Designing Professional Communication Across Cultures

The connexions journal logo; Published as part of "CFP: DESIGNING PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION ACROSS CULTURES"I recently co-edited a special issue of Connexions International Professional Communication Journal on the topic of “Designing Professional Communication Across Cultures” with Quan Zhou. As part of the special issue, several scholars from the field of Technical and Professional Communication (TPC) provided new approaches to professional communication and design within a broad array of cultural contexts.

Why Do We Need New Approaches to Communication Across Cultures?

As we explain in our editor’s introduction to the special issue, the dual trends of globalization and technological advancement require new approaches to design and professional communication. Communication products and services must now span cultural boundaries, and must be developed to mesh with the cultural values, practices, and access needs of a wide variety of cultures. Gone are the days of monocultural communication in which professionals could assume shared cultural standing for all stakeholders. We must embrace the multiplicity of the modern, globalized workplace if our discipline is to remain relevant.

What Do These Approaches Look Like?

  • In his “Role of design education in fostering values of social responsibility in designers,” Sanjeev Bothra examines India’s design education efforts with regard to social responsibility.
  • Duin, Moses, McGrath, Tham, and Ernst use the design thinking methodology to create a technical and professional communication experience across academic cultures, disciplines, and age groups. In their “Design thinking methodology: A case study of ‘radical collaboration’ in the wearables research 5 collaboratory,” they report on the work of a team of faculty, graduate research assistants, and undergraduate researchers who utilized wearable technologies (e.g., Google Glass and Google Cardboard) and the design thinking framework to study wicked problems.
  • In “But is that relevant here? A pedagogical model for embedding translation training within technical communication courses in the U.S.,” Gonzales describes how students of a technical communication course collaborated with Michigan’s Language Services Department on a tool to facilitate multilingual community work.
  • In “Mapping the cultural context of care: An approach to patientcentered design in international contexts,” Kirk St.Amant provides a way to design culturally sensitive materials for patients in different cultures.

For the Full Issue, Visit the Connexions Website:

Cite The Special Issue (APA)

Zhou, Q. & Getto, G. (2017). Designing professional communication across cultures. Connexions International Professional Communication Journal, 5(1), 1-149.