All posts by Sarah Silva

Big Ben and the Thames at sunset to reflect the sun setting on the UK-EU relationship with Brexit

Brexit, it’s different but also the same

Big Ben and the Thames at sunset to reflect the sun setting on the UK-EU relationship with Brexit
London needs to build new bridges after Brexit

Things I like about being British: Tea, marmite, the English language, the sarcastic sense of humour, the vast range of different accents and regional characteristics. The fact I can get to the coast in less than an hour, and the melting pot of different cultures.

Things I don’t love about being British: The weather, the inability of much of the population to learn a language, and now Brexit.

Despite my heartfelt wishes otherwise, the UK business secretary tells me the UK has indeed left the EU and the transition period ended on 31 December 2020. What a way to end a horrendous year!

Living in Kent, in South East England, I’m only too aware of potential problems this can cause international manufacturers. We have a dedicated space affectionately called the ‘Brexit car park’, which was already put to work in December when France locked her borders. Add a certain virus into the mix and you can understand why I was still receiving Christmas cards in mid-January.

What changes post Brexit?

Current guidance may be subject to minor amendments. I have attended a lot of information sessions, read government advice and spoken to relevant experts. However, as things stand, nothing changes for my clients in the way they work with me.

I deliver translation and proof-reading work by email or using a secure file transmission service and accept payment in euros. Video conference calls enable us to speak face to face, at least virtually, and I still intend to travel to events in Germany to meet in person when it’s safe and possible again. There’s no difference between working with me or a person a few miles away from you. Except with me you get a native speaker to polish your English texts to perfection. 

An ear to the ground

You get someone who works almost exclusively with companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Living in the UK means that I have one ear open to the subtle nuances of language as it changes. You can see just how rapidly language changes when provoked from the Covid terminology that has popped up. And how the pandemic has altered the meaning of pre-existing terms. On the flip side, although I’m well versed in your industry and native language, I don’t presume to know everything. You’re the expert when it comes to your products or research. You can expect the odd question from me to clarify and help decide whether translation option A or B fits best.

Should you need any help with amending documentation, product labelling or providing updates to your customers and business partners, then please get in touch.

Ace Your Next Online or Hybrid Event

Top Tips to Make Sure You Present With Impact

Forget your industry event, the biggest event in 2020 is still ongoing and has taken the phrase “going viral” back to its roots. While Covid-19 has led to cancellations of in-person events… well, everywhere, we’re still marketing, launching, and doing business the best way we can. The autumn will see many events being held either completely online or a hybrid version with some people attending in person and the rest online.

Most events have been moved online

Which means you can still network with people from around the world, even if you’re working from home.

The new set-up for these events also presents a fantastic opportunity for people who wouldn’t or couldn’t travel to an event normally. They now get the chance to attend and as a presenter, panellist or exhibitor, your international audience could be bigger than ever.

And if you are presenting, there’ll be less general hubbub and fewer shiny stands competing for attention, your audience will focus on your talk. Let’s make every second count, get your slides working hard for you, and turn your presentation into a way to connect with a bigger audience.

Make it snappy

Do you know why TED talks are 18-20 minutes long? 18 minutes is the average concentration span of an adult. So if your presentation is up to an hour, make sure you break it into three smaller chunks. And go easy on your audience. They’re probably going to be attending multiple presentations so try to distil your topic into one key message for people to remember. You can discuss different aspects of this message, but realistically, people won’t remember all the details. If it’s a topic they’re interested in, they can contact you – the expert – for more information. Which is your ultimate aim, isn’t it?

Keep in contact

Ideally, you want to capture as many contact details as possible so you can follow-up with people who are interested in your topic. What could you offer to encourage this? A white paper, report, consultation, a competition even? Many presenters offer to send out slides, but I’d much rather receive the slides or slide content incorporated into a more interesting, easy-to-absorb package.

Clear and useful resource instead of slides without any context –
how can you present your content best?

Watch your words with an international audience

If your talk is in English, send it to me in advance so I can give it a native English speaker read-through. Although I’m British, I can switch to US English spelling or a more neutral ‘international English’ many of my clients require. In other words, English that non-native speakers find easy to understand. Because a large chunk of your international audience will use English as their business language, but they won’t be native speakers. This means avoiding idioms and any complex word play or strong cultural references that may confuse people.

The worst offenders for not considering their audience are native English speakers, I’m afraid to say. Strong regional accents, complex terminology, and cultural references abound unless they’re used to working internationally. I once sat at a talk at a speciality chemical conference and cringed as one presenter used overly complex language. And then made a joke that didn’t translate at all – the gentleman from Shanghai to my right asked me for a summary.

Watch your accent

We all have accents, so that small talk at the start of a presentation to make sure everyone can hear you and the technology is working serves a greater purpose. It helps your audience get used to your accent so they don’t miss any important points. If you prefer to wow your audience right from the start, make sure you repeat your initial key point again, just in case they missed it while their ears and brains were adjusting.

Consider your international audience

Through no fault of your own, some of your international audience may still struggle to follow your presentation. A Polish colleague once commented he couldn’t understand an Irish presenter who was doing all the right things but didn’t have any of her key points on her slides. If you couldn’t tune into her accent, you had little idea of the content. If people are interested enough to come to your talk, make sure they don’t leave frustrated, give them some engaging slides to follow at least and the promise of something more.

Thank you for your attention

Please don’t put this on your last slide. Thank your audience, but your last slide should detail what you want your audience to do next. If they stay right until the end of your talk, they probably have more than a passing interest and would like to know more.

Repeat your key message. Make a valuable offer. Include your contact details. Encourage your audience to take action before their attention moves on and you lose the opportunity to stay in touch.

Tell me, which event are you attending or presenting at next? And if you’d like help with your English presentation, you can reach me at [email protected]

Typically British – International Tea Day

How do you like yours? Mine’s top right: strong, black tea with milk, hold the sugar

At times of crisis, Britons put the kettle on. It’s no surprise then, that sales of tea have increased sharply since lockdown. And today, 21 May 2020, we’re celebrating International Tea Day!

Tea is used to soothe nerves, enjoy with a biscuit or cake, gossip over with a friend. It’s the first beverage you offer a visitor.

Britain is second only to Ireland in its tea-drinking habits, and that’s going some. We drink an estimated 100 million cups of tea a day compared with 70 million cups of coffee.

Although fruit and herbal teas are available and increasingly popular, black tea (with milk mostly) makes up 85 % of our tea consumption. You can see why a recent translation citing lemon as Europe’s most popular tea tested my British roots.

And why my family looked on aghast when I returned from a year in Germany with ‘fancy ideas’, suggesting an alternative to our standard cuppa.

Keeping the Workforce Going

Standard everyday tea is what our nation is built on. Literally. It’s called Builder’s Brew partly because 90 % of tradesmen rely on access to a kettle and a constant supply of tea while they work.  

Despite being a southerner, my favourite is the northern Yorkshire tea. Pop in a mug, add fresh boiling water and let brew for a couple of minutes. Add a splash of milk (you know you want to) and a little sugar if you like it sweet.

If you really can’t stand the idea of milk, I’ll allow you a slice of lemon and honey as my friend Agata prefers.

Fortunately for us tea lovers, black tea is said to have a raft of health benefits, including the antioxidants it contains that help fight inflammation. Any excuse to put the kettle on I say. Here’s to International Tea Day, cheers!

For more fun facts and a bit of the history behind our humble cuppa, head here: