Spanish for Professional Purposes...

...for teachers and students who see the need for Spanish language and Hispanic cultures knowledge in professional contexts.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tweak Your Spanish for Professional Contexts

It seems that everyone with a beginning foundation in Spanish language skills would like to be able to tweak that Spanish for the workplace context, but too often there seems to be a gap between the Spanish one has learned and the Spanish one seems to need in the professional context.

For example, everyone learns numbers and letters in the first days of studying Spanish.  But then those building blocks are too often discarded as "basic" and never revisited after those first days of Spanish class.

However, imagine all you could get done in a work place if you really know how to manage the simple building blocks that are numbers and letters:

  • you could take accurate phone messages
  • you could provide addresses and phone numbers
  • you could spell the names and talk about dosages of medicines
  • you could make sure important forms (taxes! birth certificates!) are filled out accurately
  • you could ask for spellings of words you are not understanding when spoken
  • you could "talk money"--asking for and giving prices, totals, offers and counter-offers
  • you can talk about time in increments of hours, days, weeks and months.

Here are some ways to maximize your knowledge of letters and numbers in Spanish:

First, practice to make sure to know all the letters and at least the numbers 0-9.

Then develop strategies for getting and giving information in a form that you can understand.  For example, it is sometimes useful to give an honest assessment of your Spanish skills: "no hablo mucho, pero puedo escribir un mensaje."

Concentrate on making very specific requests and asking specific questions:

Número por número, por favor.            One number at a time, please.
¿Lo puede deletrear, por favor?            Can you spell that, please?
Más despacio, por favor.                        Slower, please.
Le voy a repetir la información…         I am going to repeat that back to you...   

Avoid asking for general repetition using "¿Qué?" and "¿Cómo?" That tends to frustrate both parties and cause the communication to break down rather than improving the exchange of information.

Try this at work!!

No comments:

Post a Comment