American Machinist

The language of European technology. (English as the international language; American strategy in Europe) (editorial)

The language of European technology A couple of years ago in this space, we asked, "What's your firm's strategy on Europe?"

Several discussions followed, and in some of them our American friends raised language as a potential barrier to doing business there. We Americans, in our geographically expansive but linguistically simplistic United States, have never been forced to learn another tongue, they pointed out. Wouldn't that prove to be an obstacle?

Those conversations came to mind just the other day. We picked up the phone to call an editor at Techniques et Equipements de Production, our licensee in Paris. Not wanting to sound like a rube or get involved in a long stony silence before being disconnected, we practiced, in our head, just what we were going to say: "Bawngzhoor. …

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