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?

The China IPR (intellectual property rights) SME (small and medium enterprises) Helpdesk a project funded by the European Commission

What is your position?

Project Manager

How important is being able to speak/write good English in your job?

Very! The official reporting language at the European Commission is English and not just any English, it must be UK English.

Does your field have its own particular jargon? Could you share some of the more unusual terms with us?

Currently we use a lot of legal terminology that was very new to me before working in this field. This includes ‘first to file’, ‘bad faith’, ‘junk patents’, ‘prior right’, and ‘patentability’.

Have any new terms been coined in your field recently? If yes, which?

There are terms like ‘junk patents’ in the field of IP (intellectual property) and then there is the ‘Lisbon Treaty’ adopted by EU Member States.  There is also the term ‘EU 12’ which are the 12 newest EU Member States.

Do you ever ask another person to proofread your work? If so, in which circumstances?

I always try to get important documents proofread.  This includes documents that are sent to The European Chamber of Commerce in China and the European Commission.   The team also write articles and website content that are proofread.

What mistakes or phrases in English do you find most annoying? Why?

As a native speaker I notice the misuse of ‘the’ and ‘and’, this is probably a common problem across all languages.  I also find it highly annoying when an industry adopts so many acronyms, it is like studying a new language.

Would you like to add anything you think our readers would find interesting?

Don’t be shy and try to just speak and ask people to correct you.

 Want to hear what some of the other interviewees said?  Head over to the On the Job series home page here.