At work when my project first started preparing to be working in a distributed fashion, some of us put together a page on our team's wiki about cross cultural difference to help each side communicate with the other... I just thought I'd share it... I'm the author of much of the language part (but it definitely wasn't me who wrote about the shorts... (if it was it would've been miniskirts...))
Cross Cultural Training
IS IT ALL ABOUT JOHNSONS TANNING LOTIONS IN THE UK???
OR IS IT ALL ABOUT THE FAIR & LOVELY CREAMS IN INDIA???
OUR GUIDE TO MOVING BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES!!
Moving to the UK
Dress-Code in the TE-UK office is Business Attire. Friday's is dress down day, so you can wear casual once a week
Football is the sport that the British are crazy about
Most high street shops will close in the UK at 5pm. Shopping Centres usually on the outskirts of the cities will stay open till 8pm/9pm.
You will most often have to call for a Taxi in the UK, unless you are in the city centre. You cannot flag them down anywhere like in India
10 Downing Street is the prime minister's residence and office.
The British say 'Holiday' not Vacation.
The english do not use heavy spice or masala in foods, so people from India will often find it very bland.
Moving to India
Dress-Code in the TE-India office is Casual. If you are lucky, you will even see guys in shorts
It is common for people to have a dependancy on others, Drivers, Maids, Service People
Cricket is a religion for people in India
"Two minutes" doesn't really mean two minutes, it's just an expression.
10 Downing Street is one of the prime nightclubs in Pune
In Pune, the rickshaws will only use their meter for charging for longer distances. You will have to agree a price for short distances, out of town or night time. The meter formula is to multiply the meter amount by 6 and add 2 to get the fare in rupees.
You Don't have tip anyone unless you feel like. Unlike America where Tipping is mandatory!
Don't assume "Yes" means "Yes."
General Business Rules Cross-Site
Time – Everyone should be on time both for physical & non physical meetings
Bank Holidays in India differ to those in the UK
Other Useful Hints
Certainly another sort of cross-cultural thing is English word usage… Indians often use English translated almost straight from their mother tongues, Hindi or Marathi (or others from different regions) which to a native English speaker sometimes doesn't make sense, or makes sense but isn't quite right.
An example, was when one guy was not feeling well and came late, someone said "he would be in later". In U.S. English, that would properly be phrased as "he will be in later" with "would" leaving some doubt, like "he would be in later, however…". Indians use "would" the way we'd use "will".
Indian English is also a lot more passive than the more active American and U.K. English seems to be… Like someone might say "this computer is having 2 MB of RAM" compared with American or U.K. English where it's "this computer has 2 MB of RAM".
In India "there" means "here", while present and future tense are intermixed. For instance, if someone in the office wants to tell people they will be out of the office the next day, they say "I am not there tomorrow" rather than the English or American, "I will not be here tomorrow".
In India the word "doubt" is often used to indicate a question, such as "I have a doubt about story XXX". English and Americans interpret "doubt" not as a question but a concern, saying you have a doubt about something means you think it is not right.
The word "some" is used differently in different types of English. In American and U.K. English "some" often means something is unknown. For example, if the ICT fellow writes "users cannot connect to the system for some reason" then that means they don't know the reason. In Indian English, "some" often means the writer knows but isn't saying, such as "the meeting is canceled for some reason" means there is a definite reason the meeting is canceled, but the writer isn't telling you.
The word "keep" can also be used differently. In American and U.K. English, keep means not to give something back. Saying "I kept the phone" means you did not return the phone and it stayed in your possession, while in Indian English, "I kept the phone" means you hung up the call and physically put it back where it belongs (e.g. the receiver on the cradle, or back on the charging unit).
When discussing multiplication in arithmetic, English and Americans say "times", while Indians say "into". So, in India, to calculate the rickshaw fare when the meter says 5.00, an Indian would say "5 into 6 plus 2" to get 32, but English or Americans would say "5 times 6 plus 2" to arrive at the same answer... The confusion comes in that for Americans and English, "into" would indicate division more than multiplication (e.g. 5 goes into 30 6 times, that is, how many 5's are in 30).
Don't assume "Yes" means "Yes."
"We'll try," is the "diplomatic way of saying, ‘We really can't, but we don't want to tell you.' Indians have a certain aversion to saying, "No."
Americans/British want a direct "Yes" or "No. For Indians, the tendency will be to say, "Yes," and try to make it happen at all costs. That can create wide miscommunication and variances in expectations.