Fw: Multi-Language Open space

Peg Holman pholman at email.msn.com
Wed Sep 9 14:48:56 PDT 1998

Thought you might enjoy Harrison's response to the multi-language question.


-----Original Message-----
From: owen <owen at tmn.com>
To: edeb at pacbell.net <edeb at pacbell.net>
Cc: Holman, Peggy <pholman at email.msn.com>
Date: Wednesday, September 09, 1998 11:13 AM
Subject: Multi-Language Open space

Peg Holamn forwared your question about language. I once did an open space with 17 different languages, no simultaneous tranlation and no problems. Secret is what i call "The International Bar Approach" At any good bar, if you want to talk to someone, someone else is surely about who can translate. So in Open Space the conveners of a session write the title of that session in the language they propose to operate in. They then provide a translation in some other "basic" language (English or French will usually work). So when a person goes to the wall to make a choice, they know what language will be spoken, and if that is not a comfortable language for them they will have to bring a "language buddy." I find that language buddies build community... so rather than being a bother, they actually add to the whole affair. One thing not to do is make any effort to provide simultaneous translation in the groups. Total waste of time, and it is much too slow. I would even wonder about translantion in the opening session. After all this is not rocket science. I once did an ost in latin america... we had minimal translation and no problem. The whole thing is so intuitive, once it starts everybody pretty much knows what to do. Relax... it works. h.
Harrison Owen
7808 River Falls Drive
Potomac, MD 20854
301-469-9269 (phone)
301-983-9314 (fax)
email owen at tmn.com
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