Cross-cultural Consultancy


Our cross-cultural consultancy portfolio is designed to support individuals and companies facing the international/cross-cultural challenges of the day.

The buzz words ‘Business Culture training’ (BCT), ‘Cross Culture’ (XC) etc. have now gained a high profile for individuals and companies engaged in international markets. The challenge has developed from simply learning how others speak, although we must never underestimate the impact of addressing overseas business contacts in their native tongue. The old sociolinguistic considerations of ‘who speaks what to whom and when’ do still hold good, whether for the researcher in linguistics or for the overseas sales manager, but there are other considerations playing an increasingly greater role.

Attention needs to focus upon the challenge of ‘how best to make your own practices understood and how to understand the practices of others’: communication is not always synonymous with comprehension. The issues can be presented under the varied pseudonyms of International Business Relations, Cross-cultural Management, Transcultural Business and many more besides.

Consideration of these issues focuses not on any ethnic divide but upon four major themes:

  1. the PSYCHOLOGICAL (how foreign counterparts – whether in business or not – function as individuals);
  2. the SOCIOLOGICAL (how the contexts in which those counterparts function vary);
  3. the EXPRESSIVE (how people express themselves) and
  4. the DYADIC (how to communicate with members of a particular community).

Between them, these themes cover a multitude of topics including all manner of the linguistic (constituting up to 20% of human communication) and the paralinguistic (constituting up to 90% of human communication).

The topics include body language; proxemics; native/non-native expression; diversity of business etiquette; target language/culture; culture shock; International Business (Off-Shore) English; eye contact; word base; mannerisms; registers.

Many companies large and small, national and international, at home and abroad have profited from our tailored BCT programmes.

To meet our clients’ in-house requirements for employees to develop more effective written communications skills, we offer a range of individual and group programmes covering such topics as:

  • Report Writing
  • Emailing
  • Business Correspondence
  • Letter Writing
  • Press Releases etc.

Our country-specific programmes (China Specific, Spain Specific etc.) are designed to orientate, prepare and train course delegates for living and working abroad on a temporary or permanent basis.

Our expertise crosses all language divides and covers:

  • Editing and proofing
  • Writing copy for publication (i.e., dissemination at home and abroad)
  • Transcribing recordings (audio and video) for business and forensic needs

Dr J L Kettle-Williams – Specialist in verbal and non-verbal human communication

Spanish and French with Russian (BA London), anthropological linguistics in Quechua and Guaraní with Spanish Dialectology & Varietology (MLitt St Andrews), socio- & psycho-linguistics (PhD St Andrews/CNAA: Language Selection in Paraguay), Guaraní (Diploma Asunción) and Spanish (Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Linguists). Knowledge of German, Italian, Latin, Esperanto and Arabic.

Language and communication skills acquired over four decades:

  • 20 years in lecturing (> Principal Lecturer HE) involving all aspects of the linguistic sciences incl. Etymology, Philology, Phonetics, Semantics.
  • Recognised within and beyond academe in the field of linguistics (synchronic and diachronic), paralinguistics, translation and inter/cross/trans-cultural matters (HE and commerce), regularly lecturing (HE, NGOs, large corporates etc.) and publishing on same (1970- ).
  • Experienced in the business sector (1990- ) in all matters concerned with corporate identity, presentation and communication. One of the original communications consultants (freelance) to be registered to UKTI (1995- ) responsible for advising British companies – notably SMEs (Small/Medium-Size Enterprises), in excess of 150 to date – with regard to MARCOMS (Market Communications). Regularly employed by the DTI to train international trade advisers on communicative matters (linguistic, paralinguistic and cross-cultural) such as impact on trade and commerce.
  • Formerly Editor (ten years) to The Linguist, the journal of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and for many years served on Council to the Institute.
  • Publications, broadcasts, consultancy and training address the full range of above issues.
  • Familiarity with court procedure* and cross-examination.

Forensic matters addressing market penetration/marketing, promotion and positioning, branding, product names, trade/trading names, trade-off, visual imaging/logos, displays, font/text analysis and appraisal, signage/signing, colours, fonts, synergy, interpretation of meaning (visual and verbal), use of language(s) and matters endo- & exo- communicative (linguistic and paralinguistic).

*Court experience includes Belmarsh, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, RCJ, Snaresbrook

This is a subsidised, core service from UKTI (UK Trade & Investment) available to eligible exporting SMEs to ensure that efforts in attracting, accessing or servicing export markets are supported by an appropriate and complementary communications strategy. Dr J L Kettle-Williams is registered to deliver such Export Communications Reviews on behalf of UK Trade & Investment. Explanatory documentation (hard copy or electronic) is available on request. Our confidential client base is in excess of 350 companies.

For companies looking to take product to overseas markets we offer comprehensive advisory and action services encompassing Market Research; Product Tailoring; Tooling; Personnel Training; Partnering; Identification of Agents; Market Penetration.

For those wishing not to inflict ‘death by Powerpoint’ or otherwise on their listeners we offer dedicated training in presentation skills and public speaking.

For companies and organisations (incl. all levels of State education, export clubs, chambers of commerce, societies etc.) we are regularly contracted to talk and give presentations on subjects addressing our expertise. Recent topics have included: Why studying languages at school puts you on the front foot; Don’t get cross with cross culture (A global view of business practices); UKTI’s services to business; Starting out as a Professional Translator; From Arabia to the Andes (Business practices); Spanish – back to the future; Working with Languages (Schools/Undergraduate careers advice); Overcoming the barriers to international business communication.

To request a free confidential quotation, get in touch today