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Cultural differences 2012/5/16 04:50
Okay so here is my question: I will be going to Japan in a few months for business and would like to know if it will be rude to hire a translator? Also I dont drink alcohol yet I heard that they find it rude not to, is there any way I can get around this?
I will have a friend with me and in our culture we interlock arms/hold hands/hug alot in public will this offend the Japanese?
I also cannot go near a shrine or tempel as this is a major taboo for me how can I handle this?
by Zandria  

Re: Cultural differences 2012/5/16 11:25
1) Basic manners suggest that if you're doing business with a company, you may want to ask them if they have a translator or can recommend one first. Mostly because you may discuss things that are confidential and they may be more comfortable if they know the extra person themselves.
2) it would be polite to socialise and also to buy people drinks if they buy them for you, but if you don't drink alcohol just say so and drink something else. Don't make a big deal of it and it won't be one.
3) it probably won't make a good business impression if you're indulging in public displays of affection all the time. Especially when you apparently already know that's not the cultural norm in Japan. Be considerate of your hosts' feelings and try to rein it in, would be my suggestion.
4) Don't go to a shrine or temple. Though most Japanese people do not consider themselves particularly religious, even if they do go to shrines and temples, so they may think you're a bit crazy in the head :)
by guest (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Cultural differences 2012/5/16 11:25
Why should it be rude to have a translator if it is for business reason? Do not see much sense in talking to each other without speaking the same language...

Yes, usually people drink a lot and quite often with business colleagues. But we do not go to a bar, but rather drink during dinner in an izakaya (usually a rather simple japanese restaurant). They might ask you twice if you do not want a beer, but they will certainly accept your answer.

Hugging and holding hands in public will not offend most Japanese.

I suggest you do not go near a shrine or temple then...as easy as that :)



by asdf (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Cultural differences 2012/5/16 11:27
I will have a friend with me and in our culture we interlock arms/hold hands/hug alot in public will this offend the Japanese?

Are you two of the same sex?

If not, there is no issues in this regard.
by jin (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Cultural differences 2012/5/16 12:53
I will have a friend with me and in our culture we interlock arms/hold hands/hug alot in public will this offend the Japanese?
Are you two of the same sex?

If not, there is no issues in this regard.


If yes, there are no issues in this regard either. Lots of teenie girls (like you) do this all the time.
by asdf (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Cultural differences 2012/5/16 13:22
Ask for non-fermented non-alcohol beer. It is becoming popular.
No physical touching between you & your friend, even the same or an opposite sex except hand shakes in a business meeting or you will be considered immature.
A translator is expensive. Who is paying?
If you want to hire one, make sure you get the prior agreement. They don't want any misunderstandings or surprises.
by amazinga (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Cultural differences 2012/5/16 14:44
Thanks guys!! Really appreciate the comments, it quells my fears a bit :)
by Zandria rate this post as useful

Re: Cultural differences 2012/5/16 18:12
Zandria,

I guess I'm running out of business. Just kidding. Whether it is rude to hire whatever professional you have in mind depends on the situation. Please be a bit more specific on why you think it is rude.

Cheers,
Translator
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Cultural differences 2012/5/16 18:37
Translator: lol,I just dont know how they feel about it. If I think about it the language barrier is a bit frustrating to me since its harder to express yourself that way. So not totally rude but Id say uncomfortable..Almost like going on a blind date and they bring a translator with..get it ? sorry nothing against your job.
by Zandria rate this post as useful

Re: Cultural differences 2012/5/16 19:12
The way I take it (I happen to be an interpreter by the way - usually "translator" is one who does written work, and "interpreter" is the one you hire for meetings) is that you are coming to Japan to have a business meeting, but you are unable to express yourself in Japanese, so to assist you, you hire an interpreter, so nothing wrong with that :)

In reality, though, you might ask, as an earlier poster suggested already, your business counterpart if they have an interpreter/translator as you do not speak Japanese. Then they might say oh they can speak fluently in English, or they know someone they hire regularly, or that they can arrange for one, etc.
by AK (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Cultural differences 2012/5/17 04:46
you might ask, as an earlier poster suggested already, your business counterpart if they have an interpreter/translator

Yes, but doesn't that depend on the situation?

For example, if your business partner has invited you, you have every right to ask that. I would say it would even be natural, and usually it is the host who brings an interpreter/translator along.

But if you are the one who are coming to Japan to sell something, or moreover the one inviting your business partner to dinner, wouldn't it be rude to say, "I know you're busy and that you're not really interested in me, but I would like to do business with you. So can you go through your files to see if you have a translator for me?" It would be much better to say, "Oh, thank you for taking your time to see me. And by the way, don't worry about the language barrier. I have a translator/interpreter with me."

...which was what I was trying to say. So anyway, it depends on why and how you are meeting these people and who you are.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Cultural differences 2012/5/17 08:11
Uco-san,

Sorry if I seemed to intervene. Yes I agree it depends on the situation. I just wanted to see how the original poster thought it could be "rude to hire" one, so... what I wanted to say mainly was the first paragraph I wrote :) The rest about how things may be arranged is of course up to the specific circumstances leaving up to the meeting. Sorry.
by AK (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Cultural differences 2012/5/17 08:49
in terms of hugging etc, it is uncommon for japanese people to hug and show other public displays of affection. I have a number of friends in Japan and they have told me that hugging is generally seen as being a romantic interaction.

On the other hand it is quite common for Japanese girls to hold hands when they are walking together which is less common in western countries.
by clairelouise rate this post as useful

Re: Cultural differences 2012/5/17 21:19
AK, point taken.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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