I'm starting to get frustrated whenever I say something and people don't understand. I'm long winded they say and I guess it's my bad but I don't know how to get the message across. In choosing words, I use them based on their general definition and thus can be used in many different ways but it seems that people here associate words with a single very common specific meanings.
When we were asked in our project team meeting why don't we show the relationship of the three sites we were given by using a key plan from the regional analysis instead of putting their plans side by side, I said 'What you're trying to do is showing the relationship of the location.' and then pointing to the layout pinned on the wall 'This one shows the relationship of the TRANSLATION.' In this sentence, 'translation' meant 'how you translate your analysis through your design'. In this profession, I thought that would have been obvious as we normally use jargons specific to our profession (I mean duh, we all work in the same field) but they look at me with confused faces. Perhaps I should have said '...this one shows the relationship of the design of the three sites as you have analyzed them from the regional basis to the site specific and should reflect your conclusions when you draw your final plan' (...whew!) It seems that when I said the word they pertain to language translation like how you translate Chinese to English.
On the same meeting, I asked 'Is it possible to have a TEMPLATE we could follow so everyone else could present their designs similarly?' and that started a discussion with everyone explaining to me that we already have a template like I am a kid. 'Template' for them only corresponds to color template as this word is commonly used by graphics people in our office. So they told me not to worry about the graphics because they would be done by our support staff and that I should only focus on my design. What I meant by 'template' is a format, a guideline, a general layout that everyone in the team could follow when we present our design. But I did not use the word 'format' because it will be interpreted in terms of program used (PowerPoint, InDesign, Excel, Adobe Illustrator), I did not use 'guideline' as it will be interpreted as a design guideline (do we use contemporary design, formal, straight lines, curvy lines), I did not use the word 'layout' as it is interpreted as a drawn design master plan. So I corrected myself and began explaining to the team by using a sample pinned on the board and how it could be used similarly to another. But the explanation took too long until they got what I mean. (now I'm 'long winded').
Out of my frustration I asked another Team Leader, who is a Chinese-Malaysian what is the best way to explain my thoughts, him being neither a local but still Chinese enough to know the language very well. I thought he would better understand. He said I am long-winded (as mentioned), and that while I am trying to be innovative by using technical words , they may not understand what I am trying to say.
So there goes, I might be missing the KISS method ( Keep It Simple Stupid) , but I think they oversimplify things by associating a word to specific definitions and then complicate them by literally translating in English what they would say in Chinese and thus emerging a new kind of English called Chinglish (using English words but adapt Chinese grammar). So instead of 'How do you pronounce this?' they use 'How to say?'. Or if they meant 'Do you want some of my chips?' it turns out as 'You want?'. In both cases, the English is literally translated to the Chinese 'Zenme Shuo?' and 'Ni yao ma? They also don't have gender references for the third person in Chinese. So don't get confused when a local is pertaining to a guy and uses a 'she' and a 'he' at the same time. In China, they are interchangeable.
Unfortunately, some people use words they don't understand at all and create bullshit sentences (I am not swearing, I'm just pertaining to sentences that doesn't really mean anything but just because they use words that sound nice). So when I try to get the logic, it doesn't make sense. In doing a design we need to provide a Vision, a Positioning, Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Principles, Concept, etc. so I'd do as I am told but in the end I would have to repeat what I have done because my Vision to them sounds like a Positiong, my Goals like Objectives, my Objectives like Strategies and so on and so forth. So I ask them to define each so I can understand their thoughts. As it happens they give me samples of these sentence like 'To enhance the aesthetic... Blah... blah... To embrace the local culture by providing a sense of.... Yadaa...Yadaa....). So I said 'I don't need examples, I want to know what you want to express when you say this. What are you trying to communicate when you use these words so then I could build up my sentences.' As it happens, most people could not explain to me, yes, even some Project Directors who have supposedly studied abroad. And so I would start to define each word and then explain why I came up with my texts and how each relate to each other. It's tedious, but I really hate to be told I am wrong when you don't know what you're talking about. Explain to me. Prove to me I am wrong. I am willing to listen and bend if I need to.
Sometimes I see images (most people here love nice pictures). But the description has no relationship whatsoever in the photos associated with it. See, if you could not explain by words, the best way is by pictures or by drawing it. But what happens if for the sake of good visuals, you use a nice-sounding word and a good-looking image that doesn't jive? It just creates more confusion.
Don't get me wrong, my English is not that good either and in five years stay in China, I had adopted Chinglish in my language (making my English even worse) which allows me to be an open prey to my native English-speaking friends. I actually like Chinese grammar and the simple logic behind it better than English as the latter tends to break its own rules having absorbed words from other languages. But to literally use the same logic of grammar in English creates, for lack of term, barbaric-sounding language. 'Long Time No See' is one of those derivatives.
Understanding the logic behind Chinese grammar allows me to get their message across which the other expats are having a hard time figuring out. So when a couple of Filipino officemates received a note written in Chinglish from a TaoBao seller, I was able to translate it to them in no time. They were just simply amazed by my feat. Some foreigners in the office even say that I am turning Chinese. I was indignant because while I can understand them, I still cannot communicate with them. So I refuse to believe.
One time I was talking about this ventriloquist Jeff Dunham and how he's so funny. Then my company told me 'Say that again.'
I asked him 'What?'
Then he repeated the word 'ventriloquist' and I tried to repeat the word but I guess I pronounce the word wrong every time. So he started to make fun of me much to my annoyance. So I got back to him:
'Fine!' I said. 'How to say?'