This can be simply put as communication between different cultures. It is used to describe the wide range of communication barriers that exist after interaction of people with different cultures. As the word is growing into a global village, interactions between people of diverse culture are increasing as the world becomes smaller. People are travelling from their birth places to seek to start life in different places hence the result of intercultural communication. In USA for example, people from the US can be found in different parts of the world as they are seeking new environments as well people from other parts of the world are increasing in number in the United States of America. Also, within a country there are also people of different cultures but of the same country, these results in various subcultures in one country and inter mingling among them results in intercultural communication. This is mainly observed in the African countries as a result of the various sub tribes represented.
Translation and interpretation are two similar words in English confused by many people due to the lack of training skills and language knowledge, hence, seeing them to possess the same meaning. But in real case, they are very different words with different meanings completely. Translation is the process of communicating of a source language text using an equivalent required language text. Translation began to be used after the use of written literature became popular. The major difference between the two is that the interpreter translates orally while the translator translates by use of written text. But both interpretation and translation involve knowledge of more than one language and skills in the use of languages in an efficient manner.
Interpretation and translation has positively impacted on intercultural communication. Considering the great skills and knowledge of translators and interpreters, learning of foreign language has become easier as people are in a better position to learn the languages of the communities they are interacting with as well as their way of life hence increasing the adoption process. Through understanding of one another, business, intermarriages and treaties have been able to be formed as people are in a position to understand each other and appreciate each other’s cultures as well.
Variations in communication style affect how people relate with people of other cultures. There are four know communication styles and these include creative, analytical, friendly and result-driven. While people are interacting they may use any or multiple of the methods stated above, they depend with the choice of the individual. Creative style involves use of innovative ways in communication; this involves mainly business related interaction as they are looking for innovative and new ways to increase their business hence interaction with people of various cultures. Result driven style involves interaction due to a certain reason and that remains the only objective of the interaction. This increases intercultural communication as people are interacting globally for the various reasons. Friendly style of communication involves communication which seeks to maintain smooth relationship between people and reduction of conflict. In Africa for example, intermarriages were practiced by various communities to bring peace between the communities. This is a good form of friendly style of communication has it has good interest to be served by both parties. Analytical style of communication involves employment of carefully thought analysis to produce results. This variation when used results in strict communication strings which are not favourable to many hence in a way inhibits intercultural communication.
One’s culture defines our history. Culture can be defined as a group of people way of life, how they carry about their day to day activities and how they respond to issues. In context, culture is what defines a person. The society one is brought up will affect the individuals traits as the individual will adapt to the society he/she lives in. depending on the cultural practices of the society, individuals of different communities will differ in character and mannerisms differently. This implies that one’s history greatly affect one’s identity or a groups identity. A good example is a situation where an adult born and has lived in Chicago, USA is compared to an adult born and has lived in New York. They will both show different reactions to situations and different characters. Even their accents and language of communication will have a bit of differences due to their history.
There are various theories that have been constructed to explain reasons and ways of intercultural communication. Some of the theories include the acculturation theory, uncertainty reduction theory and the extended parallel process model (EPPM). Acculturation is “the process by which people of diverse culture groups interrelate and adjust to each other”. According to Greenland, this theory states that intergroup contact is psychologically intimidating to minorities. As one moves from one place to another where his kind is not that widespread, he or she will struggle to adapt to the new environment due to tot the completely different cultural practices he or she will find. One may not feel completely comfortable resulting to a psychological threat. Greenland a researcher, conducted a research among 54 Japanese women and men who have attended college in the United Kingdom. Most of the lectures were in English and the teaching staffs were mostly non-Japanese, the results of the research showed that intergroup anxiety was due to increase in acculturative stress. This affects communication as one struggles to adapt the language as well as communicate with the national with the foreign language, leading to a communication barrier.
Contact hypothesis can be viewed as one of the best available ways to improve relations and contact between groups of people that are undergoing conflict. It was developed by Gordon W. Allport in 1954 and is also known as Intergroup Contact Hypothesis. The theory states that under appropriate conditions, personal contact between the majority and the minority is the most effective way to reduce prejudice. For Contact Hypothesis to hold true certain conditions must hold and these include equal status, common goals, intergroup cooperation, support of authorities, law or customs and personal interaction. To start with, personal interaction must exist between the groups involved. Members of the conflicting groups need to interact with one another to help them learn more about each other as these reduces prejudice. Both groups should also be treated as equals each having equal status and responsibilities. Members of the same group are considered to have the same qualities, backgrounds and characteristics. Intergroup cooperation is a must as both groups will be expected to come and work together to achieve a common goal without competition. As the different groups come together, various resources and skills are incorporated hence delivery is efficient.
Six imperative for studying intercultural communication are cultural-individual, difference-similarities, personal contextual, history/past-present/future, static-dynamic and privileged-disadvantage. Cultural-individual and personal contextual are important as they enable one to learn the cultures of another community hence understand it much better leading to fast Adoptions of different cultures by different people. This gives one the patience to understand people as he or she will have an idea of the way of life of the said group of people. Culture-individual helps one to know that people are affected by culture differently hence not all people of the same culture are the same, hence need to understand and individual as an own self.
Hofstede cultural dimension theory is a theory formulated by Geert Hofstede to explain cross cultural communication. It explains the effects of a society’s culture on the members’ behaviour and values. The theory proposed various dimensions which cultural values can be analyzed, these including: individualism-collectivism: power distance which is the strength of the social hierarchy: masculinity-feminity which is task orientation versus person-orientation and uncertainty avoidance. Power distance is the extent to which people with lee power in the society accept and recognize that power is distributed unequally in the society. Individualism- collectivism is the degree of integration of individuals into groups. Uncertainty avoidance is the extent of how a society tolerates ambiguity and uncertainty within itself. In other terms the extent to which the society deals with ambiguity within itself.