Has it ever struck you that Ugandan banks could be alienating potential customers by not considering financial translation services and having their transactions done in the English language? Every Ugandan bank you go to has its receipts written in English. In fact even most of the tellers and other staff in these banks speak only the official national language – English.
It’s ironic that banks that are at the forefront of preaching the gospel of developing a savings culture are the ones doing all their official business in the English language yet they know that most Ugandans are not well-educated and even some of those who have attained formal education up to university level are still not fluent with the Queen’s language and prefer communicating in the local languages.
This situation in Uganda’s financial sector justifies the urgent need for financial translation services. In the capital city, Kampala, the local newspaper Bukkedde sells more copies everyday than Daily Monitor and New Vision. Even in western Uganda, Orumuri newspaper which is written in Runyankole-Rukiga sells like hotcakes because people generally prefer reading something written in their mother tongues.
This also explains why the glut of radio and television stations that saturate our country since the liberalisation of media in early 1990s are popular for broadcasting in local languages. Radio stations like Sanyu Fm, Radio One, and Capital Fm (to mention only three) which broadcast exclusively in the English language are only popular among the urban elite who are the minority compared to stations like CBS in Buganda or Radio West in Mbarara who have more listeners but broadcast in the local languages.
Need for a paradigm shift
It goes without saying that we need a paradigm shift in Uganda’s financial sector as far as communications is concerned. Those who cannot speak English language fluently don’t deserve to miss out on messages of financial and economic empowerment. Thus the time is now for banks and other financial businesses to hire financial language translators to always translate their documents into local languages for accessibility of those not articulate in the English language. Other translation services offered in various languages include;
Oromo translation services
Kinyarwanda translation services
Malagasy translation services
Somali translation services
Kirundi translation services
Chewa translation services
Tigrinya translation services among many others.
The other day a lady from one of the big insurance companies in Kampala came to persuade me to sign up for one of their educational insurance packages. She was Ugandan with a Ugandan name but she was speaking fast like a rapper and in a foreign accent that made it hard for me to grasp what she was saying. I asked her to speak in Luganda but she said she was not fluent in it though she was born and raised in Buganda. In the end I never signed up for the package she was selling because I just could not keep up with her foreign accent and fast speech.
This is another example of how the language barrier is costing business owners and financial corporations many potential customers. The proletariat who are the majority would rather keep their money in piggy banks or stash it under their mattresses than save it with banks because the banks and other companies are not speaking the language these ordinary folks understand. If they did, many banks would be booming because many people would be saving with them and we would have a robust economy. As a common saying goes, a word for the wise is enough!
There can be varied reasons for a business start-up but the main values in running the business are of those who are the founders. We can see that company exhibits the main skills of the founder in its spirits, for example, if the founder is an engineer, he will emphasize in production rather than sales and marketing which should not be neglected. Main efforts are centered on the acceptability of the product in the market. If the owner can provide the demands of business i.e. time, energy, and finances, he/she can move to the second stage. Otherwise, he/she will have to wind up their business as there is limited time for the company to stay at one stage. Here the main focus changes to establish the company and earn profits. With this financial push company will need to formalize the system and start record keeping, an unskilled manager can’t handle this all. After this, there will be demand for change in administration’s style because of increased activity in his business.
The moment a company moves forward to the expansion stage it should be able to earn a decent profit, but that profit will not go to the owner. This is because it will be invested in the business in order to assist in the capital demands of the company. It demands time for coordinating functional managerial activities; it demands complicated organizational structure mainly focusing on functional lines. Now research and development will be established in order to increase product range. At the start, it will be on a smaller scale because of lack of capital. If management continues changing its environment, the company can stay at this stage for some time. In many cases, owners sell their business at this stage for substantial benefits. The increase of new markets and product will demand more finances. This stage faces larger competitors who deal the situation by putting stress on emerging firm; this stress can be in the form of very low prices as well. At this stage over trading is the biggest threat if not handled properly it can lead the business to demise. As the company grows it need to extend geographical trading and distribution, so ‘supervised supervision’ will be required at this stage. If new competitors enter the market and the owner wants to maintain his shares, he will have to put more capital by himself or attract some partners.
This stage demands proper management reports, budget control, and dispersed authority, along with a formal accounting system. Basic adaptation at this stage will be to systemize administrative roles which are keys to survival through this stage. The expansion stage demands stable long term funds which will be important and if there is not plan for partners then this stage must be considered right now. Although retained earnings are major forms of funds but dividends are the special attraction to the investors; at this stage these are inevitable. Now company’s track record will help in gaining long term loans but the company will have to give security in the form of assets.
At this stage main issues are about expense control, search for growth opportunities and productivity. The direction of authority can be towards functional lines or it is reorganized with production lines. As there is severe price competition, therefore, productions department should be the center of focus and authorities should emphasize on innovative moves towards betterment.
Now basic investments are in sales and marketing struggles and maintenance and plant up gradation. The company grows up to a level that income is sufficient to tackle this but occasionally more long term load prove to be a support. At this level firm may limit its operations or move on, normally acquisition or floatation in order to become a large corporation.
In deciding what makes an effective manager, there are four main factors to consider and not all of them are directly controlled by the manager concerned. They are, YOU, YOUR JOB, THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH and YOUR ORGANISATION.
You bring your own knowledge, skills, abilities, talents and experience to the job you do as manager and these things will have an impact on how effective you can be in your role. Managers with greater experience can often remember the mistakes they made as a newbie and so appreciate how their now-seasoned skills can improve their job performance.
The actual position you hold and the work you do in its duties and responsibilities will affect your ability to be an effective manager, since it may be either a good or bad match for your skills and abilities.
The people you work with
Other employees have a major influence on managerial effectiveness. People are important if a manager wishes to achieve the work he/she needs to do. To a certain extent, effectiveness is measured by how well the manager concerned is able to motivate people and coordinate their efforts to achieve best performance. However, in many settings, a more realistic appraisal of management work is that managers are dependent upon their employees to get work done, so effectiveness will be determined by the skills, abilities and willingness of those people.
Organisational structure and where you are within it will affect the amount of authority you can wield and the responsibilities you are expected to be able to handle. It can also specify limits to what is achievable. Also, your organisation’s corporate culture, with its unwritten norms of conduct and methods of working, will influence your ability to be an effective manager.
So it is not enough to simply improve your knowledge of management techniques to improve your effectiveness. These techniques must be tempered by an understanding of these four factors in order to become practically useful in the corporate workplace.