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How we communicate in Finglish

Jemmi Laaninen

Jemmi Laaninen

Today’s work environments are diverse, and we love it! Besides the obvious benefit of the wide variety of skills and expertise diversity brings to the table, it also brings a fun factor to the company culture: the mix of languages we can communicate in.

Our people come from varying backgrounds, not to mention we have two offices located in two countries. That means we have at least three languages spoken daily; Finnish, Polish, and our common language, English. To add to that, we have people speaking Vietnamese and Swedish on a native level, just to mention a couple. In addition to that, we also speak fluent Java, React Native and so on, but that’s another story. (We also prefer our puns intended.)

Not all workplaces have such a varied language palette. You might wonder, how do we make that work? What’s it like to work at a place like this?


Company communication should be clear for everyone

First, there has to be a stated company language, one that everyone can understand. I mean, that’s quite nice, right? For us, that’s English. We handle all internal company-wide communication in English, whether the message is on Slack, Basecamp or Jira. Same goes for our CRM – we prefer openness and we want anyone to be able to check what the boogie is whenever they feel like it. Common language makes it quite a bit easier. Weekly meetings, resourcing, demos and steering groups are held in English by default. 

At our Helsinki-office, the spoken language in our daily conversations between colleagues varies depending on who’s present. We often speak English even if there’s no need for doing so - we’re just so used to doing it.


Jumping into the culture: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes

You may wonder what it’s like to work in a place like this, especially if you don’t have previous experience of this kind of culture and way of working.

Personally, I’d been using English as a working language for quite some time before I joined Sangre, so for me, it came naturally without any culture shock. However, that may not be the case for everyone. We want to encourage you to try, learn, learn more, and become more comfortable with personal nuances in communicating with a language that isn’t your native.

There’s no need to stress about how you pronounce a certain word or if a little mishap happens in written form. None of us is perfect. We encourage our people to speak publicly, create content for our channels and really just trust their capabilities.

You can speak publicly in our weekly Friday demos (or elsewhere if you like, but we’re not forcing you), you can facilitate internal workshops, and we really hope you will just talk at the office in general. We love it when our people write blog posts and take part in creating our content. Oh, and there’s no need to fear that you’d have to do it all by your lonesome! We’ll proofread, edit and sanity-check it - so just let your creative vibes flow.


Rallienglanti and Finglish - and not ashamed of it

Sometimes it’s “rallienglanti” that blurts out. Sometimes it’s a British accent with great finesse. Laura sure can teach us a thing or two about that Aussie lingo. We also mix up languages as we go. Sometimes we speak quite a bit of Finglish - a mix of Finnish and English - usually filling up one with the other for some words that got lost in a brain fog. 

So, come as you are! That’s how we’ve come and we’d say it’s going great. Feel free to visit our offices in Helsinki and Warsaw and have a chat with us. We promise to serve you coffee (or tea, or nothing, depending on your preference), intended puns and a welcoming environment to get to know! 

If you're interested in working at this mixed language pot we like to call Sangre, check out our Careers page for job openings.

The writer is Sangre's Business Development Manager who describes herself as a digitally marinated, nerdy marketing goal-getter and brings sparkle into our life like a walking disco ball.