Thursday, September 30, 2010

영어 Hint of the Day (비지너스) #3: Do Not Call It a "Problem", Call It an "Issue"

In Korean, the word 문제 of course translate to the word problem in English.  There is no doubt that this is the accurate translation, but there is a nuance that usually goes unexplained.  For business purposes, it is better to use the word "issue." 

For example,
(x)   I have a small problem with the suppliers.
(o)  I have a small issue with the suppliers.

Why is this the case?
The reason is that the word "issue" is far more neutral than the word "problem" in English.  When you use the word "problem," the implication is that something is wrong.  Well, there are many possibilities.  One of them is that YOU are the problem.  As a result, using the word problem may end up being something is actually your fault. 
The word "issue," however, is far more neutral.  When you say "I have a small issue with the suppliers," it may be that the supplier is wrong, or that the order is incorrectly entered, or there is a technology/logistics problem of some sort, and may be easily resolved.  Therefore, if you use the word "issue," and you resolve the issue, you can be seen as positive influence on your company or the situation.

By the way, the verbs to use with the word "issue" are:  resolve and solve.  I prefer resolve in professional settings, but solve is acceptable between people in informal settings.


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