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Ethical and Intercultural Challenges for Technical Communicators and Managers in a Shrinking Global Marketplace

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In today’s shrinking global marketplace, many technical communicators face challenges related to intercultural communication. This article examines ethical issues in intercultural communication, beginning with a brief survey of classical ethical models, then focusing on the guidelines for ethical communication developed by Allen and Voss to provide a framework for discussion. Of Allen and Voss’s 10 values for ethical communication, we focus on privacy, legality, teamwork, social responsibility, and cultural sensitivity. We offer specific suggestions for avoiding stereotyping, tokenism, and ethnocentrism in technical documentation, including before-and-after examples. We examine the risks involved in using graphics and icons and in attempting to translate idiomatic usages. The article concludes with guidelines for technical communicators preparing documentation for international audiences and with suggestions for managers who wish to give their employees guidance regarding ethical and effective intercultural communication.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Publication date: 2007-02-01

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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