Overcoming the Language Barrier

Problem Clairvoyante, Inc.’s technical experts were called upon by their Japanese development partners to present and explain the theory and technical underpinnings of the display technology Clairvoyante had invented. However, due to language barriers, the technical presentations were only moderately effective.
Analysis Written and verbal communications were all in English. Most of the development partner’s team communicated only in Japanese.
Action In phases, Matt started by translating verbally the presentation material and Q&A discussions between Clairvoyante and its development partner’s engineering teams. Next, Matt translated the written technical material into Japanese so that the partner engineers could follow along with handouts in their native language. Finally, Matt became sufficiently familiar with the technical content so that he could present the material verbally himself with the Clairvoyante’s technical experts responding to specific questions from their partner team during Q&A sessions.
Result Partner development teams became more engaged in the presentation, came up to speed more quickly on the technology, and were able to produce prototype products more quickly. Also, fewer of Clairvoyante’s technical experts needed to travel, thereby lowering costs, as well.


“A small incorrect translation, especially on the technical side, can change the meaning dramatically. We always get the intended meanings and results with Sakino Consulting.”
— Andy Yoshida, VP Sales, Nidec Sankyo America Corporation