- Spika, Chapter 7
The Barry Thatcher chapter looked at the difficult issue of cross-cultural communication. Using the example of a project being conducted between the EPA and its equivalent in Mexico, he notes the issues that arise and insists the five ways of bridging these communication gaps. He discusses purpose, a common strategy in which the rhetorician asks himself how to communicate without failing. Success is determined by audience, Thatcher’s second component, which helps determine the communicative traditions to be followed. Informational needs, which vary by culture, must be catered to for the sake of effective and role-based priorities. Organizational strategies must be employed to encourage different approaches, according to Thatcher, so that digital communication can merge with the culture of the audience. Style preferences, or the communicative stance, is the last component. There is then a case study, as the information for how to format something to appeal to a culture is to look for other examples from that culture. Thatcher concludes by saying the study was for the sake of understanding, as technical communicators, what other culture’s needs are and how we can meet them.
I enjoyed the Thatcher article and thought it was very relevant. Here in the US, we have people of so many different cultures who come to live here, but as technical communicators we are sometimes taught to cater to a very specific audience. The author offered a lot of helpful approaches to understanding the cultural needs of others and even merge a document to fit into the needs of different individuals. It is a very complex issue, and as the United States becomes even more international and diversified, I am interested to see how technical communicator will handle their expansive audience.