28/03/2019 - Outsourcing
In 1955, the Space Race between the Soviet Union and the US began, with the clear objective to dominate over one another through spaceflight capacity. On July 20, 1969, almost 50 years ago, Apollo 11 landed the first manned mission on the Moon. As the world watched with anticipation, the first steps by humans on another planetary body were taken by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
How competition helps advance technology
Many would like to think that it was a mere thirst for knowledge but that is only half of the truth. On August 2, 1955, the Soviet Union listened carefully as the United States announced its plans to launch artificial satellites into the sky. The tension between the two states, one touting capitalism, the other communism, being channelled among other things into the Space Race. The Soviet Union responded by working hard and succeeding in beating the US to the first successful satellite launch, their Sputnik 1. They again beat the Americans by sending the first human being, Yuri Gagarin, into orbit on April 12, 1961. On July 20, 1969, the US was finally able to “save face” by sending the first humans to the Moon.
The leap in technology that came from the race to space continues to benefit us. What can we take away from all this? The stakes don’t have to be quite as high as world dominance to understand how important competition is: Competition helps advance not just individual projects, but global technology as a whole.
The importance of intercultural communication in multinational teams
Would the first man on the moon have arrived there as quickly if Americans had been the only ones working on the Apollo missions? Possibly, but with the help of people from other nations, the project was successful in a rapid amount of time. In fact, the Apollo lunar module that took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon actually used landing gear that was designed by a Canadian company called Héroux-Devtek. They played a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of the astronauts during landing, often considered one of the most dangerous moments during any space flight.
Multinational teams are not just more creative, they also tend to offer better insight into markets and have better problem-solving skills, as they are forced to seek more commonalities. Being led by a management that is culturally informed allows employees to unite in their shared goals, and focus on that rather than on what makes them different. Cross-cultural communication was important then and it continues to be so now, possibly more than ever. With projects becoming more and more international, language and translation services are becoming an essential component. Getting the right message and tone across is key to ensuring smooth sailing within any cross-cultural team. And being clear and concise in your communication can make all the difference and help avoid misunderstandings.
Machine VS Humans? Machine AND Humans
It is true that humans are no match for computers when it comes to precise calculations (the current chess champion is actually a computer named Komodo, much to the chagrin of many chess aficionados). Was the first moon landing a lesson to trust machines over brainpower? We do not think so: It is clear that machines cannot replace humans when it comes to conceptualisation and nuance. Just as the technological awe that was the Apollo 11 aircraft couldn’t have landed without Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and the 400,000 people working behind the scenes, a machine translator such as Google Translate will never be able to take linguistic tone, semantics, style, and even humour into account the way a qualified human translator can.
Outsourcing is key: Focus on what you do best
However, if there is one thing that humans can learn from computers it is that, as every component in a machine is meant to serve a very specific purpose, one cannot be a jack of all trades. When it comes to projects, delegating tasks to the right people, as well as outsourcing are key: When Neil Armstrong took his “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” in July 1969, his spacesuit was perfectly designed by … NASA? Wrong! The spacesuit was created by Playtex, an American company better known for making ladies’ bras. Highly skilled seamstresses were given the task to hand-build the state-of-the-art space suits that had to withstand temperatures of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. The key to success was the combination of cutting-edge technology and traditional craftsmanship. Often, some of the most high-tech companies need to delegate specific tasks to those who embrace the subtleties of “Old World Craftsmanship”, something that wordsmiths and language translators know how to do best.
If you want to get your point across and put your proverbial man on the moon, it’s best if you focus your time and energy on what you do best and leave the rest to the experts. Are you doing phenomenal work that you want to present to a multicultural audience? Sometimes reaching for the stars means being able to relinquish control over what we can’t do well and let specialists take control. Language and translation services are no simple task.
Don’t take any risks and let us take care of your language needs, ensuring your message is understood by your target audience. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation and let us assist you with our translation services.
Fly to the moon with SwissGlobal Language Services AG.