Going on a training course


In this lesson Carlos Vila, the new Divisional Software Engineering Manager at Industrias Montresor, is being sent to Osaka, Japan, on a company training course. We look at how to make travel arrangements, and at meeting people in formal and informal situations.


Joe Andrews  
Pilar Soto  
Carlos Vila  
Akiko Ito is a Software Course Organiser at the Sima Electronics Training Centre, Osaka, Japan. She is Japanese.
Bret Holman is Head of Research and Development at Tahoe Data Systems in the USA. He is American.


Vocabulary Training courses; air travel; computers.
Skills Writing a telex; making travel arrangements; writing a letter; meeting people.
Structures Possessive's; formal and informal language; flight numbers and times.
Documents A telex; a letter of acceptance; a letter of confirmation; a speculative letter; an advertising leaflet; an airline schedule.

Making arrangements

5.1 Document study

Carlos Vila has now been with Industrias Montresor as Divisional Software Engineering Manager for three months. This telex arrives at the Zaragoza office about a training course for some new machinery that Industrias Montresor is buying from a Japanese company.

240692 SIMA JPN

CONS. NO. 7211 24.06.92 10:30





240692 SIMA JPN


5.2 Reading for key words

Find the words or phrases in the telex in 5.1 that tell you the following:

1 (four letters meaning) attention.
2 (four letters meaning) as soon as possible.
3 an empty place on a course.
4 say 'yes' to an offer.
5 give information about something (two answers).
6 until and including (a certain date).
7 'We ask you politely' (two answers).

5.3 Listen and read

Joe Andrews telephones Pilar Soto, Carlos's manager, about the training course. Listen to what they say. Joe then asks his secretary, Maria, to make the travel arrangements for Carlos's flight to Japan. Listen to what he says. Notice that this is a long instruction, and so he does not include any unnecessary words.

JOE Now, I take it see the meaning that you want to send Carlos to Japan? You did say that it would be the new man's first assignment!
PILAR That's right, and he's been with us for three months now. Never mind. At least he's had a chance to settle in and get to know the place.
JOE Maria, would you please get on to see the meaning the travel agents to make a flight reservation. Tell them we've got someone flying to Osaka in Japan, business class, arriving on 21 July, not later than 1700 hours local time see the meaning, departing Osaka on the morning of the twenty-ninth. The reservation is in the name of Dr Carlos Vila. Any queries, just contact me.

5.4 Find the word

This is another extract from Joe's telephone call to Pilar. Read the text, and fill the gaps with words from the box.


At last, Sima have contacted us to say there's a (a) on one of their (b) courses. I think we'll have to take it up, though the dates aren't very convenient: 22 (c) 28 July. Yes, July! All (d) have to arrive in Osaka on the afternoon of the twenty-first. Now, you want my department to make all the (e) arrangements, I suppose. I'll inform you in due course see the meaning of Vila's (f) times and numbers.

delegates flight to training travel vacancy

5.5 Document study

A letter is faxed to Japan the same day, and a reply is received a few days later. The tone of both of these letters is rather formal, and most of the sentences contain standard business phrases. Which phrases might be useful in other business letters?

Mr M Yamashita
Vice-President, Customer Relations
Sima Machine Corporation
Osaka, Japan

24 June 1992

Dear Mr Yamashita

Thank you for your telex of today's date. We shall be pleased to take up your offer of a place for our Divisional Software Engineering Manager on your Software Familiarisation Course commencing on 22 July. He is Dr Carlos Vila, whose c.v. is enclosed.
Arrangements have been made for him to fly from Madrid to Osaka, arriving on Japan Air Lines flight JL456 at 1615 hours local time on 21 July, and returning via flight JL934 from Osaka at 0930 on 29 July.
We trust you will find these arrangements satisfactory.

Yours sincerely

Joe Andrews
Staff Controller
Dr Carlos Vila
Systems Engineering Department
Industrial Montresor SA
Apdo 234
Zaragoza, Spain

Our ref.: A1/3267/trg/92
Your ref.:

26 June 1992

Dear Dr Vila

My colleagues and I look forward lo welcoming you as a participant on our Course 37 (9909 Series Software familiarisation) commencing at 8.30 a.m. on 22 July.

Our company car will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please be ready at 7.30 p.m. on 21 July lo attend our welcome party and dinner. Our company coach will pick up delegates from the hotel at 8.00 a.m. next morning.

I enclose a brief summary of the course schedule, and wish you a pleasant journey from Zaragoza to Osaka. Please let me know at once if any problems arise.

Yours sincerely

(Miss) Akiko Ito
Course Organiser

5.6 Reading for key words

Find the words or phrases in Akiko Ito's letter in 5.5 that tell you the following:

1 the people who work with me in my company.
2 someone who takes part in something.
3 a car belonging to a company.
4 a timetable of activities for a course.
5 a short statement of the most important points.

5.7 Writing practice: telexes and letters

Telex messages are sent along ordinary telephone lines, and telephone calls cost money, so when you write a telex you don't use more words than are necessary.
Look again at the telex in 5.1. When you send a telex to an organisation, and you want it to go to a particular person, use 'ATTN' ('attention') or 'FTAO' ('for the attention of'), followed by the person's name or job title.
If you want to put your own name at the end, use 'REGARDS', followed by your name and/or job title, e.g. 'REGARDS ANDREWS, STAFF CONTROLLER'.

1 Rewrite Joe Andrews's letter to Mr Yamashita as a telex. It will be a little shorter, but not much.


2 Then rewrite Mr Yamashita's telex in 5.1 to Joe Andrews as a letter, laying it out correctly (see 3.16)


Meeting people

5.8 Listen and read

Carlos arrives at Osaka airport, and is greeted by Akiko Ito. Listen to how Carlos and Akiko greet each other formally, and then relax a little.

AKIKO Hello! Dr Vila!
CARLOS Good afternoon. Miss - Ito? Do you say 'Ito'?
AKIKO That's quite right. I'm your Course Organiser. I hope you had a good flight?
CARLOS Yes, thanks. It was a bit long, but quite comfortable. I hope I won't suffer too much from jet lag. see the meaning
AKIKO Oh, you mustn't have jet lag, because we have a party tonight and a very busy day for you tomorrow!
CARLOS Oh! I see. Well, I'll have to forget my jet lag until I get back to Spain, won't I?

5.9 Listening for meaning

Listen again carefully to the conversation in 5.8. There are many meanings carried by the intonation of the speakers, by the way their voices rise and fall.

1 At the airport, Akiko says 'Dr Vila' and Carlos says 'Miss Ito'. One of them is a question. Which one? And which of them is worried in case he/she has made a mistake? How do we know this?
2 'I hope you had a good flight.' Akiko's words are in the form of a statement. How does she make it into a question?
3 Akiko says 'That's quite right.' Carlos says 'It was a bit long, but quite comfortable.' What does the word 'quite' mean in these two statements?

5.10 Listen and read

In a lecture theatre at the Sima Electronics Training Centre, Akiko Ito welcomes the members of Course 37. Listen to what she says. Notice that she is quite formal.


Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Course 37:
Software Familiarisation on our company's 9909 series machines. We have a full programme for you during the next seven days and the course is very intensive see the meaning. This course has been developed especially for Industrias Montresor, and it's essential for all their Systems Engineers to have plenty of hands-on experience see the meaning - that's why we can only take ten participants on each course.
On the table in front of you, you will each find a copy of the course manual. see the meaning Please treat this as a confidential document. It contains detailed information about your company's computer installations - and I'm sure that your competitors would find it most interesting!

5.11 Listen and read

Later, in the training centre canteen, Carlos is having a cup of coffee when a stranger comes and sits at his table. Listen to what they say. Notice how they start speaking to each other, without actually introducing themselves.

AMERICAN Hi there! Mind if I join you?
CARLOS Of course, please do. Are you studying here?
AMERICAN I'm on Course 35, Electronic Engineering. There's only six of us.
CARLOS On my course we have ten. Software Familiarisation. Today is our first day.
AMERICAN That's quite a book they've given you. May I see?
CARLOS Er - I'm sorry - we're not supposed to ...
AMERICAN Oh, I understand. It's confidential, right? So, tell me about yourself. Who do you work for? Or is that confidential too?
CARLOS No. It's a large manufacturing corporation - in Spain. We make machines for the chemical industry.

5.12 Listen and read

Carlos is sitting talking to the American, Bret Holman, when he hears the bell that means he must return to his seminar. Read the dialogue and listen to how the two men now introduce themselves.


I'm sorry, I forgot to introduce myself. My name's Bret Holman. Here's my card.


Bret Holman. Head of Research and Development. Tahoe Data Systems. How do you do, Mr Holman. I'm Carlos Vila.


Good to meet you, Carlos. As it happens, Tahoe Data is very interested in Spain just now...
(Bell rings)


Oh, I'm sorry, that's for my group. Please excuse me.


Of course. Don't let me keep you.


I am sorry, Mr Holman, I forgot to give you my card! Goodbye.


Gee, thanks. Ah! Industrias Montresor, Divisional Software Engineering Manager. Interesting!

5.13 Structure practice: possessive 's

Read again the dialogues and documents in this unit. Look for examples of 's. We usually use 's as a possessive form with nouns that refer to people or animals:

the new man's first assignment

Joe's telephone call

It is not normally used with nouns that refer to objects or things. For example, we don't say 'at the meeting's start' or 'a company's car'; we do say 'at the start of the meeting', 'a company car'.

But when the noun can be used to mean the group of people connected with something, then the 's form can be used:

our company's 9909 series machines
your company's computer installation

Read through the dialogue below, and decide whether each 's is right or wrong. The answer key shows you what a British speaker would probably say.


Hello! How was your conference?


Terrible! My company's car broke down, and I missed the conference's start.


Oh dear! That's not good for your company's image.


No. And it got worse! At lunch's end I got up to leave and my chair's leg broke!


5.14 Reading for key words: formal and informal language

Read and listen to 5.10 again. Find the more formal words and phrases in Akiko Ito’s speech which mean the same as these informal ones:


you're going to have to study extremely hard.


to use computers a lot.


don't let other people read your manual.


Now listen to, and read, 5.11 and 5.12 again. Find the informal words in Bret Holman's comments which mean the same as these formal ones:


Good morning. May I sit here, please?


You've been given a large and impressive book.


Please don't apologise.


It's a pleasure to meet you.


The sentences that follow show a number of different ways of saying more or less the same thing. Mark them as F(ormal), I(nformal) or N(eutral).


I must inform you that this document is confidential.


Unfortunately, this is a confidential document.


You're joking! Do you want to get me into trouble?


May I, with great respect, point out that it is confidential.


Sorry, I'm afraid it's supposed to be confidential.


Which of these sentences would be most suitable for Carlos to use in 5.11?


Making an offer

5.15 Document study

Carlos is now back in Spain, and he receives this letter from Bret Holman. It is an informal, personal letter. Bret is trying to find out if Carlos would like to leave Industrias Montresor and take a job with Tahoe Data Systems. He makes this sound attractive, but does he actually make any offers?

On the envelope 'Private and confidential'


Dr Carlos Vila
Industrias Montresor SA
Apdo 234

15 September 1992

Dear Dr Vila

You may possibly remember me. I am the American who introduced himself to you in the canteen at the Sima Machine Corporation a couple of months ago. Unfortunately our conversation was cut short see the meaning when you had to return to your study group, but you were kind enough to give me your card.

As I may have indicated to you when we met, I have now transferred from the United States to Madrid, where my Corporation is establishing the head office of its European network. As Executive Vice-President (Operations). I have the responsibility of assembling a technical team that will put Tahoe Data straight into the front rank see the meaning of data processing in the European Community.

Without committtng either of us in any way. see the meaning I think it might be useful and interesting for us to meet, in either Madrid or Zaragoza, in the near future. If you would like to discuss Tahoe Data's plans, and how they might influence your own, please contact me as soon as is convenient.

Sincerely see the meaning

Bret Holman

PS - we have not had time yet to get our sales literature translated into Spanish, but I enclose one or two leaflets in English that will give you some idea of what we do. - BH

5.16 Reading for key words

Read the letter from Bret Holman again (5.15). Find the words or phrases that show you the following:

1 Bret Holman does not want Carlos's employer or his colleagues to know about the contents of the letter.
2 He wants to make it clear to Carlos that he is not actually offering him a job at this time.
3 He thinks Tahoe Data might be able to offer Carlos an interesting job.

5.17 Document study

This is an extract from one of the leaflets Bret sent to Carlos. The language is very different from the language of a business letter, though there is one sentence in Bret's letter (5.15) that could have come from a leaflet or perhaps from an advertisement. Which one?
How many words can you find in the leaflet here that make a manager's work sound very difficult?

The Hard Facts

Today's manufacturing managers face major challenges. see the meaning The hard facts are that competition is stiffer, budgets are tighter see the meaning, and technology is evolving more rapidly than ever before. How do you plan the best course for your company, the one that will ensure see the meaning its continued success?

One solution is to implement a Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) strategy.

CIM covers the full range of computer uso throughout a manufacturing company. It means that all the computers at every level of an organisation can communicate with one another, exchanging information as often as required.

It's often tough to commit capital when capital is tight. Few companies can afford to build a CIM factory from the ground up. see the meaning Our approach to CIM lets you begin small and add to your system as your organisation's needs change and grow. You can see improvements in your operations in the short term while at the same time planning for the long-term success of your company.

The Good News

Ones your organisation makes a commitment to CIM, come and talk to us. Ws offer customers a range of choices - hardware and software solutions that cover all manufacturing needs. Easy to learn and to use, these products improve the productivity and output of your staff almost as soon as they are installed.

In addition, you can easily integrate our equipment see the meaning into your existing computer systems, prolonging the life of every piece of equipment you purchase ...

5.18 Reading for key words

Find the words or phrases in the leaflet (5.17) that show you the following:

1 three 'major challenges' in engineering.
2 it may be difficult to afford expensive computer systems.
3 two reasons why money spent on Tahoe Data products will enable you to get more value out of your computers.

5.19 Speaking practice: flight numbers and times

While he was in Osaka, Carlos decided to take a few days' holiday. He telephoned a travel agent to ask about changing the date of his flight from Osaka to Madrid. Read the dialogue, but don't listen to it yet! Part of the airline schedule is shown below. You must decide what flight numbers and times the agent gives Carlos. Listen to their conversation, and then listen again and speak the part of the travel agent.

CARLOS I have to be in Madrid early in the morning on 31 July, that's a Friday.
AGENT Well, there's no direct flight. see the meaning The best route is via Tokyo, see the meaning or via Tokyo and London, which is a little quicker.
CARLOS What time do I have to leave Tokyo to get to Madrid before 0800 hours?
AGENT There's a Japan Airlines flight, JL890, see the meaning departing Tokyo Narita on Thursday at 2100 hours, arriving Madrid on Friday at 0635.
CARLOS Suppose I take that, what time do I leave Osaka?
AGENT There's a Japan Airlines flight, JL052, departing Osaka on Thursday at (a) hours, arriving Tokyo Narita at (b) .
CARLOS Oh! That's rather a long stop-over in Tokyo see the meaning - four and a half hours!
AGENT Well, you could go via London. There's a Japan Airlines flight, JL (c) , departing Tokyo Narita on Thursday at 1230 hours, arriving London Heathrow at 1610.
CARLOS How long do I have in London?
AGENT There's a British Airways flight, BA462, departing London Heathrow at (d) hours, arriving Madrid at 2205.
CARLOS Hm. That means I have to leave Osaka early Thursday morning and change planes twice and I get to Madrid late on Thursday night.
AGENT Well, you could go via Frankfurt. There's a Lufthansa flight, LH743, departing Osaka on Thursday at 1900 hours, arriving Frankfurt on Friday at 0605.
CARLOS But that's even later than if I go Tokyo-Madrid! What time would I get to Madrid?
AGENT There's a Lufthansa flight, (e) , departing Frankfurt on Friday at (f) hours, arriving Madrid at (g) .
CARLOS My boss will kill me! On the other hand, it would give me a whole extra day in Osaka. Yes! That'll do fine, I'll take that one, if you can get my reservation transferred.

5.20 Writing practice

Write a memo for Carlos to send to Joe Andrews, telling him about the change in his return flight. Don't apologise to Andrews for returning late; just inform him politely.