We’re only human

Posted by Rob Shimwell


Something about Leonardo's hula-hoop prototype was just not quite right

Something about Leonardo’s hula-hoop prototype was just not quite right

As part of a teaching qualification I’m working towards, I recently wrote an extended assignment on the science of marketing. I’m trying to get a Modjool in Marketing. A whole modjool. Now there’s a lot of flannel and marketing–speak which turns me off a smidge in this particular area and, if I’m honest, brings out the cynic in me.

However, I’ve noticed a large part of the marketing media bang on about the fact marketing isn’t just a department: it’s a way of operating that includes the whole company. I almost wrote ‘a way of life’, but then a little bit of sick started to rise at the back of my throat. Step away from the marketing-speak. STEP AWAY!

Sorry, lost my train of thought. Everyone in some shape or form really is contributing to the success (or failure!) of a company; whether that person is performing the actual service of that company or it’s an ancillary contribution in the belittlingly titled ‘back-office’. Whatever the contribution, it should reflect the values of the company.

Company values? Commercial vision? Mission statement? Corporate doo-dahs. Hold on, Shimwell. Calm down. Don’t go down that avenue of the darks arts. It looks like you’re on the turn…

SDL Trados – the translation CAT tool company – wrote an interesting blog (click here) on the concept of value too. And these things that can help differentiate one company from another. USPs d’you see? Yah?

I love to harp on about the human touch at Dialogue. Now it’s clear from a functional perspective we need it in translations – machine translation is unbelievably sophisticated nowadays, but we all know that AI still can’t cope with nuances and shades of meaning. Nothing new there. On-line language training can be very smart, but there’s still nothing that can replace flesh and bones in the classroom (be those bones real or virtual). Again, not exactly earth-shattering, ‘hold-the-front-page’ news, is it?

But, and it’s a whopping but. The humanity behind delivering the services is just as important. Customers want and need service. They also want efficiency, fair prices and accuracy. Of course they do. But they want service too and service means the human touch, integrity and a heart. Especially in my game.

I’ve come across plenty of those ‘inspirational’ quotations from the books and web-sites I’ve read just recently. Let me share a few:

People like to do business with people they like


 To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.

Douglas Adams

Warren Buffet – worth a cool $93 billion – so he knows something

Warren Buffet – worth a cool $93 billion

In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.

Warren Buffet




I reckon the main key to success in business is, basically, to be nice to people.

My mate, Jonny. (Not quite so pithy, but no less true)


The day that Dialogue puts anything before service is the day I hang up my marker-pen.

I really don’t know why we say: “We’re only human”

We are human. And that’s fabulous.

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