You are currently viewing archive for March 2009
Posted By P & L Blog
The Euro


"Everyone in Europe speaks English."   If I had a dollar - or a euro - for every time I've heard that, I'd be sitting in a cafe somewhere in Europe right now.  The truth is, 44% of Europeans can speak only one language.


In six member states, more than half of the population does not speak a second language: Ireland (66%), United Kingdom (62%), Italy (59%), Hungary (58%), Portugal (58%), and Spain (56%). 


Only 28% of Europeans polled by the European Commission's Eurobarometer survey speak two foreign languages.  These "multilingual" Europeans tend to be young and well-educated. They also have multilingual backgrounds, meaning they were born in another EU country, or their parents are from different EU countries than where they currently live.


If you're betting that English-only user manuals and websites will work for the European market,  I'll take your bet.


Posted By P & L Blog

La Cafetera


Radio Lingua Network's Coffee Break series provides audio language courses in French and Spanish for beginners.  The 15-20 minute lessons can be downloaded or heard online.


If you're planning a trip abroad and you want to learn a few key words and phrases of a language, Radio Lingua offers One Minute courses in twelve different languages including Catalan, French, Japanese, Mandarin, and Russian.


Take a break, make yourself a cup of coffee, and start learning at 




Photo by Roberto Muñoz. Licensed under Creative Commons.


Posted By P & L Blog

International Women's Day


Every year on March 8, the economic, social and political achievements of women all over the world are celebrated.  It is an oficial holiday in some countries, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, and Cuba.  Although the first International Women's Day took place in 1911, it was not officially sanctioned by the United Nations until 1975 when it began sponsoring IWD.


This year's United Nations theme for International Women's Day is "Women and men united to end violence against women and girls". 


For more information on the history and the celebrations taking place this year in honor of women, visit

Posted By P & L Blog

Business Meeting



In the United States we use business cards as a quick way to exchange contact information.  In other countries, having a business card translated into your hosts' language is a sign of respect and shows you are serious about doing business with them.


Here's how to get started:


Edit, edit, edit.  The people you are meeting only need to know your name, your title, who you work for, and how to contact you. 


Do not have the address translated.  A package couriered to you with your address in Chinese will be undeliverable in the U.S.


Look at the phone number on your card.  If it is a toll-free number, it will not work from outside the U.S.  Replace it with a number that can be called from abroad, including the country code.


Check your itinerary.  If you are going to Hong Kong and mainland China, you will need two different cards.  Traditional Chinese characters are used in Taiwan and Hong Kong while you will need a card with simplified characters for the mainland.


Do you want your name translated?  Many people decide to have their name transliterated into characters based on the pronunciation of their name.  This will help your hosts say your name correctly.





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