Telecommunication has been defined as a science of technology and communication at a distance by electronic transmission of impulses, as by cable, telephone, telegraph, radio, or television. Telecommunications is an important area of professional growth. It has also been define as the electronic systems used transmitting messages, as by cable telegraph, telephone, radio, and television. Despite of the sophistication of today’s state of the art communications technology, communication gap is still prevalent and unresolved in the twentieth century.
According Minako O’Hagan, communications technology has done “nothing to resolve the language barriers that prevent a free flow of communication among people who speak different languages” (p. 1) O’Hagan pointed out that today’s world of modern communication, distance, time, and quality have “ceased to be an issue” as “Webs of communications networks covering the globe criss-crossing each other with electronic highways on which voice, data and images flow at the speed of light, oblivious to physical boundaries and national borders.
These highways provide the backbone of the information structure in the same way as the transport network provides the backbone of the physical infrastructure” (p. 2) However, despite of the modernization of the technology of human communication language barriers remains unresolved in most parts of the world. O’Hagan cited a case in March 1989, at an international hotel in Auckland New Zealand, where a Japanese businessperson with very limited English made a call to the hotel reception.
The English-speaking receptionist struggle as she cannot understand her Japanese guest, she then assumes that the man wanted to make a long distance call to Japan guest so she connects him with the international operator who had also difficulty communicating with the man so she puts him through to an international operator in Japan. Finally, the Japanese operator informs the New Zealand operator that the man merely would like to order breakfast delivered to his room.
An internet article entitled Communication emphasized that not understanding the language can impede human communication as shown by the case in point above as messages, verbal and non-verbal are in a different language. Context, history of the occasion, relationship, and culture are some of the factors that need to be addressed to be able to have effective human communication. Human communication varied depending on the particular occasion. Jungle drums, smoke signals, morse code, photography, and art are artificial communication instrument used by different groups of people even today.
These instruments are as effective and as clear as the verbal communication. The most common methods of communication, which commonly used every day, are the written and spoken language, hand signals, and body language. In general, the mediums of human communications are the mass media, composed of print and broadcast, which denote a section of the media, conceived and designed to reach a large audience, and the telecommunication, which is another major communication medium that conveys signals over a space for the purpose of communication.
The article emphasized that modern method of communication such as; via-e-mail, internet forums, and text messaging now permit for intense long-distance exchanges between larger numbers of people, while the traditional broadcast media and mass media such as television, cinema, radio, newspaper, and magazines, still cling to one to many type of communication. Verbal Communication According to Robert M. Krauss of the Columbia University, communication takes place when signals transmit information-bearing messages between a source and a destination (p. 2).
Krauss noted that human communication is distinguished for its exactitude and flexibility through the use of language. Verbal communication necessitates the use of words, symbols, vocabulary, and numbers and is arranged in sentences using language. It includes phrasing of words clearly and positively, in which the words and its explanations affect thought and determine emotion (Krauss p. 2). In general, human communications use two kinds of signal, signs, and symbols. Signs are indications that are causally associated to the message they convey, while symbols are the result of social gathering.
An internet article entitled How to Improve Verbal Communication cited that verbal communication can be express through telling or reading a story to convey effectively a message. The article noted that stories hold influence to persuade a person to relate to the message. Human communications have four main channels common to the work place or even in the society, the written communication, the telecommunication, the third party communication, and the face-to-face communication. The written communication includes letters, memos, faxes, e-mails, and even text messaging.
The concept of written communication according to a web article entitled Communication is that it provides a common message for everyone, as recipients will read the same words. However, the same article stated that the actual words amount to only 7 percent of the message and the remainder is made up of 38 percent tone and nonverbal clues at 55 percent. In other words, the receiver of the message is left with the remaining 93 percent for his or her own interpretation of the message. Telecommunication on the other hand, includes telephones, cellular or mobile phones, intercoms, and other voice communications.
According to the same article, telecommunication is more effective than the written communication in conveying a message because it used 45 percent capability of understanding the message as it allows immediate interaction between the sender and the receiver, although there is still remaining 55 percent of the message’s potential unavailable to the receiver. The worse of the four human communications channel, The Third-Communication, the message is subjected to a second meaning, which is that of the person acting as the channel of communication. The message may no longer be concrete as what the sender intended.
The fourth communication channel however, which is face to face conversation offers the full array of communication as sender can pass on the desired meaning, and the receiver can clarify or ask question if necessary. Thus in human communication, the most effective would be face-to-face communication followed by telecommunication, written communication in third and third party communication. E-mail simply means electronic mail and is a store and forward method of creating, transferring, and storing, receiving messages to a web portal, or straight to one’s computer or laptop by means of a program such as Microsoft outlook.
E-mail messaging has improved the web mail service, which has now the ability to send text message to cell phones directly from e-mail for free. Jefferson Graham calls it “social Communication” as it makes easier for the public to go back and forth between e-mail, instant messaging, and text messaging. The e-mail messaging is currently dominated by Yahoo mail service with 83 million users in the United States alone. Instant messaging on the other hand is a form of real time communication between two people base on typed text. Text messaging is transmitted using computers linked over a network such as the internet.
The difference between instant messaging and e-mail is that instant messaging offers a real time conversation while the e-mail is in letter format where communication may be delayed. Text messaging is a popular form of online messaging. It is defined as a means of conveying short messages to and from mobile phone. Text is a usually the term for transfer of short messages, consisting of 160 characters or lower. Text messages are the individual messages sent using the SMS or the Short Messaging System from the mobile phones. Cultural Differences and Similarities between Koreans and Americans
In his article, Conflict Management in an Age of Globalization: A Comparison of Intracultural and Intercultural Conflict Management Strategies between Koreans and Americans, Jongbae Hong noted that findings of his study reveals that both Koreans and Americans were inclined to use similar patterns of Conflict Management Strategies CMS in administering intracultural conflict. Hong found out that while Americans prefer a competition strategy and an assertive orientation, the Koreans tend to avoid strategy and a cooperative orientation to Americans.
Another cultural difference between Koreans and Americans is in the Korean’s use of compromise and collaboration strategies and their supportive tendency for managing difference in intracultural interface, Hong explained that Koreans tend to decrease in interaction, the American on the other side tend to also decrease in intercultural interaction in their use of competition strategy and their assertive tendency for managing conflict. Further difference between Koreans and Americans can be observed in the concept of family.
In their article entitled Korean Version of the Geriatric Social Readjustment Questionnaire: Cross-cultural Comparison between Koreans and Americans in the Perception Life Events, Seung Chul Shin, SunTaek Whang, Chan Hyung Kim, and Ho Young Lee emphasized that Koreans strictly valued family in line with Confucianism, and are keenly mindful of the importance of the family unity, continuity of the family name, and economic security. Elderly are living with their adult children and tend to be dependent on their children.
In Contrast, American family centers on individualism. Children 18 years old and above are expected to live on their own and adults live in the retirement villages or home for the aged. According to Hong, the development of communication and transportation technologies has made the world become a huge global community. Because of this development human interactions and communications between different cultures such as political, social, economic, and cultural boundaries have greatly increase as a result of global connections.
The internet technology has facilitated intercultural interactions and communications in cyber space and the development in international transactions, for people who are seeking to study, or to work overseas, and for migration. The intercultural communication provided by the internet establishes the link between cultures through the e-mail messaging service. Language Barriers and Miscommunication caused by Cultural Backgrounds Language barrier normally occurs in every situation particularly if there is a language, cultural, or sexual differences.
However, Kimberly Moynahan Garson asserts that language barriers even occur between two people who speak the same language, with the same culture, and even of the same sex. This language barrier according to Garson has to do with behavioral preference for perceiving or judging. Moynahan explain that people differ in perception and judgment regards less of cultural linguistic or sexual similarities. She points out that a person can obtain information and never applies judgment or can apply judgment to something without receiving complete information.
Moynahan goes on to further explain that these tendencies, creates language barriers as some would chose the perceiving process withholding judgment as long as possible, while others would jump to the judging process hastily as they can which leads to different actions. This in turn becomes a language barrier. The differences on the human preferences between these two, leads to miscommunication, never-ending rounds arguments and conflict and frustrations.
According to a web article entitled Language Barrier Leads to Medical Mistakes, language barrier pose serious threat in hospital patients’ particularly non-English speaking patients. The article emphasized that even with interpreter, translations mistakes may result to serious medical consequences. Realizing the serious consequences of the language barriers, hospitals employed trained interpreter to assist patients who are non-English speakers. Language barrier is one cause of miscommunication in America due to the growing foreign-born population and cultural diversity in the population of the United States.
The truth is, cultural and language hindrances can create complications and hinder effectiveness in the workplace. In a report, eighteen percent of the U. S. residents aged five and older speak other than English at home while Spanish and Asian languages has eleven and four percent respectively, which pose barriers for settlers as well as in the workplace. Language alone affects the way of interacting and relationship of people, which reflect with the way they exhibit behavior, beliefs, values, and practices (Lee, 2003, p. 3).
Lee mentioned in his paper that language barriers were ranked among the top three barriers … that prevented minorities and the poor from receiving necessary [health] care (p. 6). The influx of immigrant workers in America and other part of the world is a respond to the growing need for workers particularly in the construction, service, and manufacturing industries; and that it creates challenges among them to overcome cultural and language barriers that they experience. Thus, it is the best concern of company manager and owners to bridge the cultural and language barriers that divide the workers in the place of work.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board (2002) has identified common cultural and language that often show up in the workplace in general; they are: roles and status, personal space, body language, religion, and personal appearance (p. 4). Roles and status refer to interaction that goes with male and female while doing various roles assigned to them considering the fact that men and women are distinct in personality and differing cultures have dissimilar outlook to sexes.
Personal space is another cultural value since people have contradictory perspective when it comes to distance when conversing with one another; Americans prefer five feet distance while Arab and Latinos like closer space, and others like more distance. Body language as a nonverbal communication gives meaning, which may be interpreted wrongly by person from other culture. Personal appearance like hygiene and grooming is obviously different from one country to another. People give their judgment based on their cultural standards.
Thus, language barriers and cultural barriers go hand in hand while in the workplace, which present nuances or problems among the employee. In order to prevent problem, it is necessary that employers have clear understanding of what is going on, and face the problem by giving the workers continuous seminar in order to overcome the differences. Writer’s Personal Experience with SK Telecom SK Telecom as a telecommunication company based in South Korea is one of the country’s largest business group.
The company that started in 1984 offers its clienteles with a wired and wireless incorporated multi-internet service. Being internationally known and globally competitive, it almost achieved its peak in handling intercultural differences, from handling clientele, stakeholders, and workers to meeting demands for much advance technology through which communication is vital in the success of the company. Working in a Korean company is totally contrasting to the typical American culture primarily because of language and other cultural values.
Koreans are hardworking people, yet they enjoy life and entertainment as well. With a strong devotion to vertical relationship such as with family, relatives, co-workers, classmates, and friends, Koreans tend to support the people closest to them than with other people of different culture. They are also nationalistic who take pride of their national identity. In my experience as a Korean-American employee in that company, I encountered some difficulty adjusting to the culture; though I grew up in a Korean community in America, working in a Korean company is a different experience.
The mere fact that Korean company uses a “top-down management style,” many workers and employees at the bottom of the chain often exploded into violent strikes; usually the chairman and other top administrative personnel are very powerful and all-knowing who do not accept opinion. However, in the recent years, they began to adapt new policies of teamwork among them in order to bridge the gap and lessen the problem brought by cultural diversity. Conclusion
Human communication is a blessing from God to humanity for with out it, human society could have ruined along long time ago. Communication makes life more exciting as it brings the world closer especially during the present time in which modern communication technology has transcends all the barriers that were considered in the past as next to impossibility. Practically, the blessings of modernization have erased all this barriers, and the world is heading towards a more unified global community in its effort to further improve the quality of human life.
Regardless of race, cultural orientation, and educational attainment, every one must take advantage of the opportunity to communicate with another not only for personal gain but to be able to contribute in the global direction to improve the quality of life, and the world that we live in. Work Cited Cultural and Language Barriers in the Workplace. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board. http://www. charlotteworks. org/clbpositionpaper. PDF Communication http://www. cod. edu/Course/MGT100/mgtcomm. htm Graham, J. Yahoo gives E-mail Texting Capability http://www. usatoday. com/tech/products/services/2007-08-26-yahoo-mail_N.
htm Hong, J. “Conflict Management in an Age of Globalization: A Comparison of Intercultural Conflict Management Strategies between Koreans and Americans. ” http://lass. calumet. purdue. edu/cca/gmj/sp05/graduatesp05/gmj-sp05gradinv-hong. htm “How to Improve Verbal Communication. ” http://www. about-personal-growth. com/verbal-communication. html Krauss, R. M. The Psychology of Verbal Communication http://www. columbia. edu/~rmk7/PDF/IESBS. pdf “Language Barriers Lead to Medical Mistakes. ” http://healthlink. mcw. edu/article/1031002276. html Lee, Sharon M. (2003). “A Review of Language and other Communication Barriers in Health Care.
” http://www. hablamosjuntos. org/resources/pdf/SMLeeCommunication_and_Health. pdf Moynahan, K. “Language: What’s Your Style? ” http://www. archaeolink. com/language_barriers. htm Shin,C. S. , et. al. “Korean Version of the Ceriatric Social Readjustment Questionnaire: Cross-cultural Comparison between Koreans and Americans in the Perception of Life Events. ” http://www. eymj. org/1989/pdf/38. pdf “View Source for Communication” http://en. citizendium. org/wiki? title=Communication&action=edit “What is Online Messaging” http://www. ancomm. com/igeneration/what_is_online_messaging. html