The basis of any effective communication is mutual and undistorted understanding.
This is valid even more for online meetings with Japanese and non-Japanese attendees.
As explained in a prior JCO blog post, English and Japanese are fundamentally different languages, both in vocabulary and in structure.
This opens the door for miscommunication as many dimensions of face to face communication are not available online. (Read more about this in another JCO article
But modern technology can help remedy some of the challenges.
In MS Teams you can find easy-to-use tools that will help improve the efficacy of your meetings.
A. Automatic transcription
For colleagues that struggle with following spoken English it really helps to switch on “subtitles” to put captions at the bottom of the screen.
The MS Teams transcription feature has become a surprisingly accurate tool, at least for the English language.
It is recommended to not only switch on the subtitles but also “start transcription” so that attendees can then follow the flow of the whole meeting in writing.
Trying to translate English into Japanese is not yet recommended as even the best AI cannot match a human interpreter up to now…
B. Chat translation feature
MS Teams has an easily accessible translation feature built into the chat that not enough people might be using yet.
MS Teams can quickly translate any sentence or word posted into the chat!
By clicking on the three dots and selecting “Translate”, everyone can read the post in their default language.
This is especially useful if someone wants to share a statement that might be too complex for them to express in English.
By writing it down in their native language in the chat to be translated, everyone can be part of the discussion regardless of English skill!
Of course, the overall speed of the meeting has to be decreased to take full advantage of these features.
In summary, there are so many things, both on a technical but also on a cultural level, that can quickly heighten the efficiency and output of your discussions and meetings!