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Talking without words – Communicating in a different language

Talking – everyone I know can do it. Personally, I NEED to do it. I’m definitely not the person to rely on when it comes to Sponsored Silences but there are ways of talking without words. So how about communicating in a different language?

I think maybe I’m playing “catch-up” – I couldn’t talk at all until I was five. A number of people will confirm that I’m “Making up for lost time”, however I think I more than made up for it a long time ago. But what about those who can’t talk? Non-Verbal Communication. Possibly more powerful than speech?

Sign Language – a Universal language, not just for those who are verbally / hearing impaired. To watch a proficient person converse in this way is to me, astounding and fascinating. I am truly impressed by linguists, in all their forms. A word doesn’t have to be spoken to be communicated.

Used by many all over the world, when they either can’t find, or simply don’t know the words, Sign Language, whether the officially recognised language, or a person’s own version, is an excellent way of getting oneself understood and one’s needs satisfied. In the past, when I’ve experienced a complete lack of voice, my index finger has been my tool of choice – that and my facial expression. You might say, that to communicate with others, all we really need are our faces and hands – after all, the saying is “a picture paints a thousand words” – so do our faces.

Take newborn babies. They don’t have the ability to talk. They may not be able to speak a structured sentence for maybe a year or so after birth, yet they are able to communicate their emotional state, physical needs and personal preferences well before that time. I knew what my daughter liked to eat long before she could ask for a specific meal.

One of the most highly regarded and respected scientists of our time, Mr Stephen Hawking,  lives without the ability to talk – yet he has been the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at one of the most highly regarded educational establishments in the world, television presenter, accomplished author, public speaker and is now Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge . With scientific developments advancing at an increasing rate these days, communication is becoming easier.

And what of the old note pad and pen? I remember being in bed at my parents’ house with laryngitis. No voice whatsoever, and it was in the days before the iPad, iPhone or home PC. My note pad firmly by my side, my pen poised to convey my feelings / wants / needs. How times have changed!

Sometimes, communication can be hard, sometimes it can be almost impossible. A shy person may not feel comfortable addressing a room of 200 strangers, yet others may revel in such a situation. Sometimes, our attempts at communication can be misunderstood / misconstrued when not carried out face-to-face. Sarcasm does not translate very well in an email – probably why the “emoticon” is so well used these days. Plus, a written word seems so much more permanent. A flippant comment made in the heat of the moment, is more difficult to withdraw, if it’s in print.

Yes, for me there’s nothing better than a good old “chin-wag”. My grandmother used to like to sit down and have a chat with someone every day. She claimed it was good for the soul. “Good to get it all out and let it all out. Hug, smile, cry, laugh and carry on.”

On the subject of my grandmother; she also used to say, “Wherever you are, whoever you’re with, smile. A nice smile is contagious.” Some people believe takes a lot more effort to frown than it does to smile – that a frown uses many more facial muscles (and leaves behind more wrinkles). So the next time you’re feeling happy, without saying a word, try smiling at someone – I bet they’ll know how you’re feeling.

If you’re looking to export internationally, understanding how to communicate effectively with foreign markets could give you the edge over your competitors. Contact us for more information on how we can help you grow your business.



Talking without Words - We communicate in more ways than one
Article Name
Talking without Words - We communicate in more ways than one
How we communicate non-verbally. How the art of communication has changed in line with scientific advancements over recent years.

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About Sharon Stephens

Sharon Stephens is Operations Director of Lingua Translation. With a First Class Honours Degree in Translation and a University Lecturer in Translation (Masters), she is a self confessed language geek! Bringing the academic principles of translation and business together Sharon offers a quality-driven and needs centric translation and interpreting service - like no other.

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