Cross-Culture Digital Literacy
Thatcher stated that technical communicators should possess 4 competencies when dealing with intercultural digital literacy:
- Understand the rhetorical characteristics of the digital medium itself
- Match those characteristics to the demand, constraints, purposes, and audience expectations of the situation in their culture
- Assess how the situation varies in the target culture
- Adapt their communication strategies to the different rhetorical expectations for the target culture
These are great guidelines when it comes to establishing a seamless transaction between two cultures. While I haven’t worked on a cross-cultural project, I can only imagine that executing the guidelines is difficult on a completely different level. I would think that you wouldn’t realize all the challenges of creating a common digital literacy between two cultures until you’re eyeball deep in the process. Yes, doing your homework could help create a better experience for both cultures on the front end, but I think it would be difficult to fully understand all the issues a particular culture encounters if you’re not a part of the culture itself. Does anyone have experience working with two different cultures? What were some of the challenges you faced?
I thought Thatcher’s case study with the EPA project was helpful in understanding some of the obstacles technical communicators face when working on cross-cultural projects. I can understand why they didn’t get the anticipated level of participation from their Mexican counter-parts (Especially the closing statement in the translated email that reads “I am at your orders.”).