Practica: Say it your way

For many of us, it is more and more common to find ourselves in conversations where not everyone, and sometimes no one is speaking their mother tongue. Even when our level of fluency in another language is high, we often find it difficult to make something that we say carry the full impact of our intentions and feelings as we normally expect them to become evident when speaking our native language. In many situations those who are required to express themselves in a language other than their own, a language in which perhaps they are less fluent, it is both easy to misspeak as well as be misunderstood.

Short of having a professional translator on hand, it may be useful, when someone has something important to say in a meeting or discussion, to create group acceptance of the practice of allowing, even encouraging second-language speakers to make statements they are concerned about aloud, in their own language, before they or others in the group attempt to translate, in order to share the meanings more broadly. This practice may not be the total solution, but frequently the confidence, tonality and nuances of expressing oneself out loud in one's own tongue can make a difference in perception and understanding of listeners as well as in the speaker's confidence in him or herself.

This practice is particularly useful when words don't seem to fit right, or when a statement is hard to understand or seemingly out-of-context or incomplete.


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