Intercultural business writing in English, pt 1.

If you’re writing and composing emails and other documents in English for your global partners, clients, vendors, colleagues, and team mates, keep in mind that there are important cultural factors that influence how native speakers will read your messages.

One of the most important factors is how you organize your message. If it’s structured or organized in a way that doesn’t make sense to your American colleague, it could cause confusion or even irritation. You obviously don’t want this!

Another thing to keep in mind is to try to be as clear and concise as possible. Use short and easy-to-read grammar structures. Even if your English is proficient, remember that the longer and more complex you get, the more likely you’ll be to go astray and cause confusion. Also be friendly – include some warm, appreciative comments and your message (and expertise) is more likely to be appreciated.

In the following example of a “Before and After” email, you can see how focusing on the correct organizational style and writing in a concise manner can help improve the native reader’s experience.

Context: remote Asian employee for major global production studio. Need to inform team on current work status. 

Original email:

Hi _______, 

This week, I feel I have been on track. I was struggling in getting into the new working flow and environment, creating realistic simulations, and collaborating with experienced artists. However, I have faced those difficulties, such as watching more tutorials, reading some articles, and working through these struggles. I have collaborated with an animator in Method, and he is surprised with my working speed. Therefore, when we have the next chance to work again, he messages me. Just let me know when you finish even though it is 7 pm. Unfortunately, that day I took a half day off, so I reply him tomorrow morning, I gonna publish this FX, and I do it.


  • Disorganized
  • No “headline” executive summary, purpose or email is unclear
  • No paragraph separation according to topics
  • No transition sentences – transition word “therefore” is used incorrectly
  • Unclear sentences  – indirect communication style
  • Not concise or easy to read
  • Lack of positive emotional language


Hi ______

Hope you all had a great weekend!

I wanted to catch you up on my work over the past week since we weren’t able to do the stand up meeting on Friday. 

First, there were some challenges learning the pipeline at first and in creating the simulations Jan sent over. However, I overcame these through the proprietary tutorials and should be good to go for next week.

Also, I worked in tandem with Matt in Animation, and we met all client deadlines. Please let me know if there’s anything left to clean up. 

This week I’ll be dealing with all the simulations and renders from the final sequence. I’ll probably need someone to give me some feedback, so please let me know who I should ask about that. 

Thanks again and I appreciate everyone’s help so far!

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