After Hours optimize

10 things to consider when working with people from a non-U.S. background

Working effectively with associates from other countries requires an awareness of potential misunderstandings. Calvin Sun offers some advice on how to make sure communications go smoothly.

In today's global society, U.S. workers are interacting with people from countries all over the world. To avoid mistakes, misunderstanding, or embarrassment, keep these factors in mind.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Literal translations

Learning a different language, particularly that of your business associates, is generally commendable. But be careful when trying to translate English idioms directly into the other language. You may end up with a phrase that, to the other person, sounds nonsensical.

The German phrase gleich geht es los means "Soon it will begin." Years ago, the German statesman Heinrich Luebke was attending a concert with Queen Elizabeth. He wanted her to know that the performance would soon begin, but said to her, in English, a literal translation: "Equal it goes loose."

In the same vein, be aware that some languages have different structure and word order from English. If we want to tell someone from China that "I was born in New York," we end up saying to them, in Chinese, the equivalent of "I in New York born was." If we maintain English sentence structure when we speak the other language, we could cause confusion (or at least amusement).

2: Personal space

All of us have personal space, that is, the area around us that is "reserved" for us and which, if intruded upon, could offend or upset us. That space varies from person to person. However, it also varies by culture. Be aware of this concept and be sensitive to body language and other indicators that you might be intruding on another person's personal space.

3: Idioms

People from outside the United States might not understand English idioms. So be careful, for example,  about wanting to "punt" on a project or telling your staff that they need to "throw a strike" if the project is to succeed.

Last year, I met one of my former students and her boyfriend, both of whom came from China to the U.S. to visit. A few weeks later, while messaging with her, I asked about the boyfriend, asking if the two of them were still an item. She replied, "What is 'item'?"

4: Humor

Also be careful about using humor. Depending on where they are from, people from outside the U.S., even those who understand English, might fail to recognize humor, take things literally, and be puzzled or even offended.

For example, telling such a person, "Well there's bad news and there's good news. The bad news is that the car went over the cliff and crashed. The good news is that it got 30 miles per gallon on the way down" might lead to this reaction: "What is funny about an accident?"

5: "Yes": Agreement vs. understanding

In the U.S., people who respond to a statement with "yes" mean that they agree with the statement. But in some cultures, a response of "yes" means merely that they UNDERSTAND the statement. That is, the "yes" doesn't necessarily signify agreement. Be sure to clarify any such "yes" response you receive from a non-U.S. person.

6: Time differences

When scheduling meetings or telephone calls, be aware of time differences. In particular, make sure your non-U.S. associates understand Daylight Saving Time. If they don't, they could be an hour late or an hour early for the call. In particular, keep in mind that some countries, for example China, have no time zones at all. The entire country, regardless of how wide it is, all observes the same time.

7: Holidays

If your associates are in the U.S., make sure they know of important holidays so they don't show up only find a locked office. Similarly, find out if they might want to take time off to observe their own holidays, because you might not be aware of them. Follow this same approach if you are in another country. Make sure you know about their holidays and that they know about yours.

8: Names

Dale Carnegie said often that a person's name is the sweetest sound in the world to that person. Make an effort to learn the "true" names of your non-U.S. associates. Do so even if they have taken "American" given names. By attempting to speak their names, even if you initially get it wrong, you will make a tremendous impression. If you need help with the pronunciation, simply ask the person. Few if any people will be offended at your trying to learn how to pronounce their name.

9: Politics

In any context, politics is a dangerous topic for discussion. Stay away from it when talking with your non-U.S. associates, particularly with respect to political matters in their own country.

10: Currency

Other countries besides the U.S. use dollars. They include Australia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. To avoid confusion and potential legal complications, be clear whose currency you are using or referring to. In particular, distinguish between U.S. dollars (US$ or USD), Hong Kong dollars (HKD or HK$), Taiwan dollars (NTD or NT$), and Australian dollars (AUD or A$).

About

Calvin Sun is an attorney who writes about technology and legal issues for TechRepublic.

47 comments
aierano
aierano

Nice article, loved it. I am a non-U.S. guy working in a big US company and I must confirm that sometimes US guys result a little US-centrics when trying to relate with us, but after a while we accomodate and learn how to survive. For sure we can have problems understanding your baseball or american football slang, it's easy to understand when happen, We start smiling and have that "lost in space look" while our brain start trying to recontruct where we got lost . We also found a little bit irritating when you tend not to consider our holidays when setting up international web-meeting or calls. What you wold think about a mandatory meeting the 4th of july? Some other easy things can be added to make our communication more effective, for example: guys when you give a phone numbwer add clearly also the country code in the standard international format ( +1 xxx xxxxxx...) :) or our addressbook will be a mess (same thing for your snail mail addresses, pls put "US", "USA" or something) And also please forgive us when we try to make strange humor, mispell words, do someting weird, not understand your so clear statements and so on :). But at the end I think this is a two way effort, so pretend from us the same level of respect and understanding when talking and relating with you. This could be a fun and interesting journey from both side and with a little humor and collaboration we both can enjoy and learn. :)

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

Other than a few holidays and minor currency difference (we're right around par) I think this article should not be "10 things to consider when working with people from a non-U.S. background" but "10 things to consider when working with people from a non-North American background" Everything in here applies equally to us Canadians as well and there is so little difference in our two countries as far as business goes now. We fall into these same traps when dealing with people outside of the North American culture. Thanks Calvin,

Justin James
Justin James

This is probably the most subtle, but important item on the list. While working with a team in India a while back, no one on our side understood that in India, it is rude to refuse a request, and on top of that, they use "yes" to indicate that they understand, not that they agree. So when they said "yes" to what we were saying, we thought they were agreeing to do the work. Needless to say, this caused a LOT of problems! It wasn't until we figured this out and worked harder to clarify what a "yes" meant that things went more smoothly. J.Ja

ian
ian

the author made an assumption and could have had a different title."10 things to consider when working with people from a different culture" The present title assumes people are in or working with the USA when in fact this article could target any two or more interfacing cultures. I think the points are correct though. We make assumptions the other person knows what we are talking about based solely on the fact that they speak our language better than we speak theirs. This article already has responses from ten different countries with only four using English as their native language.Even then, there are peculiarities.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Isn't funny how we like hearing "new" jokes... but fail to see that our concept of "joke" is completely conventionalized. We have a limited set of registers allowed for jokes and a limited set of allowable set-ups. Different cultures do have different formal requirements for jokes - it can get messy when they mix.

zidamon
zidamon

I myself am Dutch (The Netherlands). The Dutch are known for their foreign language skills, because they live in an export orientated country. Besides that, the Netherlands, have the highest number of different cultures in the world. But this doesn't mean that everybody speaks and understands English perfectly. A common mistake is to rectify if someone slips up. Better bite your tongue in that case, because nobody likes a 'know it all'. A specific saying you should not use when doing business with the Dutch is going for a lunch and say 'Let's go Dutch!'. That would be an insult. It means sharing the bill, because Dutch are considered as cheap.

Heimdall222
Heimdall222

More years ago than I like to remember, I was a presenter in a high-profile meeting that included numerous folks of Asian extraction. One of my presentation's examples involved the classic situation in which a monkey is extracted from its troop, made different, and returned to the troop. At which point, the other monkeys attack and tear apart the different one. That was fine, but I unfortunately referred to the classic means of making the monkey different, which was to paint it a bright yellow. When that slide hit the screen, there was dead silence, then all of the folks of Asian extraction got up and left the room. In hindsight, it's obvious what the problem was, but at the time, I didn't fully realize the impact of cultural stereotypes. So, be careful what you say, even if it seems to be completely innocuous - in your frame of reference!

DesertPete9
DesertPete9

The comments here ring true. My wife and I taught English as a second language in China for 11 years. We had many laughs with colleagues and students over the years, and we're still corresponding with former students, colleagues, and friends who consult us via email, Skype, and even texting about cultural and linguistic differences. Thanks for raising our collective awareness.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

Excellent article Calvin! I'd just add #11 - remember that every one of these points "goes both ways". Make allowances to the coworker for exactly the same mistakes they may make when speaking to you.

ddreibelbies
ddreibelbies

Respectfully, I would like to add point 11: Please do not create the impression that the way something is done (or stated) in the U.S. is the "right" way. All too many folks from other cultures have been offended by such presumptuous or arrogant behavior (even if unintended). Years ago, when visiting Jamaica, a driver tried to start conversation by joking about his driving on the wrong side of the road. When we replied that most folks drive on the left side of the road, maybe Americans have it wrong, he simply beamed and became exceptionally friendly.

heyyoucraig
heyyoucraig

Hand Gestures can be dicey The OK Sign (index and thumb touching in a circle)is the same as the F-bomb in Brazil. Be careful out there

cynic 53
cynic 53

I'm British and there are great differences between "US English" and "English English", and I am not only referring to pronunciation, spelling and accent. Also I have found that Americans, whilst not meaning any offence, can sometimes be a bit too direct for our liking here in the UK. This is a point to be careful about not only in face to face encounters, cyber conferences, on the telephone, but especially in e-mails, letters, faxes etc. Some words can have different meanings too. For example, to us a "Rubber" is what you would call an "Eraser", and not a Contraceptive. In the UK a "Restroom" would be where one goes to have a cup of coffee and take a break, in the USA I understand it is a Toilet. There is also the matter of how dates are written in numbers, today in the UK would be 07/01/2001 in the USA it is 01/07/2001 which to Brits would be read as 1st July. If emailing Brits it is better to use words for dates thus refer to today as 7th January 2001. There are also great philosophical and behavioural differences in how many Brits consider their relationship to their employers and work in general. We are more cynical and prefer to keep our distance from our employer as regards our life outside of work. Many people do not socialise away from their workplace with their co-workers over here and certainly few people regard their employers and co-workers as "One Big Happy Family". Although some UK companies have Social Clubs, Sports Grounds etc, many employees prefer to leave anything to do with their work in their locker or on their bench or desk and are not interested in works social events especially if held at weekends which is their quality leisure and family time. In essence work is the source of the income people need to live their life outside of work. Again the British are less likely to show enthusiasm but will quietly work at their allotted task to the best of their ability, but there will be no "High Fives", or exclamations of approval or cheers at Works Meetings etc. The UK worker, who is often bored to tears by such Briefings, Presentations etc will attend, usually as such matters are mandatory, sit down, may or many not take any interest in what is being presented and is unlikely to show any reaction unless contentious matters are being discussed nor ask questions even if these are requested by Management. Also be aware that many of the largest UK companies are Unionised and the attitude of many ordinary workers to Management is often slightly adversarial even in the best run of businesses an "Us and Them" attitude prevails. British people even in these days can be more class conscious than their American counterparts. I had to laugh at the example "Throw a strike" used in the article. Over here if anyone suggested that in a work situation it would be taken to mean the workforce withdrawing their labour over some demand of Management, pay and conditions, etc, the opposite to what was intended by the person mentioned in the article. American Idioms are mentioned by the author of this article and bear in mind that references to American Football, (we play Soccer and Rugby), or Baseball are meaningless to the majority of British people, so it is no use referring to a "Home Run" or "Third Base" or "Touchdown" in conversation any more than many Americans would comprehend references to Cricket and its terminology. As to humour. One man's joke can be another's insult. Steer clear of jokes. In the UK we tend to make use of irony far more than in the USA so again be careful of falling into such a trap. Winston Churchill, who had an American Mother, once said that the UK and the USA were two great nations divided by a common language. A wise comment I have always felt from a very wise man. Bear in mind also that we tend to be more reserved and more private over here, especially in the South East of England and London compared to the North, the West Country and Scotland. We are not being rude or unfriendly but more that we like to keep our personal life private and have to get to know people so don't expect to be invited to someone's home although they may be delighted to meet you for a drink at your hotel, in a pub(bar)or restaurant after work hours. Oh and best to keep off of politics or religion unless your host wishes to discuss such topics. In particular do not speak about religious matters in Scotland or Northern Ireland as people there can have very strong views on such matters. One political issue to be careful about is any negative reference to our free at point of need to all National Health Service. Most Brits cherish this Social Medicine Institution and do not like it being attacked in any way. Many Brits take a polar opposite view for example about President Obama's Healthcare policy to that held by many US Citizens who are opposed to it. All the best and keeping these points to mind, enjoy your visit to Great Britain.

darije.djokic
darije.djokic

For most Europeans the Yankees have a funny sense of fashion (read: lack of taste) or appropriateness for dressing properly up for the occasion - that in itself would not represent an offence, at worst make somebody ridiculous and diminish the positive impact on the other side. On the other hand, some professions in the Anglo-Saxon world in general hove the tendency to overdress - bankers or lawyers. In some countries the choice of certain colours is restricted: in ex. in some Muslim ones green headgear is permitted only to the descendants of the Prophet Mohammed or to high dignitaries (in Turkey once only judges wore green turbans, the Sultan himself wore a white one). Fashionwise, in some countries (like the Germanic ones) it is bad taste to combine blue with brown, in other ones (Romanic/Latin) it is permitted. Also, wearing sandal (that always require bare feet) might be offensive in some places, but insisting on shoes and socks in some other will make You look silly too. For women showing off some bodily charms may be permitted or even expected, and be helpful in a non-US commercial or other environment, with buttoning-up seen as prudish or boringly puritanic, while in other ones quite the opposite is the norm so much so that leaving female colleagues out of the equation would be the best solution. So, as someone said: do Your homework.

gearycharles
gearycharles

Good post as usual, Calvin. :-) I'd add that in some countries, you mustn't use the left hand for anything polite, like handshaking, eating, or even waving. Apparently, a huge swath of the world considers the left hand "unclean," and reserved for bodily-function-related...functions. Globetrotting left-handers might want to train themselves to shake/eat/wave with their right hands. Also, I've heard that showing the soles of one's shoes is a huge insult in many countries.

reisen55
reisen55

I was part of an excellent IT team at a major insurance company, and 140 of us were outsourced out in 2005 after being told we were meeting Service Level Agreements, etc. Doing great job. Yada ... you've got 30 days notice and in came kids and a helpdesk from Bangalore. And Indian IT workers are salaried at rates FAR below even US minimum wage. I cannot admit to just taking this with a smile. A whole IT career network in America is destroyed by this insanity to outsource IT work to non-American employes, agents, consultants or work centers. We have IT techs who NEED JOBS here and only this little nasty thing called COST OF LIVING in AMERICA keeps us from digging the Bangalore salary. I dislike outsourcing IT for reasons of salary, and the achievement of sub-par service. Whenever I feel I have called an Indian IT support like, I instantly put up a barrier and expect - usually correctly - poor service. A hang-up usually follows quickly. God help American IT.

Audiblenod
Audiblenod

My job requires a conference call with counterparts in India very frequently. When learning of this when I took the job, I referenced wikitravel.org. Other travel guides can help and asking coworkers from the same heritage/country are also great resources.

robgillham
robgillham

"Throw a strike" is an American, and not an 'English' idiom. Perhaps you would like to consider that your British, Canadian, Australian, South African & New Zealand colleagues may be equally bemused by this particular piece of ethnocentricism.

bethernet
bethernet

I worked with a contractor whose first language was Polish. One Monday morning, I noticed he had gotten a haircut over the weekend. I commented that he had "gotten his ears lowered" and he was absolutely horrified until I explained. We had a good laugh once he understood what the heck I meant!

ceso_softdev
ceso_softdev

The articule is great in terms of what you do in relation to others. But to really be affective in a global environment, you need to also understand what other do, and what effect it has on you. It's very easy to feel insulted by somebody from a different country when you do not understand the reasons behing their behavior. Do some decent research on other cultures that you know you will come accross during you day to day activities. That will make things a lot easier for everybody. As a rule of thumb... always be polite; make an effort to really listen to other people; go easy on the physical contact. Each culture sees the universe in a different way and that translates on how they approach doing business. if something offended you, think twice before acting in consequece because offending you might have not been their intention at all.

JCitizen
JCitizen

You are surely welcome here on TechRepublic anytime. In fact TR is becoming the world. Soon - maybe us Americans will be rare visitors. Maybe already?

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I remember a Electronics [i]Expert[/i] sent over from Switzerland to help us lowly Techs in AU. OK so the first day here was here he got thrown in at the deep end and and I was faced between a very peeved off Marketing Manager and this Tech just agreeing with everything he said. The conversation went something like this MM We have a very good product SG Yes MM Then is it acceptable that out of the 35 units that we are using here 100% of them do not work properly? SG Yes This type of conversation continued on for about 5 minutes with the Marketing Manager getting more and more worked up and the Swiss Guy saying nothing more than Yes. Finally before the MM either had a heart attack or killed the Swiss Guy I stepped in saying something about the SG not understanding what he was being asked. I took him back to his hotel then and sat down for a Counter Lunch which turned into a fighting match between him and the guy at the counter over a T Bone Steak. Apparently the guy from Switzerland had never seen a 4 Kilo Steak previously and was insisting that he had ordered a T Bone and had got this. :^0 Nice Steak too I should add. :D Col

steve6375
steve6375

We had the same problems with the Far East - 'yes' means 'I understand the question/situation'! It also helps to speak slowly.

ian
ian

completely with "Also I have found that Americans, whilst not meaning any offence, can sometimes be a bit too direct for our liking here in the UK". I found the reverse was true when moving to Texas because I don't sugar coat. In fact my opening paragraph of any initial communication states that I don't tell you what you want to hear, I tell it like it is. I do agree with the rest of your reply thoug

tom.levesque@pennichuck.
tom.levesque@pennichuck.

Don't feel bad about not getting the reference. I'm an American, and my first interpretation was the same as yours! It's only because the context didn't make sense that I realized it was a baseball reference. I've never heard the term used in a business context. Oh well!

ian
ian

refers to all Americans. Growing up in England, we always referred to Americans as Yanks. It wasn't until I moved to Texas that I learned Yanks are only in the north and southerners in the south.

steve6375
steve6375

If you eat from a communal food bowl/platter you must never take food from it with your left hand. This is considered very bad manners as you have just put your unclean hand into everyone's food!

harryolden
harryolden

You think you got problems, it is same here in Australia and it is no use complaing it wont help or nobody will listen Yes it must be better in America my son works in It there and thy do not want him to leave he says that America is 3 years behind in Computing ( sorry I am only the messenger) Thy shipped him accross to do the work.

GSG
GSG

I ran into issues when working with a male from another company. He'd just immigrated to the US, and was working for the US division of his company, yet he was still working as if he was in his home country, which was very male oriented and did not have many females in the workplace. If we were having issues with the installation, if I told him that xyz was wrong, he would ignore me, but if I got one of my male co-workers to tell him the exact same thing, he would agree with them and fix the problem. He would interrupt, talk over me, ignore me, etc... I thought the problem was just a personality conflict on my part until several of the women in the office said that he did the same thing to them. It turns out that he was very uncomfortable working closely with women as that was just not done where he came from. He learned to work with the fact that we were females, and we made an effort to understand and respect his boundaries. It all worked out in the end. He was a brilliant guy, we got everything fixed and installed, and he got a promotion at his company.

steve6375
steve6375

I had been working via email and phone with a female colleague in Taiwan on a problem which she could not replicate. After about a week, she finally suggested I double-check something and I found the problem. I was so delighted that I emailed her and told her I had found the problem at last and jokingly put 'I love you and I want you to have my babies!' Apparently she was totally baffled by this and was showing her office colleagues my email and asking them 'why does this person want to give me his children?'!

tdrane
tdrane

Walking with a male who takes you by the arm and even tries to hold you hand is more a sign of trust and/or frienship, not what most Americans would percieve. Still creepy, but not a bad thing.

Ron_007
Ron_007

I had a team of programmers from India on a Y2K project. They all spoke English, but many were on their first North American job. I really tripped over cultural differences with them. I'd ask how things were going, they'd say everything was fine. I'd ask if they were done, they'd always respond Yes. So I'd give them their next task. Then when I tried to run their work to test it, it wouldn't even compile. Things weren't fine, they weren't finished, but they wouldn't say no to "the boss". It took a while, but eventually I ended up using one of them with more experience in North American as a "cultural translator". I asked him, he asked them, and I got the "right" answers that I was looking for. About a year later I read an article from the Gartner Group about the cultural differences between North America and India. I went down the 10 or so points and "checked" every one off ... "yup, saw that", "yup they did that", "oh wow, that explains it" ... . The gist of the article was that is was culturally "incorrect" for them to say no to a boss.

nait5230
nait5230

I am from outside the US and I find that all of them also apply equally when dealing with people in and from the US. e.g. your idioms are not English they are American. Sometimes the similarities tend to blind us to the real differences so I'm 100% with the "Do your homework" approach.

techrepublic
techrepublic

In my experience this would read better as "People from INSIDE the United States might not understand English idioms."

HoagieBP
HoagieBP

The "thumbs up", "OK" sign made with thumb and index finger and even the "finger crook" to indicate someone should come closer are all common hand gestures in the USA. They have entirely different meanings, and not necessarily pleasant ones, in other parts of the world.

cynic 53
cynic 53

As I have said many UK citizens, even well educated ones, are totally ignorant about Baseball, American Football etc and frankly aren't that interested in these games as over here our type of Football = Soccer, and two types of Rugby, Union and League and of course Cricket are the main sports which interest the average Brit either in a participatory or more often a spectatory capacity. Now if in a work situation things were getting a bit difficult here in the UK, perhaps a tight schedule was being missed or Management bringing it it forward or making changes to the specification or extra demands on the people working on that project etc. If someone said at a Meeting, "We need to throw a strike" then it would have exactly the opposite effect to that the American person intended and the Brits would construe it to mean to go on strike, that is down tools and walk off the job until the issues they objected to were resolved. Not a phrase to use in a UK place of work especially not one that is Unionised.

harryolden
harryolden

Then I would have a problem, I am right handed and do everything with my right hand and I would think that there would be a lot more people doing the same thing But we wash our hands when we have done our job well I hope you all do?

richard.hurst
richard.hurst

English people from outside the USA do not necessarily understand your idioms either. This caused much hilarity in our office when we contemplated your use of the word "fanny" which means something completely different in England and has led to some interesting misunderstandings

waukena
waukena

There are various hand gestures that foreigners use that look to Americans like they're being insulted/cursed while they have perfectly innocent meanings. For example, here in Israel, picking up one's hand and curling the fingers to touch the thumb while appearing to shake it at a person (hard to describe, sorry) means "just a minute, please", generally when someone's otherwise engaged and can't free up to talk to you yet, but Americans often think they're being "flipping the bird" or otherwise insulted. Also, Israeli's personal space is "smaller" than Americans, so try not to feel threatened because the other person is "too close". In short, keep an open mind when overseas, and don't take offense unless you're sure it's intended!

dbharsh
dbharsh

My wife is Iranian and went back for a visit after 20 years out of the country. She watched a band playing, requested a song, when they played it, she gave them a big thumbs up... and immediately remembered what that meant in her own country (equivalent of flipping the bird here in the US). Nice way to thank someone! She was mortified, but they fortunately knew what it meant over here and weren't too offended.

JCitizen
JCitizen

In many countries besides the US, bidets are common in the toilets. So actually most folks never touch their behind at all. So there is actually not much need to wash afterward. It is we in the US that are "backards" that way! HA!

BaruchAtta
BaruchAtta

"flipping the bird" is definitely obscene in the US. It will be generally edited out of any TV show. It is uncalled for in any business situation. However, ironically, in Israel, the equivalent gesture is to hold up the entire hand, and bend down the middle finger. Still haven't figured that one out yet.

nejaky.bordel
nejaky.bordel

...who else is watching american football or baseball except US citizens :)?

bob.irving
bob.irving

As baseball and American football are not played in the UK, films with them as the subject do not usually appear on UK TV, so you cannot use these idioms with any hope that they will be understood, particularly by people who are not fans of any sport at all! Googling "punting" will find references to flat bottomed boats on the rivers in Oxford and Cambridge. "Strikes" are the mass withdrawal of labo(u)r in industrial disputes! Do not go there!

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

It is rare to find someone from the US or UK who is not familiar with the idioms of either country. The proliferation of UK-US TV show and movie bleed has made many of them commonplace in either country. The term 'Flipping the bird' is to extend ones index finger while the other fingers remain in a closed fist (to offend or show disdain). To 'punt' is a reference to American Football. The action of punting passes the ball from the possession of one team to another, in attempt to preserve field position. Thus punting would be to pass on the project, or problem to another party. The term 'throwing a strike' is in reference to Baseball. A strike is a pitch (throw) that the batter has been unable to hit. In baseball, if you throw 3 strikes, your opponent is out. A more common usage of baseball terminology is to 'hit a home run' or 'hit it out of the ball park'. These terms refer to a batter who has read and timed a pitch well enough, and has the skill to hit the ball out of the field of play so that it results in instant points in the game (kind of like scoring a goal in Footie).

JamesRL
JamesRL

In Baseball, throwing a strike is throwing a good pitch - if the batter hits it, it will be good, if not then it counts against the batter (three strikes and you are out). The "safe" thing sometimes is to throw balls - outside of the strike zone, hard to hit well, but four balls and the batter walks. So throwing a strike is taking a risk, throwing a ball is playing it safe. Punting is an American football term. If the team doesn't make a ten yard gain, the ball gets handed over to the opposing team. So if the team isn't confident they can do that, they sometimes kick the ball down the field, which still gives the opposition position of the ball but obviously farther down the field. Its a kind of admission of defeat, though sometimes temporary.

fnoy
fnoy

What on earth does " throwing a strike " mean ? And - doing a "punt" on a project ? Any explanations would be gratefully received

fnoy
fnoy

What does " flipping the bird " mean ?