‘Translation is a journey over a sea from one shore to the other.’
My employer brand education began with the Nuba tribe. It started with a degree in anthropology, and an extended stay in the Sudan as a teacher, actor and freelance anthropologist. It led to a passionate interest in organizational culture and brands. What I learnt in the Sudan was that the world is incredibly diverse. Of the roughly 6,500 languages spoken in the world today, over 100 are native to the Sudan. I also learnt that it gets a lot easier to communicate in the marketplace when you speak a ‘lingua franca’, or ‘bridging’ language. In the Sudan there were two bridging languages, Arabic, which I became reasonably fluent in at the time, and English, which I'm still struggling with.
Negotiating lunch in the marketplace was relatively straightforward compared to some of my other bridging challenges I had to deal with. I joined an English theatre tour playing Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man, which we soon learned to over-act, as we realized from the audiences' reactions that their understanding largely depended on body language. I then taught English with a major helping of Shakespeare. Macbeth is a magnificent play but seemed an extremely remote and foreign text to teach to young African teenagers. While the language was often difficult, they grasped the plot very quickly. They loved the dark deeds and the final retribution. The finer points of ...