06 July 2015

Microsoft mission statement: so many words, most of them empty

Regular readers will be well aware that I am a fan of Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway. These same readers will also be aware that I report regularly on big-name executives and big-name companies that consistently demonstrate not only their own poor communication skills, but also their blindness to their shortcomings, hence the benefits of calling in professionals.

Lucy's latest piece on this theme, dated 5 July, is entitled Microsoft mission statement: so many words, most of them empty.
Something resembling Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's new mission statement is available here.
The full text of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's email to his 'team' containing the corporation's new 2015 mission statement, as obtained independently by GeekWire, is available here.

Would anyone out there in the blogosphere happen to have any Microsoft translations of this document?

As I've said here before, the translation industry makes life difficult for itself when  it classifies translations into rigid simplistic dichotomies like 'literary v commercial' or 'general v technical'.
Presumably anyone using 'general v technical' — and the underlying assumption that the former is easier than the latter — would classify this mission statement as 'general'.
To my mind, the emptier the text, the harder it is to translate.

Some quotes from Lucy's latest:

... the usual mishmash of “platforms”, “drivers”, “ecosystems”, “aligns”, “DNAs” and “going forwards” — as well as some more ambitious combinations such as “extend our experience footprint”.
This is what routinely passes for CEO communication in corporate America. But what is special about this example is it came from a big leader of a big company making a big announcement. Microsoft’s third chief executive was trying to convince the world that the company has a plan, and to remind employees what it is, in case they had forgotten. Yet what he came up with was unreadable, largely meaningless hyperbole — and no one turned a hair.
In the early days of Microsoft, Bill Gates came up with a vastly better mission: a computer on every desk and in every home.

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