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Communicating Across CulturesProfessor Maryam OmariExecutive DeanSchool of Business and LawEdith Cowan University A New York businessman, who frequently traveled to Japan on business, often used a translator for his speeches. After one such speech, he learned that the Japanese interpreter’s version of his opening remarks went like this:“American businessman is beginning speech with thing called joke. I am not sure why, but all American businessmen believe it necessary to start speech with joke. (Pause) He is telling joke now but frankly you would not understand joke so I will not translate it. He thinks I am telling you joke now. Polite thing to do when he finishes is to laugh. (Pause) He is getting close. (Pause) Now!”The audience not only laughed appreciatively but stood and applauded as well. Later he commented to the translator: “I’ve been giving speeches in this country for several years, and you are the first translator who knows how to tell a good joke”(Axtell, 1990). Good Commu...