Edward Trimnell on the Myth of Global English and the Costs of Americans’ Monolingualism
Like many Americans, Edward Trimnell studied a foreign language in high school only because it was required. In his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio there had been no sizeable immigrant population since the 19th century, and he didn’t see the point of conjugating verbs and memorizing vocabulary. He certainly never thought he’d use a foreign language in his future career.
It was not until the late ’80s, when Trimnell was studying economics at the Univ. of Cincinnati that he wanted to learn a language. At the time, the pace of globalization was accelerating, and in particular U.S. and Japanese business relations were increasing. Trimnell’s father, who worked in the automated data collection industry, was beginning to rely on Japanese suppliers on a regular basis.
Trimnell decided to enroll in a few Japanese classes at his university, and that was all he needed to become hooked. He embarked on an intensive self study course, and before his undergraduate years were over, Trimnell was fluent enough to start a translating business, tapping into Ohio’s major Japan-based companies like Honda and Toyota.
Now, with a career that has mixed academia, entrepreneurship, and the corporate mainstream—including more than a decade of business experience in the Japanese automotive industry and extended business travel to Japan, Brazil, and Mexico—Trimnell has put his real-world experience and knowledge of learning foreign languages into an accessible, engaging book. Why You Need a Foreign Language & How to Learn One (2003) offers compelling arguments for studying a foreign language, or two, as well as advice and resources for getting started. In addition to Why You Need a Foreign Language, Trimnell is also working on two books for students of the Japanese language.
Trimnell’s day job is in a global IT project management position at Toyota. He earned a BA in economics from the University of Cincinnati in 1991 and has completed graduate work in marketing, management science, information systems, and finance.
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