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How computer modelling assists negotiations

In this week Economist there’s a very interesting article about game theory, a branch of mathematics which is used to work out how events will unfold as people and organisations act in what they perceive to be their best interests. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is a political Scientist, professor at New York University and senior fellow at Stanford University‘s Hoover Institution. He founded the company, Mesquita & Roundell, which specialises in making political and foreign-policy forecasts: 90% of their results are accurate to the real facts!

Forecasting behaviour using game theory is proving especially useful when applied to economics. Applied game theory tools have proven their ability in assisting decision-makers predict the outcome of negotiations and increasing their ability to influence others, for instance by anticipating reactions from political parties.

As negotiators everywhere know, the first side to disclose all that it is willing to sacrifice (or pay) loses considerable bargaining power. If you are not able to put your opponent under pressure, your side can be pushed back to its bottom line by a clever opponent. But if neither side reveals the concessions it is prepared to make, negotiations can stall or collapse.

Utilising good communication is fundamental in most circumstances of life, not only for heads of state. If you want to make sure that your message is communicated well, ask SanTranslate.

By | September 7th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

Is that a Fish in Your Ear?


Are you curious about how translation actually works? If so you may be interested in Penguin’s publication of the book ‘Is That a Fish in Your Ear?’ by David Bellos, an English-born translator and biographer who currently teaches French, Italian and comparative literature at Princeton University in the United States.

Today, translation is essential to cope with the diversity of languages we are exposed to. Without translation there would be no world news and you couldn’t enjoy reading international literature in your own language. If you are more practical than romantic, think also about manuals for car repairs or the ones that prove to be indispensable in putting together your flat pack furniture.

What’s the difference between translating unpolished natural speech, and translating Madame Bovary? How do you translate a joke? What’s the difference between a native tongue and a learned one? Can you translate between any pair of languages, or only between some? What really goes on when world leaders speak at the UN? Can machines ever replace human translators, and if not, why? Bellos clings to the view that even the most difficult and complicated things can be explained in plain and comprehensible prose.

By | September 7th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

Businesswomen – An Important Resource

“Sister Dong”, as Ms Dong Mingzhu is known by her employees who appear to adore her, is China’s leading businesswoman and runs Gree Electric Appliances. The youngest of seven children in a family of ordinary workers in Nanjing, she is a legend in China known particularly for her book, “Regretless Pursuit” about her success in running Gree Electric, which is a best seller. In 2002 a TV drama about her life was a big success and in 2009 she was named one of BusinessWeek’s 40 most-influential people in China. “I love a challenge. I stick to my principles. In my view, doing the best job is very important, which has also helped me to work my way from the basic level to a leadership position,” she says. China is home to many businesswomen: seven of the 14 women identified on Forbes magazine’s list of self-made billionaires are Chinese.

“Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets: Why Women are the Solution” is a book written by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Ripa Rashid. The authors look at how employers attract and retain women in Brazil, Russia, India and China, the so-called BRIC nations – as well as in the United Arab Emirates. Interestingly, it is becomming known that living in emerging markets offers many advantages for female professionals. On the one hand there are plenty of cheap babysitters; on the other hand corporate culture is changing very fast, not least because companies are hiring so many young people.

In spite of that, the authors point out how many steep obstacles businesswomen have to face. How can they stay on the fast track if, as in the UAE, they cannot travel without a male chaperone? And how can they be taken seriously if, as in Russia, the term “businesswoman” is synonymous with prostitute? Prudent firms focus on the two biggest problems for working women in emerging markets: looking after their ageing parents and commuting. A growing number of companies provide flexi-time so that women can work from home. Ernst & Young holds family days to show parents what their daughters have achieved and also offers medical cover for parents. Many companies provide their female staff with late-night shuttle buses and many female-only taxi companies are springing up in India, the UAE and Brazil.

Businesswomen are an important resource to boost the growth of emerging markets, which can open a wide range of new opportunities also for western companies. Ask SanTranslate, your professional language services provider, if you want to target the BRICs: choosing the right words is very important, because every word is a BRICK designed to pave the way for your success!

By | September 6th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments
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