I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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Production English

Last night I heard of production English for the first time and am quite fascinated with it.

New country, new language

When many people arrive in Australia, they learn English to be able to communicate with other people who live here. English classes teach them things like ‘hello, how are you?’, ‘can I please buy…?’ and ‘where is the library?’

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I assume the same thing happens for most people who move to a country with a language different to their own.

welcome into a pit - an unexpected sign

How would you interpret this situation if you couldn’t read much English? Safety can be jeopardised if people can’t read or understand notices.

What about less generic language?

The challenge really starts when people need more specific language – the words and phrases you don’t get in beginner classes.

For instance, trying to follow a procedure or read instructions on machinery can be quite difficult if you only have basic English.

Especially once you consider grammar and similar words (that is, homonyms and other potentially confusing words that I define in Monday Meanings) can make it even harder to understand – just like pilots can have trouble if English is not their native tongue.

The story I heard last night was about a group of people who work well at their jobs but are sometimes limited or put at risk by the fact that they don’t have ‘production English’ to help them at work.

Obviously, ensuring that procedures and instructions are written as simply and clearly as possible is one aspect – and still a very important task.

Yet it is also critical to help such people learn relevant words in English. And there are programs in Melbourne now that are working on solving this issue, at least for some groups of immigrants.

Does your business have procedures or instructions that would be challenging for someone with only basic English?


* Image courtesy of 123RF

Expanding your market

No doubt you’ve heard that it’s a good idea to have a clearly defined market and to keep your prices as high as the value (rather than discounting all the time). It’s good advice.

Susan Oakes, however, gave a suggestion for expanding your offerings to suit a lower price market. Normally, business success doesn’t include going for a cheaper market but Susan’s idea of offering something new and cheaper is sound.

The idea is to make a product or service that either lacks the bells and whistles or is effectively a DIY version, meaning you can sell for less and appeal to a lower budget audience without detracting the price or value of your main product or service.

Want some examples?

  1. For those who don’t want to pay for a professional writer on small tasks, I produced a writing tips eBook. A much cheaper option for small businesses but still getting me a sale – all my eBooks follow a similar concept
  2. if you usually sell water tanks fully installed, maybe offer them for DIY homes as well
  3. wedding photographers used to sell a completed album, possibly in a package with the negatives. Now many offer a disc of images as a cheaper option as well as a full album with the disc
  4. a web designer could set up a series of templates and sell them as a digital product while still doing the more expensive tailored web designs as their main service
Is there a way you could expand your business to include a lower budget client? Think broadly or add your business in the comments and let’s see what ideas others can find for you…

New category…

I have come to realise that there are two groups of people writing for business – those who are ready for technical knowledge and those who need more help with the basics of writing and grammar. Most of my blog so far has been aimed at those with a certain level of knowledge, rather than helping those (usually sole traders and particularly WAHMs and WAHDs) who need information about the basics to present themselves in the best light.

So, I am adding a new category called “basic grammar and writing” where I can include an occasional post about topics that may seem more obvious, but are critical for good English and a professional presentation. For those who need this, I hope it helps you! And please ask about any specific topics you want to know about.