The definition of culture according to an article by LIVESCIENCE is: Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts.

The above definition is one of the most common facts that we would have in mind when someone mention the word “culture”. Especially here in Malaysia, we talk a lot about experiencing different cultures. Our Malaysian ethnicity comes to mind. This article is really not about race or creed. It is essentially about social and work cultures, on how often the message gets lost in translation. Literally gets lost! Resulting in disagreement, bad feelings begins festering in hearts, leading to small petty office politics and gossips. All because of a slight difference in understanding the message sent and conceive from one party to the other.

Take for example, my personal work experience. I am of a certain race. But I find it hard sometimes to understand my colleagues who is of the “same race”. To be fair we were brought up in fairly different environments. I was brought up in a secular kebangsaan school, where as most of my colleagues were brought up in a single race school. As we then graduate and started working in the corporate world. Our universe collides and for some reason came to work under the same roof. I must say it is a very interesting, eye-opening adventure at my workplace. Leading me to discover our topic – Lost In Translation!

Many a times, when communicating in the universal language of English. I find that the meaning of my message might be taken-off the wrong end by my fellow same-race colleagues. Which may sometime offend them or leave them puzzled. Think jokes that fall flat and there is a resounding silence – all eyes on you. Sounds familiar? The feeling of messages Lost In Translation due to different work culture.

Below are 3 advice for those who are in the same predicament.


Ever heard the phrase, same same but different? This seems to be a constant happening in the workplace at the beginning. We all look the same (no offense). As in the same colour of skin and hair. But everything else is different. Hence to avoid further miscommunication, I have learned to constantly clarify information given and taken by my colleagues. Yes, it might seem tiring, but it is vital to avoid problems arising at work.

➽ The benefit: You become versatile and can adapt in future with other work cultures which involves other races and creed.


No doubt you may have seen a fair share of the world and its culture, but one never stops learning. Hence, put down that arrogance and learn the cultures of your colleagues. You would be surprise that you may learn a thing or two from them. On how their minds seems to process information and then work them. Take the good and leave the bad. You would be a much more better worker. At the same time, introduce yourself and your own culture! Once they get to know you better, then an understanding makes it easier to work together.

➽ The benefit: Your management might see you willing to learn and understand your colleagues. This “might” give you plus points and will keep you in their sights for a leadership position in future.


Humble yourself. Don’t assume your culture is the best. Don’t take-on the I am the atas culture. The first person to convince is yourself. When you view the situation as not a problem, but instead as a challenge. You might just achieve another level in your communication. Being an effective communicator is important. Does not mean you have to be in sales and marketing to be a good communicator. Should your job is a desk bound job, remember your colleagues are your first customers.

➽ The benefit: Being humble is a great leadership trait.

It is vital that a person understands and assimilate with the work culture in a corporate world. As you are collectively working as a cohesive unit to advance the agenda of the company’s goals and mission. Hence, when the problem of messages getting Lost In Translation at work, might be a fatal cost to the company losing millions or even billions. All due to the understanding of a certain message differently. A continuous flow of team building is also great way to minimize the gap in work cultures. Making work processes and flow better. Creating an ideal environment to work in.

As 2018 is coming to an end, are you looking for a change in work culture? Download EYEWIL APP and browse for a new job for 2019. Start afresh!

December 27th, 2018|Uncategorized|