Travers’ big idea: learn a language, get clients

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  • Ref: Patpong, I have spent many weeks in this region, on a dugout on rivers such as the Tapi and Phum Duang, surveying chaotic scenes with an eye on the unceasing riches I might avail myself of. In fact, Yawi proved little more than an amusing diversion. Most serious business in the "wealth" provinces (Phuket, Surat Thani and Phang Na) is still underwritten in Thai proper or US English.

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  • Anonymous | 16-Dec-2009 5:55 am

    Who took the jam out of your doughnut?

    Abraham Lincoln was right (clearly and precisely even) when he said that if you look hard enough for the evil in any situation it's not difficult to find it.

    If you are in the habit of making inferences way beyond what's actually said for your clients then I greatly pity the quality of service they receive from you - in any language.

    My point was to agree with the trend of ther posts that before people look to learn less familiar languages that they should perhaps try their hand first at European languages (which "hello" is where Travers are coming from!?!)

    I also ventured that it was rather pompous (but thankyou nevertheless for the corroboration) to assume that any single language course in say Mandarin makes you an expert in all the regional dialect variants of that language.

    For example, the cantonese spoken in Guangzhou is markedly different from the same cantonese spoken in Hong Kong (a point made in very many Hong Kong movies like Fong Sai Yuk).

    By the way, I never said either where I thought the Sun Yat Sen memorial was - it's in Taiwan!

    Bully for you for knowing that - I'll make you a nice "I know where the Sun Yat Sen Memorial is" hat and you can wow your friends (assuming you have any).

    I speak German, Polish, Czech, and French and have a working knowledge of Cantonese so kindly keep your comments to yourself about anyone's knack for languages.

    Manners are universal - in any language they are welcome. Rudeness isn't.

    Perhaps you should brush up on your manners - as you clearly have no knack for them.

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  • KRUSTY & '5:55 am'

    Oooh, hark at them!
    There are Sun Yat Sen memorials all over the place (wall of the CLE off Holborn, even), though surely he's buried in NanJing?
    Da ben dan.

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  • There's also a Sun Yat Sen memorial at University of Hong Kong and a SYS history trail there too...

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  • Ich finde das ganze etwas bloed wenn die britischen Anwaelte damit anfangen, verschiedene Sprache zu lernen.... wieso stellen die nicht Anwaelte von anderen Laendern ein....

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  • Krusty: fair enough, it was a post in poor form. Your point about manners is taken.

    If I may, and this time without being rude, I do not believe there is ever any reason why anyone should be discouraged from learning any language, nor that they should learn a familiar language over a less familiar one.

    And it is always heartening to see that people remain passionate about languages and manners.

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  • Anonymous | 17-Dec-2009 4:54 pm

    Ich finde das ganze etwas bloed wenn die britischen Anwaelte damit anfangen, verschiedene Sprache zu lernen.... wieso stellen die nicht Anwaelte von anderen Laendern ein....


    Decent German, anonymous, but you should work on your grammar a bit. At least if you want to pretend to be German, that is. Why should law firms hire lawyers from abroad? You´re not a native German speaker; were you hired from abroad?

    Besides, what´s wrong with learning a second or even a third language? You should have learned at least one foreign language when you were at school anyhow.

    I´m based in Germany, working for an English law firm, and every single colleague of mine in Germany speaks English fluently but so far I have not met or spoken to a single British colleague that spoke German. Weird, isn´t it? I think it´s a grand idea to get your employees to learn another language. People will always appreciate if you speak their language.

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  • Well of course the point is that these firms will still end up with a variety of lawyers who know very little of the language, be it French, German or Japanese
    My understanding is that most people are happy that people try. I don't get the idea that Travers are doing this out of the goodness of their heart - they are doing it to get and retain clients. My point was that why focus on some of those languages and not other ones which are potentially of more relevance. Seemed a bit old fashioned to thing that Italian was more useful than Portuguese, for example.

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  • It would probably be easier and cheaper to employ native German/French/Russian/Chinese speakers who also have decent English Law degrees/professional qualifications or to employ such foreign lawyers and have them do the QLTT. However such foreign language skills classes might come in great use for those faced with the onerous task of having an authoritative conversations with the Sommeliers in the trendy restaurants of Paris, Frankfurt and Moscow.

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  • I think they might be overlooking the fact that it is virtually impossible to become fluent in a foreign language past the age of 7 unless you live in the country and immerse yourself in the language.

    Of course there will always be a couple of exceptions but teaching lawyers languages from scratch (particularly assuming they are already working 60 hours a week) is a ridiculous task.

    I say give the training contracts to those like the commenters who are already fluent.

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