English at Universeum. A Needs Analysis of Communication in English at the Science Center Universeum in Gothenburg
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to investigate how English is used at Universeum, the largest science center in Scandinavia, and also to identify any needs for improving the communication in English. To do this, a needs analysis is conducted that identifies the present state of Universeum’s English as well as a target situation in which the all the communicative goals for the language are met. In order to triangulate these two situations, the analysis makes use of three separate approaches: a questionnaire, three semi-structured interviews, and a text analysis of sign texts. The analysis shows that English is frequently used, in both written and oral form, in communication with visitors, business partners, and other zoos and science centers, but also between colleagues. The overall level of English is high, but some areas for improvement are identified. The questionnaire and interviews show that formal spoken communication in the form of scheduled guided tours and other activities are needed. The text analysis shows that there are many discrepancies between the signs’ Swedish and English texts, and that the English versions are often more complex. The study ends with a table that summarizes the needs and some suggested actions for improvements.
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