We launched this “On the Job” series to find out how people use English in their working lives. We talk to them about jargon in their profession, writing on the job and what advice they’d give to learners of English.
Who do you work for?
Kimberley Hobson: The British Chamber of Commerce in Beijing and China-Britain Business Council.
What is your position?
How important is being able to speak/write good English in your job?
Very! I write articles, reports, overviews and marketing pieces for the Chamber’s FOCUS magazine and website, so accurate English is essential otherwise we look unprofessional. I’m also in constant contact with our member companies at events and seminars, so being able to communicate effectively in the language is vital.
Does your field have its own particular jargon? Could you share some of the more unusual terms with us?
Jargon in the copywriting field doesn’t really affect me too much, but as I write about business I’ve had to quickly come up to speed with a lot of business lingo. Understanding things like the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) or the state of Intellectual Property Rights in China was a little draining at first, especially as I’ve never studied business before!
Do you ever ask another person to proofread your work? If so, in which circumstances?
Magazine articles are sent to our editors so they will proof read the work and make changes if necessary. For web articles I have to check them thoroughly myself.
What mistakes or phrases in English do you find most annoying? Why?
I’m British, so I use British English. However my computer is constantly stuck in U.S spelling. Seeing a word like ‘analyze’ instead of ‘analyse’ on my computer screen really upsets me! Not that I have anything against Americans of course!
Would you like to add anything you think our readers would find interesting?
I’d say read widely in your field to constantly learn new vocabulary, phrases, and terminology. Podcasts are also great for learning English and staying up to date, plus you can listen to them on the way to work. Finally, if you have English-speaking colleagues, use them; ask questions and make an effort to chat to them, they’re a valuable resource!
Want to hear what some of the other interviewees said? Head over to the On the Job series home page here.