Show, don’t tell.

The place where I work is very multicultural. It’s a large company, with offices around the world. This means that sometimes, you cannot help but run into a bit of a language barrier – especially when talking more technical things, as you’ll often get with software development.

I was explaining to some German guys about how to use a code review tool we use here, but unfortunately, we were verbally tripping up over each other, even though their English is very good.

So, what to do at this point? They suggested that maybe we could set up a Webex meeting, and I could show them my screen and talk them through everything.

Now, Webex meetings and screen sharing are both awesome tools in the arsenal of computer related tasks when attempting to send knowledge across the pond, but they can be time consuming. You have to schedule time for the whole event, and there’s always one person who has a problem getting into the meeting properly. I came across another solution, instead.

I used tinytake, and made a video of what needed to be done. This application is all sorts of awesome. For free, you can record a specified area of your screen for up to 5 minutes. If you want more, you have to pay for it. Regardless, a minute and a half of recording later, I sent out a demo video to the nice German folks, and they were up and running properly 5 minutes later. No muss, no fuss. More importantly, because it was a video without sound, no more confusing each other. Language barrier – smashed. Hoorah!

I’d highly recommend giving the app a whirl. Not just for busting through language barriers, but I believe it has scope when trying to explain to *anyone* how to do something on their computer without being confusing or caught up in jargon.

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