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Jargon: The New Meaning of “Language Barrier” in the World of Outsourcing

Mike Schertenlieb

As the business world continues to develop on a global scale, and more and more businesses (both large and small) are looking to outsourcing and virtual assistance to meet their needs, there’s an often overlooked language barrier.

Now, language barriers can sometimes be a problem for companies outsourcing overseas, but that is not always the issue at hand.

For most services that a business might need, chances are high that there’s someone offering them in their native tongue, from web developers in Germany or social media analysts in Japan, to Spanish-speaking IT companies – and even 100% all-American virtual assistance (like us!).

Even when both sides of a business relationship are speaking the same language on the surface, there is plenty of potential for jargon, tech-speak, industry specific terminology, acronyms, and the like to create a perilous quagmire of miscommunication between client and service provider.

Every niche has its own bits of jargon, from marketing to web development, and when both parties of a service agreement aren’t on the same page, this can lead to misguided expectations, and frankly, wasted time.

We can all identify with this language barrier, simply by looking at our own interests. Whether it’s sailing or real estate, baseball or gardening, every niche interest has it’s own set of terms – and for those outside of the niche, it might as well be a foreign language!

This breakdown in communication over terminology is potentially crippling to a working relationship, unless, of course both parties are diligent in their efforts to learn and understand the vernacular of the project at hand.

This can be daunting, but with a little bit of online research, just about anyone can get a sense of the basic terminology of a given industry, especially when it comes to the world of online business, search engine optimization, web development, and content management systems.

Whether you’re a project manager, freelancer, CEO, or providing virtual assistant services, it pays to know the jargon for whatever you might be working on (or delegating out to someone else). By having clearly defined terms that everyone can agree upon, there is less room for error  – and more importantly, less of a need to waste precious time sorting out vocabulary or backtracking to define acronyms.

Sites like Wikipedia and Netlingo are great places to start for clearly defined “tech terms,” and a quick Google search can always help clarify any murky jargon you may encounter.

On both sides of a working relationship, communication is extremely important, and just a little bit of preparation (even a cheat sheet) will go a long, long way maximizing both the efficiency and effectiveness of any discussion.

Don’t let jargon be a language barrier!


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