers.

The power of introverts

Speaker: Susan Cain is a former corporate attorney and negotiations consultant turned author and lecturer. Her work promotes the idea that looking inward is a strength, not a problem.

Date and location: TED2012, United States, February 2012

Why we like the talk: This talk feels like a manifesto for introverts, but it is much more than that. It addresses the fact that our learning and working environments overemphasise teamwork and personality, at the loss of deep creative work. Susan Cain makes an argument for more balance between collaboration and solitude. This will allow introverts to use their strengths and extroverts to discover new skills.

Surprising takeaway: We need more introverted leaders.

Confessions of a recovering micromanager

Speaker: Chieh Huang is the co-founder and CEO of Boxed.com, an online wholesale retailer.

Date and location: TED@BCG Toronto, Canada, October 2018

Why we like the talk: In theory, we all know the downside of micromanaging, but that often doesn’t help with daily decisions. Chieh Huang’s talk is a practical first-hand account of how he became a micromanager, what problems that caused and how the upside of giving his employees more agency has by far outweighed the downside. This talk has valuable lessons on leadership, but it’s so funny, you could just watch it for the humour.

Surprising takeaway: Being a micromanager is not a personality trait. It can happen easily, but recovery is possible!

The puzzle of motivation

Speaker: Dan Pink is the former speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore and the author of several bestselling books.

Date and location: TEDGlobal 2009, England, July 2009

Why we like the talk: Motivating people is a key part of running a business. In the past, this was achieved through extrinsic motivation. Dan Pink, however, argues that the carrot and stick model is not what we need for the 21st century’s “right-brain work”. While incentives can improve performance when a narrow focus is required, creatives flourish on intrinsic motivators such as autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Surprising takeaway: Incentives don’t promote creativity; in fact, they can hinder it.

Why good leaders make you feel safe

Speaker: Simon Sinek is a speaker and author on leadership and corporate culture. Among his bestselling books are “Start With Why” and “The Infinite Game”.

Date and location: TED2014, Canada, March 2014

Why we like the talk: What makes a good leader? Simon Sinek cuts through all corporate stereotypes and gives an answer that speaks to our humanity, but also makes business sense. Simon Sinek is a remarkable motivational speaker. We chose this talk because we are particularly passionate about the topic, but watch any of his talks and you will feel inspired to improve as a leader, employee or human being.

Surprising takeaway: Good leaders have the same traits as good parents.

What are TED Talks?

TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, Design. These are the three topics that set the tone for the TED conferences held several times annually in different locations around the globe and now virtually. The TED organisation invites thought leaders from various industries to attend and present short lectures.

Feeling inspired to work on your own presentation skills? Get in touch with our consultants to get started!

Other interesting articles:

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Robert Rothe
Marketing and Partner Manager

Robert grew up in Hamburg, but has strong South African roots. At EnglishBusiness he is the German translation editor, manages our pool of external translators and creates our marketing content. In his free time you’ll find him running around the Alster. In this blog he writes about the German language, South Africa, sports and our beautiful port city.

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A conversation on cultural dimensions https://www.englishbusiness.com/blog/a-conversation-on-cultural-dimensions/ Thu, 04 Mar 2021 07:45:17 +0000 https://www.englishbusiness.com/?p=8929 Der Beitrag A conversation on cultural dimensions erschien zuerst auf EnglishBusiness AG - We expand your global reach.


A conversation on cultural dimensions

In international businesses, we are faced with cross-cultural situations every day, and the language industry might be the biggest melting pot of all. It is then no surprise that seasoned translation industry sales expert and consultant Jessica Rathke has decided this is something to focus on. In researching cross-cultural situations and Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture, she reached out to someone who not only has a multicultural background herself, but also has years of experience in training corporate clients in cultural awareness: Nina Zolezzi of EnglishBusiness. Here are some takeaways from their conversation on communication in cross-cultural teams.

National culture

Photo credit: Debashis RC Biswas

Why is national culture important?

As a consultant in the language industry, Jessica Rathke has travelled the world. Her experience shows clearly that when it comes to sales and management, one size does not fit all.

The American management style is based on individualism and personal responsibility. Managers tend to give teams more freedom in their decisions and less guidance. But when Jessica trained a Chinese sales team in Shanghai, the expectation was vastly different. A local colleague explained that people worked better with strong guidance, and Jessica found her groove with the team once she started getting involved – to the point of what she considered micromanagement. Nina, on the other hand, finds that micromanaging is a no-go with her team of mostly Anglo-Saxon expats.

But nationalities don’t have to be geographically separated to be different. When Jessica consulted on the roll-out of a sales concept to regional markets in Asia, she worked with teams from Japan, China, Thailand, and Korea. The differences among the various regional markets were so substantial that a session that should have been done in time for afternoon tea lasted until 9 p.m.

National culture is clearly an important concept when you’re working and communicating globally. But it takes more than knowing which passport someone carries.

National identity vs global citizens

An increasing amount of people don’t identify with just one nationality. The way in which multiple national cultures combine, and individual preferences emerge, is no trivial matter.

Nina and Jessica are both good examples of this. Nina is half Italian, half Portuguese; she was born in Mozambique, raised in South Africa, and has been a resident of Germany for over 25 years.

Jessica was born and raised in the United States, but she doesn’t view herself as an average American either. Having studied in Austria and lived in England for a third of her life, she prefers to be identified as a global citizen.

In today’s global economy, people with multiple passports and a diverse heritage are ubiquitous. Elon Musk holds three passports, was educated in South Africa and now lives in the US. Kamala Harris’ parents came to the US from India and Jamaica. The list goes on, and it is apparent that people are increasingly stepping beyond national boundaries to educate themselves, collaborate, and achieve success.

Cultural diversity is becoming the norm in international businesses and the nationality paradigm for understanding culture is proving limited and restrictive. In their conversation, Jessica and Nina agreed that new concepts such as Taiye Selasi’s multi-localism are needed to understand individuals.

The Dimensions of National Culture

Jessica Rathke is expanding her training and consulting services in the language industry by working to complete the Intercultural Management Certification Programme with Hofstede Insights. The programme is based on six cultural dimensions, also known as the Dimensions of National Cultures. This is a framework for understanding people’s cultures and values, comparing preferences and, as a result, mitigating cross-cultural misunderstandings and improving communication in the workplace.

It is worth pointing out that the Dimensions are not based on the legal concept of a country, but rather the history, rituals, and culture of the people in it. This can easily be confused, as the research shows that tendencies within the Dimensions of National Culture are usually concentrated within national borders. However, the Dimensions work just as well on a smaller scale for analysing the preferences of regions or cities; Jessica points out that cultural differences in the US, say between Texas and New York, are significant.

Hofstede’s research on national culture has been a source of inspiration and knowledge for EnglishBusiness’ cross-cultural training, though Nina warned against focussing on national culture to understand the preferences and values of a person or group. Language barriers, personality or company culture can all cause friction in communication. National culture is an important concept to explore, but it isn’t the only one and, according to Nina, it should not be the first.

What are Hofstede’s cultural dimensions?

Power Distance Index: To what degree do less powerful members of a society agree with power being distributed unequally? Very hierarchical societies have high Power Distance.

Individualism versus Collectivism: Individualistic societies prefer loose societal frameworks and a high degree of personal responsibility. Collectivist societies have a stronger common identity and feel a stronger sense of responsibility for each other.

Masculinity versus Femininity: Masculinity represents a preference for achievement, assertiveness, material rewards and competitiveness. Femininity on the other hand represents a preference for cooperation, modesty, caring and quality of life.

Uncertainty Avoidance Index: A high Uncertainty Avoidance Index indicates an aversion to uncertainty and a preference for rigid rules. Low Uncertainty Avoidance societies have a more relaxed attitude towards rules and principles.

Long Term Orientation versus Short Term Normative Orientation: Societies scoring low on this dimension embrace history and view change with suspicion. High-scoring cultures in this dimension are more pragmatic and flexible.

Indulgence versus Restraint: Societies scoring high on Restraint tend to suppress the gratification of natural human drives, whereas more indulgent societies allow gratification more freely.

Find out more on Hofstede Insights

It’s never just language

EnglishBusiness has helped many companies improve their communication. It often starts with English courses – but, as Nina put it, it’s never just language.

Of course, teaching English in international companies makes a lot of sense. Without shared language, there can be no cooperation or collaboration. You need the grammar and vocabulary to express yourself, and language lessons are a straightforward and reliable method. Unfortunately, a common language doesn’t safeguard against misunderstandings in the workplace.

If miscommunications run deeper than language proficiency, Nina recommends also looking at personal preferences. The free personality test on 16Personalities.com is inspired by Myers-Briggs and provides a good starting point. However, the results should be taken as preferences rather than rigid definitions of someone’s personality. If you know whether a colleague’s tendency is intuitive or observant, prospecting or judging, introverted or extraverted, it can open up the conversation on how you can understand each other better and collaborate more effectively.

Don’t think about national culture first

If language and individual preferences can be eliminated as sources of misunderstanding, the Dimensions of National Culture provide a powerful tool for improving communication.

Nina was sceptical of tying nationality to culture; Jessica pointed out that, though the law of averages means Hofstede’s research will be accurate for the majority, outliers are guaranteed. The overlap between nationality and culture is not a dogma, but rather confirmed by statistical evidence.

However, Jessica and Nina agreed that Hofstede’s dimensions are an invaluable tool for consultants and trainers in international business. The caveat is that a national focus on culture can create bias and distort insights when looking at smaller groups. The colleagues shared the opinion that Dimensions such as Individualism versus Collectivism work just as well when applied to smaller groups or categories other than nationality.

Keith Chen’s research provides an example of language rather than national borders as the indicator of cultural differences. When looking at families within the same national borders, he finds that speakers of futureless languages – languages that have no explicit future tense – are more likely to save money and less likely to smoke.

How to build cross-cultural awareness

Becoming culturally aware is not an academic pursuit but instead requires immersive experiences. During her training with Hofstede Insights, Jessica participated in cultural simulations that were designed to challenge values and habits. Yet this is not the only way to get out of one’s comfort zone. During business travel, Jessica makes a point of immersing herself in other cultures and finding out how everyday things such as the Japanese train system work.

Nina is also convinced by the immersive approach. She offers corporate clients a cross-cultural simulation where two groups learn fictive languages and sets of values. They then study and explore the behaviour of the other group, which is both wildly entertaining for observers and immensely insightful.

The goal of these immersive tactics is to shift people’s response to other cultures from irritation or fear towards a willingness to learn.

If you want to learn more about cross-cultural awareness, you can contact Jessica for a personalised cultural assessment or contact EnglishBusiness’ consultants for a cross-cultural simulation.

The speakers:

Jessica Rathke

Jessica Rathke is a training and sales consultant in the translation and localisation industry. With more than 29 years of sales and management experience, she helps companies improve their sales competencies for increased revenue and profitability. She has successfully delivered sales training to hundreds of business owners, sales managers and business developers. Rathke also consults translation industry leaders to help them build effective sales strategies.

Jessica regularly presents on the topic of sales at translation industry conferences and events. Connect with Jessica on LinkedIn.

Nina Zolezzi

Nina Zolezzi is the CEO and co-founder of EnglishBusiness AG. As a communication consultant, she is dedicated to inspiring leaders to develop a global mindset and to providing people with the skills and tools they need to thrive in international business contexts. As a public speaker, she focuses on the power of culture and the importance of language in human interaction, creativity and collaboration.

The Mozambican-born South African with Italian and Portuguese parents is a qualified systemic psychologist and an expert in cross-cultural awareness. She speaks fluent English, German and Portuguese. Connect with Nina on LinkedIn.

Other interesting articles:

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Robert Rothe
Marketing and Partner Manager

Robert grew up in Hamburg, but has strong South African roots. At EnglishBusiness he is the German translation editor, manages our pool of external translators and creates our marketing content. In his free time you’ll find him running around the Alster. In this blog he writes about the German language, South Africa, sports and our beautiful port city.

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What is the difference between communication and communications? https://www.englishbusiness.com/blog/communication-vs-communications/ Thu, 25 Feb 2021 09:13:15 +0000 https://www.englishbusiness.com/?p=8897 Der Beitrag What is the difference between communication and communications? erschien zuerst auf EnglishBusiness AG - We expand your global reach.


What is the difference between communication and communications?

Should you write “financial communication” or “financial communications”? Do you have a communication strategy or a communications strategy? Even for native English speakers, the answer isn’t obvious, so let’s do some research!

communication vs communications

Photo credit: LoboStudio Hamburg

Should you write “financial communication” or “financial communications”? Do you have a communication strategy or a communications strategy? Even for native English speakers, the answer isn’t obvious, so let’s do some research!

English is a global language with many variations, so things can get a bit murky and a general answer to vocabulary questions can be surprisingly difficult. For an authoritative source, let’s start with dictionaries.

Dictionary definitions of “communication”

We looked at the Oxford English Dictionary for British English and Merriam-Webster for US English.


Oxford Dictionary:

  • [mass noun] The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium
  • [count noun] A letter or message containing information or news


  • Interchange of thoughts or opinions: a process by which meanings are exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols (such as language, signs, or gestures)
  • An instance of communicated information (such as a letter or telephone call): a written or spoken message
  • Facts or information communicated


Oxford Dictionary:

  • Means of sending or receiving information, such as phone lines or computers
  • [treated as singular] The field of study concerned with the transmission of information


  • A system (as of telephones, telegraphs, or computers) for communicating information
  • The function in an industrial organization that transmits ideas, policies, and orders
  • Plural in form but singular in construction: an art that deals with expressing and exchanging ideas effectively in speech or writing or through the graphic or dramatic arts and that is taught as an integrated program at various levels of education in distinction to traditional separate courses in composition and speech

What have we learned from this?

“Communication”, as a mass noun, is the exchange of information. This is the most common use of “communication”.

“Communications”, treated as a singular, refers to technology that enables communication or a field of study and artistic activity.

However, “communication” can also be a count noun that refers to an instance of communication, such as a letter or a phone call. This makes things more complicated.

A department of communication, financial communication or communication strategy would then deal with the imparting or exchange of information.

In turn, a department of communications, financial communications or communications strategy would deal with many instances of communication or the underlying infrastructure.

This helps us understand the meaning, but what is the correct use?

Merriam-Webster tells us that communications in US English can be a function in an organisation and mentions “communications department” as an example, but the Oxford Dictionary makes no such mention.

To get a better idea of how “communication” vs “communications” is used, let’s turn to Google trends.

How are “communication” and “communications” used in English?

We are trying to understand how “communication” and “communications” are used in a business context. To avoid confusion with the means of communications or the technological sense of communications, we decided to look at relevant phrases containing “communication(s)” rather than looking at the words in isolation.

According to the dictionary, “communications department” is an accepted phrase in US English, so let’s start with that.

Communication department vs communications department

communications department
communication departmens

The US does in fact use “communications department” more frequently, if only marginally. In the UK, “communication department” is the more popular phrase, while Ireland, Canada and Australia side with the US.

Department of communication vs department of communications

department of communication
department of communications

Only a slight change of wording is enough to change the results in the US. While other the English-speaking countries’ preference is consistent with their use of “communication(s) department”, in the US, “department of communication” is the more popular phrase. Could it be that the communications department deals with phone networks and fibre optic cables, while the department of communication is more concerned with the human exchange of information in general?

Communication strategy vs communications strategy

Our previous research suggests that a communication strategy lays out what to communicate, while a communications strategy might be an analysis of what medium to use. Fortunately, the global use indicates quite clearly that “communication strategy” is the more common phrase.

communication strategy
communications strategy

Corporate communication vs corporate communications

Looking at “corporate communication” and “corporate communications” usage does seem to differ across the globe. English-speaking countries like the UK, Ireland, the US, Canada and Australia search for “corporate communications” more frequently, but it is still hard to draw a conclusion here. “Corporate communication” is not an uncommon phrase in the English-speaking world, but the messages and departments within the field of corporate communications should be referred to as “corporate communications”, and this is apparently the more common phrase.

corporate communication
corporate communications

A strange map of communication(s)

With their variety of uses, comparing communication and communications in isolation might be like apples and oranges, but this distribution in the United States still gives us a pattern that is too odd not to share.

communication US


The bad news is, when it comes to “communication” vs “communications” there is no universally correct answer. The good news is, with usage varying so much across the globe, you’re unlikely to misstep by choosing either.

What we have learned, however, is that you can make a conscious choice to emphasise the human exchange of information or the distribution of its instances depending on whether you add an “S” or not. The Cornell Department of Communication gives a clear explanation of their decision that sums up this point:

The simple answer is that we use the term “communication” to reflect our department’s focus on the social scientific study of communication – specifically, the process by which humans use symbols, verbal and nonverbal, to create meaning and form relationships with other humans in face-to-face or mediated environments. This is the essence of what we teach, research, and do in our department. “Communications,” in contrast, is often used to refer to the products – the messages that are transmitted or distributed – or to the equipment (like wireless or fiber optic cables) that conducts the transmission.

Other interesting articles:

Annual report

Robert Rothe
Marketing and Partner Manager

Robert grew up in Hamburg, but has strong South African roots. At EnglishBusiness he is the German translation editor, manages our pool of external translators and creates our marketing content. In his free time you’ll find him running around the Alster. In this blog he writes about the German language, South Africa, sports and our beautiful port city.

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5 things you should know about financial report translations from German (IFRS) https://www.englishbusiness.com/blog/5-things-you-should-know-about-financial-report-translations-from-german-ifrs/ https://www.englishbusiness.com/blog/5-things-you-should-know-about-financial-report-translations-from-german-ifrs/#respond Fri, 29 Jan 2021 11:30:17 +0000 https://www.englishbusiness.com/?p=8329 Der Beitrag 5 things you should know about financial report translations from German (IFRS) erschien zuerst auf EnglishBusiness AG - We expand your global reach.


5 things you should know about financial report translations from German (IFRS)

IFRS translations German to English

Photo credit: Mathias Konrath

Financial reporting is an essential part of listed companies’ annual and quarterly reports. As such it forms an essential part of the communication with stakeholders and provides valuable information for executives. As business and investor relations have become international, this calls not only for accepted international reporting standards, but in the case of Germany also for precise financial translations.

The London-based IASB (International Accounting Standards Board) is an independent body that issues the most widely accepted accounting standard IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards). As part of the European Union, German companies adhere to IFRSs for their financial reporting. While these reports are mostly written in German, there are many international stakeholders and publishing an English version of annual and quarterly reports is the norm.

IFRS Standards prescribe a specific structure, mandatory content and precise terminology for financial statements. German-to-English translators need to be familiar with this framework and stay up to date with the most recent terminology in both languages. As with all areas of translation, accounting has its regional idiosyncrasies. Read on to find out more about the most common traps and mistakes in IFRS translations from German to English.

1. Depreciation, amortisation, impairment or write-down
2. Assets and liabilities
3. Using up-to-date IFRS terminology”
4. Don’t fall for the British/American trap
5. Watch out for “Denglish”
IFRS resources for the translation of annual reports
ESEF – new electronic format for financial reports
Let us consult you on the translation of your annual report!

1. Depreciation, amortisation, impairment or write-down

Possibly the most challenging term to translate in financial reports is “Abschreibungen”, as English has different terms for this depending on the type of asset and its value.

  • Depreciation

    planmäßige Abschreibungen (auf Sachanlagen)

    Property, plant and equipment is depreciated.

  • Amortisation

    planmäßige Abschreibungen (auf immaterielle Vermögenswerte)

    Intangible assets are amortised.

    Note: German differentiates between “planmäßig”/”außerplanmäßig” (scheduled/unscheduled) whereas English just uses different verbs to convey these differences. “Planmäßig” should thus not be translated.

  • Impairment loss

    außerplanmäßige Abschreibung

    The amount by which the carrying amount of an asset exceeds its recoverable amount.

    Note: again, there is no such thing as “unscheduled” or “non-scheduled” impairment. “Außerplanmäßig” should not be translated.

  • Write-down

    außerplanmäßige Abschreibung

    Assets are written down if impairment testing shows that their value has declined.

2. Assets and liabilities

Assets and liabilities are important parts of any statement of financial position, so it is important to translate them correct and consistently:

non-current assetslangfristige Vermögenswerte
current assetskurzfristige Vermögenswerte
non-current liabilitieslangfristige Schulden
current liabilitieskurzfristige Schulden

3. Using up-to-date IFRS terminology

The IRFSs are a work in progress as they must adapt to new regulations and developments in the world of business. Sometimes this comes with new terminology, so translators should always make sure their resources are up to date before they work on a financial report. These are some of the more recent updates:

Bilanzstatement of financial position (formerly “balance sheet”)
Gewinn- und Verlustrechnung (GuV)statement of comprehensive income (formerly “income statement”)
Eigenkapitalveränderungsrechnung/­Eigenkapitalspiegelstatement of changes in equity
Kapitalflussrechnungstatement of cash flows (formerly “cash flow statement”)

4. Don’t fall for the British/American trap

Apart from the general differences in spelling and punctuation, British and American English also have differences in terminology that are relevant for financial translators:

financial yearfiscal year
one-off effectone-time effect
as atas of

5. Watch out for “Denglish”

Literal translations often result in questionable style and sentence structure, but there are a few notorious phrases that are used frequently in German reports. A bad translation can produce results that range from confusing to offensive.

  • Impuls: the English word “impulse” is a mechanical term, whereas German also uses it to refer to input, ideas or motivation.
  • Bereits: “bereits” is used much more frequently than “already”. In most cases the tense of the verb implies the “already”, so it shouldn’t be translated.
  • Vier-Augen-Prinzip: a questionable but widely accepted term in German, there is no “four-eyes principle” in English. “Double-checked” or “third-party review” work well in most situations.
  • Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren: the generic German plural address can be translated very differently depending on context. In fact, a letter from the CEO will usually start without an address.

IFRS resources for the translation of annual reports

Up-to-date resources are the foundation of any professional IFRS translation. At EnglishBusiness, we use a combination of online dictionaries, exclusive inhouse resources and client-specific translations memories, term bases and style guides.

If you are looking for reliable information on current reporting standards, you can consult our experts or conduct your own research using one of these resources:

eIFRS – electronic International Financial Reporting Standards

eIFRS is the IFRS Foundation’s paid research portal.


  • Official IFRS resource
  • Comparison tool to keep up with changes to the standards
  • Simplified search with the eIFRS Terminology Lookup Tool
  • Available in several languages


  • Not designed as a translation tool
  • Steep price tag


  • £295 per year

Wiley Interpretation and Application of IFRS Standards

Wiley’s book offers a complete and up-to-date explanation of all IFRS requirements, coupled with examples of how to apply the rules in complex, real-world situations.


  • One-stop resource for understanding current IFRS. Indispensable guide, background information
  • Complete and up-to-date explanation of all IFRS requirements, coupled with examples of how to apply the rules in complex, real-world situations.
  • Upgrades your bookshelf as a Zoom background


  • Since the IFRS are updated every year, this becomes an annual purchase.


  • Print: $115
  • e-book: $92

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by Wiley

A bilingual edition of the IFRS as a resource for German-to-English and English-to-German translators.


  • Clear comparison of the English source text and its German translation.
  • Affordable price


  • No electronic searchability
  • Needs to be replaced annually


  • Softcover edition: €29.99

Deloitte Model IFRS Financial Statements

Deloitte’s sample financial statement in English and German illustrate the impact of the application of the IFRS.


  • Extensive research material on the application of the IFRS
  • Terminology research by comparing the English and German versions


  • Research is complicated by two separate PDF documents


  • Available free of charge

BDÜ seminars for financial translators

We often recommend a seminar at the BDÜ to aspiring German to English or English to German financial translators. You get an introduction to financial reporting or can brush up your knowledge if you have translated annual reports in the past.

ESEF – new electronic format for financial reports

Numbers are an integral part of any financial report. The European Single Electronic Format will make it easier to compare the figures and applies as of the 2020 financial year. The new standard enables different programmes to extract and analyse data. Find out more about the ESEF and the XBRL file format here.

Let us consult you on the translation of your annual report!

Do you have any questions regarding the translation of your annual report, CSR report or quarterly report? The team at EnglishBusiness has more than 20 years of experience translating for listed companies in Germany and abroad. Just contact our consultants to find out more!

Kayla Hirsch

Kayla Hirsch
Translation Editor & Consultant

Kayla is from the Southeast of the US, where she earned degrees in political science and German studies. She loves traveling, and she lived in Washington, D.C., Berlin and Nuremberg before she decided to settle in Hamburg. In her free time, she’s usually watching films or reading; at EnglishBusiness she’s an expert on translation and proofreading. You’ll find articles from her here on all things linguistics and written communication.

Other interesting articles:

Annual report

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How does the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) affect financial report translations? https://www.englishbusiness.com/blog/esef-financial-report-translations/ Tue, 01 Dec 2020 10:45:36 +0000 https://www.englishbusiness.com/?p=8674 Der Beitrag How does the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) affect financial report translations? erschien zuerst auf EnglishBusiness AG - We expand your global reach.


How does the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) affect financial report translations?

The financial reports of listed companies in the EU must now adhere to a new format, the European Single Electronic Format. The ESEF applies from the beginning of the financial year 2020, affecting the reports EnglishBusiness will be translating in early 2021. So, what does this mean for your financial report and how does it relate to other reporting requirements?

European Single Electronic Format ESEF

Photo credit: Guillaume Périgois

What is the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF)?

Publicly listed companies that are regulated by the EU are required to prepare their financial reports for financial years beginning on and after 1 January 2020 in a particular format, known as the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF). This means data in these reports can be extracted, read and understood by a variety of different software. It also means that there will be consistency across companies, which makes reports and numbers more comparable and easier to comprehend. Many standard reporting software options will have fully integrated ESEF-compliant templates and guidelines to help you out.

What are the International Business Communication Standards (IBCS)?

The International Business Communication Standards (IBCS) are a set of rules for laying out charts and tables in your reports. Visual and conceptual design is very important for understanding data. Certain kinds of software can apply the standards automatically. Although these rules are not yet mandatory, they may become so in the future. More and more companies are taking these standards on board and presenting their data in ways that avoid misinterpretation to the greatest extent possible.

XBRL – the file format for ESEF?

XBRL is the open international standard for digital business reporting, managed by a global not-for-profit consortium, XBRL International. XBRL is a format for a document, just like PDF or XML, and is the format the ESEF requires. Having all financial documents in the same format is part of the ESEF’s goal to promote consistency and comparability. The XBRL format is supported by a wide variety of software packages and service providers and is open technology, which means it is free to license. Many of these software options can also integrate IFRS terminology and multiple languages.

Does ESEF relate to IFRS?

The team at EnglishBusiness has been working with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) for a very long time – they are mandatory in 166 countries around the world! The vocabulary and conventions dictated by these standards are the basis of the ESEF taxonomy, so the IFRSs won’t change under the new ESEF regulations. The IFRS Foundation prepares and updates these standards annually to provide issuers with a hierarchical structure to be used to classify financial information. Facilitating comprehension of your company’s financial reports is already part of the high-quality translations we deliver, and we know that IFRS remains the most important of the reporting standards.

What does ESEF mean for the translation of your financial report?

The ESEF will not change the way we handle your translations. EnglishBusiness has been ahead of the consistency game for a long time – we work not only with IFRS but also with translation memories, client style sheets and a consistent client voice to make sure all your IR documents are telling the right story. Many of EB’s clients are listed companies carrying out standard business reporting, so we know how important it is that your translations are top quality in terms of consistency, accuracy and conformity.

Contact us to find out more about our financial report translations!

Kayla Hirsch

Kayla Hirsch
Translation Editor & Consultant

Kayla is from the Southeast of the US, where she earned degrees in political science and German studies. She loves traveling, and she lived in Washington, D.C., Berlin and Nuremberg before she decided to settle in Hamburg. In her free time, she’s usually watching films or reading; at EnglishBusiness she’s an expert on translation and proofreading. You’ll find articles from her here on all things linguistics and written communication.

Other interesting articles:

Annual report

Der Beitrag How does the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) affect financial report translations? erschien zuerst auf EnglishBusiness AG - We expand your global reach.