The way we say things matters

This lovely little piece of mis-translation came through my Twitter feed over the weekend (originally from Sheenagh Pugh):

chinese

I am reliably informed by team mates in our Zhuhai office that a better translation would read “Keep off the grass”, but the wording as it is makes for a much nicer message I think. (For a much more in-depth look at this translation problem, check out the post on this very topic on the Language Log.)

This got me thinking about the way we express ourselves as testers. We’re often the bringers of bad news and choosing how to express that information to our stakeholders can make a huge difference to how both the individual tester and the profession of testing is perceived.

I’ve been reading recently about interactional expertise (Collins and Evans) and emotional intelligence and I think these are subjects that testers need to be familiar with to help them interact with their varied stakeholders in more effective ways. While writing good defect reports is still an essential (and overlooked) skill, the ability to communicate with stakeholders more generally is becoming more and more important especially in agile teams, so I’m sure that developing these skills will elevate testers within their teams and help to make them the valued team members they really should be.

(And, while I’m here, I strongly recommend that you grab yourself a copy of the latest Status Quo album, called “Aquostic“. This is the band’s first all acoustic effort and has just charted in the UK at number 5, not bad for a band in its sixth decade!)

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