Cross-Cultural Limits of Technology

Though technology can help a communicator become familiar with the language of a different culture, technology can’t replicate a true cross-cultural approach. For example, an app can translate the words in a document, but it can’t anticipate how a document will be received by the target audience. It can’t reduce wordiness, eliminate jargon, or clarify vague references.

Further, technology currently can’t replace face-to-face connections that are so vital to learning about and understanding people and their respective cultural patterns. Though technology is limited in how much cultural literacy it can provide, it doesn’t have to limit one’s ability to practice a cross-cultural approach. As long as a communicator maintains realistic expectations of the limits of a technological tool, technology can be a useful tool in communication.

There are no short-cuts to an effective cross-cultural approach, but technological programs and apps can be helpful if they are used only as tools and not as a replacement for increased cultural awareness and understanding.