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Verbal Miscommunication

Spoken

Speech is the oldest form of communication and sometimes can be the most difficult to translate. Spoken words also have a large potential for miscommunication. If you don't understand another language it may be difficult to comprehend what that person is saying. 

Written

Why isn't writing non-verbal?

The reason? Well, writing is a common way of speaking to someone without talking. When you fill a prescription at a pharmacy the directions of use are a written way of the doctor and the manufacturers to tell you how the medicine is used. This is important because the doctor may not always have time to explain everything and it would be tedious for the manufacturers to contact everyone who has received the medication to tell them how it works. If you take too much you could wind up back in the hospital from an over-dose. If you take too little it may not work at all. The written instructions are there in place of speaking. It is also convenient because you can pull out the instructions in case you forget something rather than trying to remember everything the doctor has told you.

Although written language is very important, it also has the potential to be misunderstood. Some things don't always translate as well as we'd like them too. A good example would be that some Chinese herbal medicines have powerful healing attributes, but also a high potential of harm when used incorrectly. If the instructions were to be mistranslated it could be a bad situation even as far as death. Some Chinese medications have words in writing that don't exactly translate into our language.



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