The life lessons of language

The relationship between multilingualism and good TechComm practices

Text by Leah Guren


Image: © yuriz/

A few months ago, I had an extremely stressful experience while trying to navigate a government website for my desperately needed Covid stipend. My accountant was too busy or stressed to help, and I ended up floundering in a poorly designed interface. I kept ending up in the same place (not where I needed to be). During one of the many phone calls, I had to deal with a series of fast-talking young clerks, none of whom enunciated clearly, and all of whom used terminology that far exceeded my linguistic skills in Hebrew.

I reached the frustration point where I automatically reverted to my mother-tongue language to try to explain something. It was an excruciating moment of helplessness, frustration, and anger. And while it was not pleasant to go through that, it was a useful experience for a TechComm professional, because this is exactly the feeling that we need to remember whenever we ...