Tag Archives: English

Image of a woman looking into a microscope next to the text “English under the microscope”

Improving Your English – A Lot Less Painful Than the Dentist

It took a while to register what she was saying.

Me? I need a filling?

I know, I know, people get dental fillings every day. It’s a routine procedure but I’ve managed until the grand age of 38 without any and I don’t want to start now.
For years I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security by five star dental check-ups. One particular dentist I remember scratching his head in confusion and saying my teeth were virtually indestructible. Well, neither he or I reckoned on my wisdom teeth.

My wisdom is leaking out… and needs to be repaired! I can already attribute one bad decision I’ve made this week to my leaking wisdom.

Now, I’m not in any pain, there was no obvious warning but if left alone the decay could reach the nerve and cause major problems. An X-ray highlighted the issue and it makes sense to go ahead before it starts causing me pain. Nobody wants to suffer.

Often, you’re oblivious to the problem until it’s too late. Then the real pain sets in and you’ve got a major headache to deal with. It’s the same with your business.

You’ve poured tens of thousands of euros into launching your products to a new market. Your website pages are all shiny and new, sparkling with the promise of future sales. Your product brochures are freshly printed, technical datasheets translated, you’re all set. And yet you’re not getting the response you got when you launched elsewhere.  What’s going on?

If you’ve covered the essentials – your market research is solid, you know there’s a demand for your product, and your marketing and sales colleagues are driving traffic to your website – could it be the English?

Premium products need premium marketing. And that includes the quality of your English.

Take a look at your English and consider if any of these issues could be slowing down the number of enquiries you’re getting:

  • The wording is slightly off and feels foreign. The odd incorrect word choice and grammar issue can make the text stand out for all the wrong reasons.
  • The English is a direct translation of the German. If there are cultural references, your reader might not grasp the concept. The word play probably won’t work and could sound bizarre.
  • You see a slight smile on the faces of your British business partners when you hand over the product brochures. They’ve spotted something that doesn’t quite work in their language but it’s not their job to point this out and would be impolite to tell you.
  • Maybe your new target buyer doesn’t face the same problems your regular clients have. They may have a slightly different set-up and you’ve created a product or service that they think doesn’t help achieve their objectives. (It most likely does but you need a different angle).
  • You can’t put your finger on it but now you’re reading the text again, there’s that niggling feeling that something isn’t right. As a result, you don’t promote it with 100% confidence and your buyers notice.

Just as with early dental decay, there’s no immediate pain. Only a specialist can identify the issue and suggest preventative treatment to nip things in the bud.

That’s why I offer my English Under the Microscope service.

What do you get?

You’ll get a native Brit’s honest perspective on your message, suggestions for improving your English to appeal to your target market and native speakers. I’ll also highlight what’s working for reassurance so you can be fully confident when you market your products internationally.

All created as a screencast video with a written report to share with your colleagues and start working through.

What’s more, the investment of £97 or €113 + VAT is fully redeemable against any work booked with me in the following six months.

It’s a quick way to gain reassurance and take preventative action to fix any issues in your English that are stopping you achieve your sales targets. And a lot less painful than the dentist.

Put your English Under the Microscope here.

Shiny red car, oil up your English engine

Oil Up Your English Engine

If you’ve ever made a snap judgement about someone in the first few seconds you’ll know this to be true: First impressions count.

My car mechanic fits the stereotype of most mechanics I’ve dealt with since owning a car. He’d much rather have his head under the car bonnet than deal with actual people.

When he does offer a bit of banter, it’s usually a sarcastic comment about the state of my car: Er, unfortunately we don’t provide a car clean as part of our service… What do you do to your wiper blades, eat them?!

This year, nothing. I’d cleaned and hoovered it inside and it was looking pretty nice. Still, when I asked how the car was doing for its age I was stunned to receive praise for looking after my car.

It had to be the advance clean.

When a prospective client comes into your world, what’s their first impression?

Are they guided through your website seamlessly to get the required information? Or does something make them stop and reconsider if you’re the best option for them?

Mistakes in the English can put off British buyers.

I know it’s got nothing to do with your product or service but it has a bigger impact than you’d think.

The first mistake will be forgiven, the second one will jar, and a third will make them question your attention to detail. Your reader will connect problems with your English to issues with your product.

They’ll consider if you can deal with English speakers in the event of technical issues.

They’ll wonder if perhaps they should look for a local company because suddenly, all the obstacles such as currency fluctuation, longer leadtimes, minor cultural differences become a bigger issue.

And this all happens almost subconsciously in a few seconds.

You do the same don’t you? Make snap judgements about a person or company based on something seemingly minor.

The English is an easy one to fix if you have the right person to help.

I’ll take a look and if everything’s in order, I’ll send you away without charging you a penny.

Otherwise I’ll service your English engine and make sure your British buyer’s first impression is as smooth as a well-oiled vehicle.

A litter bin next to the text “The difference a letter can make”

The Difference A Letter Makes

Tourists of the world! Do you still send postcards?

If so – and you’re visiting Britain – make sure you’re putting them in an actual post box.

The difference between your friends and family receiving your news and a scenic picture of our country depends on one vowel and some cultural knowledge.


Yes, that’s right, a colleague of mine in Bristol noticed a Japanese tourist dropping a whole bunch of freshly written postcards into a litter (rubbish) bin.

He was too far away to run and stop them and what’s worse, it’s a regular occurrence.

Bristol city council have black litter bins with gold lettering spelling out the word ‘litter’ and then the name and logo of the council. And in a world where everything looks alien to you, it’s a seemingly easy mistake to make.

He’ll never know the reason why his postcards didn’t arrive.

Silly errors have ramifications and these kind of mistakes are happening all the time in business too.

A misspelt word here or there could mean the difference between a potential customer finding you on the internet. Or not.

It could reflect poorly on your reputation for taking care of the finer details.

It could mean the difference between securing a contract or losing the business. And you may never know why.

If you’re doing your own translations, please get a second person to check over your work. Ideally a native speaker who can add a bit of cultural insight if needed. A little extra effort can make a huge difference.

Don’t do the business equivalent of putting your postcards in the rubbish bin.