Sunday, March 17, 2013
It Tastes Like What?
Jason Chow wrote an intriguing article in the March 14 edition of the Wall Street Journal - Lost in Translation: The Lingo for Tasting Wine (online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324735304578354481799586190.html).
The article is about how differently Americans and Chinese wine drinkers describe the wines they taste. It isn’t simply that they use different words but that they have different points of reference to draw on. How does someone who has never tasted a raspberry or Chuiuchow master stock understand wine when those taste references are the description?
This article reminded me it isn’t enough to avoid slang, acronyms and sports references to be sure our emails racing around the world are easy for the reader to understand. We need to think carefully about the reference points we use to describe everything. Blue like a blueberry? As potent and fragrant as a durian? Tall as the Eiffel Tower? As old as the Great Wall? Don’t send your readers on a Google search to try to translate your meaning. Make it easy to catch your message.