Episode 14: The Language of Entrepreneurship – part 1

Talking about entrepreneurship

We begin the first episode of the new mini-series on the language of entrepreneurship by discussing associations with, and definitions of, entrepreneurs. Bernard quotes one definition from Investopedia, a website for investors.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

We then go on to talk about local businesses and what they call themselves. If you read German, you may enjoy this article on names for hairdressers’ shops. Bernard mentions various categorisations of entrepreneurs (see here) and how one type may not regard the other as a “real” entrepreneur

One category of entrepreneur is the ‘mumpreneur’. For academic work on mumpreneurs, and female entrepreneurs more widely, see:

We continue the first part of the episode by talking about the value set on entrepreneurial thinking and attitudes, especially at universities. Veronika mentions examples from the hosts’ employers:

University of Ghent (Bernard): Centre for Student Entrepreneurship, https://www.durfondernemen.be/en/ 

Aston University (Erika): Start-up support for graduate entrepreneurs, https://b-seen.biz

Lancaster University (Veronika): Entrepreneurs in Residence, https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/lums/business/community/entrepreneurs-in-residence/

For critical views on enterprise culture and entrepreneurial universities, see:

  • Fairclough, N. (1993). Discourse and cultural change in the enterprise culture. In Graddol, D., Thompson, L., & and M. Byram (eds), Language and Culture. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, pp. 44-54.
  • Mautner, G. (2005). The entrepreneurial university: A discursive profile of a higher education buzzword. Critical Discourse Studies, 2(2), 95-120.

You can watch Steve Jobs introduce the iPad here:

While the iPad may be a useful invention, check out this Instagram account for some useless inventions 😂😃🤪

During the interview with Munene Khoza, Veronika mentions an interview study she did with language professionals. Here’s the reference: 

  • Koller, V. (2017). Language awareness and language workers. Language Awareness, 27(1-2), 4-20. 

The business plan we analyse in the final part of the episode, and other examples, can be found at https://www.startups.com/library/expert-advice/top-4-business-plan-examples 

Veronika mentions small stories during the analysis, an idea from recent narrative theory (see also episode 7 of the podcast, on storytelling): 

  • Georgakopoulou, A. (2007). Small Stories, Interaction and Identities. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

See you again for the next part of the mini-series on the language of entrepreneurship!

Listen to the episode here

Translation and Interpreting When the Stakes are High Words and Actions

We eavesdrop on police interrogations, wire-tapping and immigration interviews, and sneak on a Keolis bus (on board entertainment: The Interpreter) to explore the complex processes of translation and interpreting in high stakes contexts. Joining us are a forensic linguist, an expert in asylum seeking procedures and a researcher on multimodal translation, who illustrate the pervasive impact of translators as important decision-makers that may affect the future, safety and prosperity of people and businesses.   For more information, references and a full transcript head over http://wordsandactions.blog.   This episode opens with one of the guests, Krzysztof Kredens, talking about the machine metaphor for translating and interpreting, which still dominates the non-linguistic understanding of those professions. It can be linked to the famous Shannon-Weaver model of communication: first proposed by mathematician and engineer Claude Shannon in 1948 (and later popularised by fellow mathematician Warren Weaver), it conceives of communication as involving a sender or encoder, a message and a receiver or decoder. Message transmission can be affected by channel and noise.   Because human communication does not follow the rules of mathematics, this model has often been criticised as inappropriate and even distorting. Erika calls it a destructive metaphor, citing  Stibbe, A. (2015). Ecolinguistics: Language, Ecology and the Stories We Live By. London: Routledge.  Our discussion of equivalence in translation draws on the following two works:  Baker, M. (2011). In Other Words: A coursebook on translation. London: Routledge. Koller, W. (1995). The concept of equivalence and the object of translation studies. Target: International Journal of Translation Studies, 7(2), 191-222. Listeners of a certain age may remember, if not Nikita Khrushchev’s wrongly interpreted words from an address at the Polish embassy in Moscow (1956), then perhaps Sting citing them in his song Russians (1985).   When discussing pragmatic equivalence, we give an example of a direct vs. indirect speech act: in the former, a directive is used to make a request (‘Sit down’) while in the latter, the speaker uses a rogative form to realise the request function (‘Would you like sitting down?’).   Bernard reels off a whole list of films involving translators and interpreters; the excerpt from The Interpreter (2005) that we enact can be found at 1:40. If you would like to watch films with a language and linguistics angle, follow @LinguistsMovies on Twitter for updates on their virtual watchalong nights.  Our main interview guest for the episode is Katrijn Maryns, whose relevant publications include: Jacobs, M., & Maryns, K. (2021). Managing narratives, managing identities: Language and credibility in legal consultations with asylum seekers. Language in Society, 1-28. Maryns, K. (2014). The Asylum Speaker: Language in the Belgian asylum procedure. London: Routledge. Maryns, K. (2017). The use of English as ad hoc institutional standard in the Belgian asylum interview. Applied Linguistics, 38(5), 737-758. In the final part of the analysis, Victoria Nydegger Schrøder analyses the values statement of the headquarters and local subsidiaries of global transport operator Keolis. You can see the screenshots on our blog: http://wordsandactions.blog   Victoria kindly mentions two publications by Erika and Veronika (we did not tell her to!): Darics, E., & Koller, V. (2018). Language in Business, Language at Work. London: Palgrave. Darics, E., & Koller, V. (2019). Social actors “to go”: An analytical toolkit to explore agency in business discourse and communication. Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, 82(2), 214-238. In her analysis, Victoria, among other things, comments on the use of ‘we’ and how it can refer to different groups of people throughout a text and often stay ambiguous. This feature of corporate discourse has also been observed by Veronika: Koller, V. (2009). Corporate self-presentation and self-centredness: A case for cognitive critical discourse analysis. In: Pishwa, H. (ed.) Language and Social Cognition: Expression of the social mind. Berlin: de Gruyter, pp. 267-287. In our next episode, we will discuss machine translation and other applications in language technology – see you then!    
  1. Translation and Interpreting When the Stakes are High
  2. Multilingualism
  3. Negotiations
  4. Meetings and Conflicts
  5. The language of Entrepreneurship (3): Creativity in language and visual communication

Full transcription of the episode

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