1. Do not write “the same” in an email – it makes little sense to them.
Example – I will try to organize the project artifacts and inform you of the same when it is done.
This is somewhat an Indian construct. It is better written simply as:
I will try to organize the project artifacts and inform you when that is done
2. Do not write or say, “I have some doubts on this issue” The term “Doubt” is used in the sense of doubting someone – we use this term because in Indian languages (such as Tamil), the word for a “doubt” and a “question” is the same.
The correct usage (for clients) is:
I have a few questions on this issue
3. The term “regard” is not used much in American English. They usually do not say “regarding this issue” or “with regard to this”. Simply use, “about this issue”.
4. Do not say “Pardon” when you want someone to repeat what they said. The word “Pardon” is unusual for them and is somewhat formal.
5. Americans do not understand most of the Indian accent immediately – They only understand 75% of what we speak and then interpret the rest.
Therefore try not to use shortcut terms such as “Can’t” or “Don’t”. Use the expanded “Cannot” or “Do not”.
6. Do not use the term “screwed up” liberally. If a situation is not good, it is better to say, “The situation is messed up”. Do not use words such as “shucks”, or “pissed off”.
7. As a general matter of form, Indians interrupt each other constantly in meetings – DO NOT interrupt a client when they are speaking. Over the phone, there could be delays – but wait for a short time before responding.
8. When explaining some complex issue, stop occasionally and ask “Does that make sense?”. This is preferable than “Do you understand me?”.
9. In email communications, use proper punctuation. To explain something, without breaking your flow, use semicolons, hyphens or parenthesis.
As an example:
You have entered a new bug (the popup not showing up) in the defect tracking system; we could not reproduce it – although, a screenshot would help.
Notice that a reference to the actual bug is added in parenthesis so that the sentence flow is not broken. Break a long sentence using such punctuation.
10. In American English, a mail is a posted letter. An email is electronic mail. When you say “I mailed the information to you” ,it means you sent an actual letter or package through the postal system.
The correct usage is:
“I emailed the information to you”
11. To “prepone” an appointment is an Indian usage. There is no actual word called prepone. You can “advance” an appointment.
12. In the term “N-tier Architecture” or “3-tier Architecture”, the word “tier” is NOT pronounced as “Tire”. I have seen many people pronounce it this way. The correct pronunciation is “tea-yar”. The “ti” is pronounced as “tea”.
13. The usages “September End”, “Month End”, “Day End” are not understood well by Americans. They use these as “End of September”, “End of Month” or “End of Day”.
14. Americans have weird conventions for time – when they say the time is “Quarter of One”, they mean the time is 1:15. Better to ask them the exact time.
15. Indians commonly use the terms “Today Evening”, “Today Night”. These are not correct; “Today” means “This Day” where the Day stands for Daytime. Therefore “Today Night” is confusing. The correct usages are:
“This Evening”, “Tonight”.
That applies for “Yesterday Night” and “Yesterday Evening”. The correct usages are: “Last Night” and “Last Evening”.
16. When Americans want to know the time, it is usual for them to say, “Do you have the time?” Which makes no sense to an Indian?
17. There is no word called “Updation”. You update somebody. You wait for updates to happen to the database. Avoid saying “Updation”.
18. When you talk with someone for the first time, refer to them as they refer to you – in America, the first conversation usually starts by using the first name. Therefore you can use the first name of a client. Do not say “Sir”. Do not call women “Madam”.
19. It is usual convention in initial emails (particularly technical) to expand abbreviations, this way:
We are planning to use the Java API For Registry (JAXR).
After mentioning the expanded form once, subsequently you can use the abbreviation.
20. Make sure you always have a subject in your emails and that the subject is relevant. Do not use a subject line such as HI.
21. Avoid using “Back” instead of “Back” Use “ago”. Back is the worst word for American. (for Days use “Ago”, For hours use “before”)
22. Avoid using “but” instead of “But” Use “However”.
23. Avoid using “Yesterday” hereafter use “Last day”.
24. Avoid using “Tomorrow” hereafter use “Next day”.
25. Ensure that you do not use the word “Problem”. This word gives a negative impact of the “Problem” being critical and having existed right from the beginning. You could, alternately, use the word “Issue”. This word has a lesser impact and as issues did not exist from the beginning (has just surfaced), they could be resolved in a lesser duration of time (unlike problems which needs to be solved and would take a greater time).
26. Avoid the usage of the word “Can”/”Will”. This word questions the listener of his ability to do “something”. Alternately use the word “Could”/”Would” or better still “May”. This is a polite way of requesting.
It also avoids questioning the ability as the listener is given an alternative and does not have an authoritative tone.
27. Avoid the usage of “Shall”/”Should”. These words do not have a confirmation/predictability tone attached to it. These words could, however, be used with the British clients that we might communicate with.
28. Do not use the word “But”, as this word is always used to give negative news. Use the word “However”, as it has a positive tone attached to it.
29. Use the word “Assist”, when you want to “Help” a person finish a task.
This is for the reason that when you assist a person, you work with him to get the task finished. If, however, you use the word “Help”, you would be saying that you will do the task all by yourself and do not need the other person’s presence or “assistance”.
30. Always judge a thing as “good” or “bad”. Do not say “it is different”, as the later is a polite way of saying it is bad.
31. Ensure that you don’t give the person a “Ring”, instead you give him a “Call”.
32. You don’t pay the “Bills”, you pay the “Check”, with the “Bills”.
33. Keep your sentences short and unambiguous and be confident in your tone