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You’re killing me, Holon

15/07/2012

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This beauty has been up since March. MARCH!!!!!

English Emergency – King George St.

04/03/2012

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“Spacil” is not the name of the store. Nor is “Fianl”.

WHY, ISRAEL, WHY?!

Dear Malka

02/03/2012

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Welcome to this blog’s Dear Abby column, Israeli-style. For those of you familiar unfamiliar with Dear Abby columns, people with unfortunate nicknames send in their problems and Abby solves them. Since we’re in Israel, we’re calling our version “Dear Malka”.

Our first question comes from a reader in Herzeliya.

Dear Malka,

I own a small business and want to export my product to customers abroad. But, I am concerned because my written English is very poor. I can speak fine, but I want my email communication to be better so that the customers think I am professional. How do I improve my writing?

Toda,

Exasperated Ephraim

Dear Ephraim,

Please understand that most people are understanding of when a non-native English speaker makes writing mistakes. However, you are correct in that your customers will have an easier time understanding you if you write clearly.  The business world is very competitive and you need to stay ahead of the competition. Here are a few options for you:

1.       Take a class or get a tutor – it might cost you a bunch o’shekels, but weekly or bi-weekly lessons are the slow-but-steady way to improve your writing. A native English speaker can teach you grammar fundamentals that lead to long-term results. It is an investment worth considering.

2.       Read the newspaper in English – or a book, or a blog (how about this one?). The more you read, the more you internalize the way people write English. You’ll also learn useful phrases that can literally be copy-pasted. The cost is free to minimal, but the tradeoff is that you won’t learn the ‘method to the madness’, you’ll just learn the madness. The madness, of course, being English.

3.        Hire someone else to do it – if all you need is someone to edit the emails you’ve written, there are tons of native English speakers in this neck of the woods. Don’t trust just anybody? Hire me. I’ll do it.

Best of luck, Ephraim! Let us know how it goes.

Malka

Linked in: Not a waste of time

28/02/2012

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When it comes to Linked in, most of ya’ll are already experts. There is little I can teach on the how-to side of things, so I’ll focus on what I know best: writing a kick-ass profile.

As always, a few simple rules:
1. Spell check (check!), grammer check (check!), tense check (check!) and read through it at least twice. Then give it to a native English speaker to read through. Don’t know any native English speakers? Hire me. The point is, your Linked in profile is your virtual business card. First impressions count and excuses are pointless.
2. Fill out the damn thing. Congrats, you were a VP of Information Security Systems at a well-known multinational company. And? What else? Keep going! Linked in gives you ample space to fill in previous work experience, skills, interests, etc. It is free advertising. I shouldn’t have to talk you into it – it is FREE. Take the 10 minutes and fill out your profile stat.
3. Upload a picture. Pictures are not just for attractive people. Choose one that makes you look intelligent and approachable. A solid picture adds a bit of ‘friendly’ to any profile. Also, no offense to you Israelis, but 99.5% of the time Americans/Brits/Canadians/everyone not Israeli has NO IDEA WHETHER YOUR NAME IS MALE, FEMALE or BOTH! Add to the confusion that many family names can also be used as first names, and you’ve got confusion times 10. A picture clears up that problem.
4. Along the same lines, don’t bother filling your profile out in Hebrew or writing your name in Hebrew (or any foreign language that does not use Latin letters). Even if you’re only planning on working b’aretz, use English and stop confusing everyone.

Amen

27/02/2012

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Da Blog

26/02/2012

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“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” – 10 points to anyone who can guess which novel that quote is from.

Blogs are often started with the purest intentions, usually during a bout of enthusiastic creativity. Other blogs are started out of perceived necessity, because everyone knows that in today’s world, if you ain’t got a blog, you ain’t got shit.

Here are a few tips before you get started.

1) Only write about what you love. If you don’t love it, you’ll get bored with writing it quicker than you can say “blog blog blog, blog blogity blog”.

2) When you’ve brainstored your list of potential blog subjects, try and outline your first 10 posts. If you can’t think of at least 10 substantial posts, choose a new subject. I, for one, would love to blog about the beauty of NIS 10 pasta at King george, but that would top out at about 1.5 posts.

3) Engage. Let people leave comments. Even the spammy comments. Just kidding. Link your blog to Facebook so people will read and share your content. Publicize it. Put your name out there.

4) Stick with it. Nothing is worse than a blog that starts off strong and slowwwwwly fades away. If you start writing, stick with it! Or, at the very least, take the blog off your site. No one likes a quitter.

English Emergency: Amot Investments

24/12/2011

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English Emergency in the lobby of Amot Investments, a leading public real estate company.

A snarky sidenote, if I may, but if you have ever seen the number of Israelis standing outside this building chain smoking, you too would wonder why this grammatically incorrect sign was written in (sort of) English in the first place.

Facebook – part deux

21/12/2011

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Welcome to Facebook – part deux, which is a guide intended for any business NOT in the Fortune 500. First off, forget everything you think you know about Facebook. Likely, your knowledge is limited to having a personal account – meaning you spy on old classmates and post silly pictures of your dog or children.

Facebook offers two options for promoting your business, which are not mutually exclusive (you can have both)!

Option 1: A Facebook Fan page. This is the page where people can click “Like”. It is a great place to share information with your adoring fans. You can post photos (not of your kids), videos, links, you name it. FB fan pages are also compatible with Twitter, so you can actually link these two services together. Posting on FB and having it magically appear on your Twitter saves you time and effort.

Your fans who have clicked Like are also able to post on the page’s wall, which encourages interaction.  People are inclined to Like your page because it takes only one click to have access to all of the content.

To tell you the absolute truth, Fan pages are the way to go.  They are easy to create, easy to maintain and are easy to attract followers.

Moving on….

Option 2: Facebook Groups. Before Fan pages were created, Groups were the best option for creating a ‘meeting spot’ for your clients/friends/family, etc. With the creation of Fan pages, Groups are decidedly less special, and certainly less common. One inarguable benefit is the ability to make a group “hidden”, or only available to select people. This is a way to limit random weirdos who may want to join, and to protect the privacy of the people in the group. “ONLY the members of the class of 2003 can join this Group, and I mean it!!!” can actually be enforced.

Otherwise, Groups are quite similar to pages…go ahead, post on the wall, add a photo, you can upload documents, blah blah…

But really, go get yourself a Fan page.

Preposition Disposition

20/12/2011

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Before we get back to exploring the second of the big 4 social media beasts (Facebook FTW), let us take a little detour into the less glamorous world of prepositions.

Prepositions are some of the shortest words in English, yet can be the most confusing for non-native speakers. I’ve noticed that Hebrew speakers in particular seem to struggle with how and when to properly use these sneaky little guys.

Here are the more problematic ones:

On/At/In

On is used for days of the week and for specific dates. For example:

My doctor appointment is on Tuesday.

On the 5th of January we are going on vacation.

At is used for specific time. For example:

At what time are you meeting him?

My doctor appointment is on Tuesday at 9:00.

In is used for general time when it is not specific. For example:

We like to take our family vacation in January.

It snows in New York in the winter.

However, without a doubt, the most problematic is since/ago. In Hebrew, לפני

can be used in a variety of places, and is generally a catch-all for talking about things in the past. In English, however, things are never quite that simple. Since is used when describing something that has happened in a period of time after an event. For example:

I have been learning English since 2002

Since when do you smoke?

Since high school, we’ve been best friends.

Ago is separate and distinct from since. It is used to describe how much time has passed after an event. For example:

10 years ago, I visited Israel.

The movie ended one hour ago.

I hope this clears up confusion, rather than creating more confusion! Try visiting this extremely helpful website for more information, or contact me directly.

Drum roll, please…next up, Facebook!

18/12/2011

englishmamash

Ah, Facebook. The biggest beast of them all….we upload our favorite memories through photos, post on the walls of our friends, “poke” the attractive people we would like to be our friends, and click “like” with complete and utter abandon.

Facebook is near and dear to all of our hearts. But how to integrate such a fine, fine social networking tool into the realm of business? Well, the answer depends on what kind of business you’re running. If you are a big, corporate conglomerate, you need to quickly, very quickly, hire a social media expert to create and maintain a creative (and expensive) page. It IS worth the money, and it IS necessary. Besides, if you’re a corporate conglomerate you’ve likely got loads of money. On second thought, you, Mr. big corporate conglomerate,  probably aren’t reading this blog anyway.

Moving onto the small-to-mid-size businesses, for whom Facebook is much more DIY (do it yourself) and a significantly lower-budget operation. However, lower budget does not necessarily mean a lower level of coolness….. (to be continued)….