Ellen Pabst von Ohain

Managing Director, Phoenix-English Communications
Munich, Germany

About Ellen


English, German, Spanish

Areas of Expertise

Bridging ideas and understanding between cultures, International Communication Techniques

Comments & conversations

Ellen Pabst von Ohain
Posted about 4 years ago
Should TED give the recommendation for English language in the comments of the talk, or even forbid the using of non-English language?
Language is the reflection of one's culture. It is also one of many mediums which convey or communicate a message. Since different cultures have different orientations, there might be a tendency to hear a "cultural response" rather than an individual response. Therefore, insisting on one language already limits and filters answers. If you wish to hear what you already expect, you are not really open to comment even though you invite it. If I the reader, am unbale to understand what someone else writes, that's my problem. (S)he obviously understood the original language in order to leave comment. I have left comment on other sites in English although that was not the forum language. I was contacted, cited and my comments subsequently removed. As a result, I was insulted, lost confidence in the forum and believed the members are narrow-minded and not well-educated, simply because they chose not to work with English. This is ridiculous of course, but that is what the suggestion can lead to when there are limitations. There are enough tools on the net to decipher different languages. I would personally be uncomfortable with hateful and offensive language (in any medium), but asking people to refrain is also a filter. In that case, you hope that the established environment of allowing thoughtful, intelligent comment is itself a filter against entry of undue and unnecessary profanity.