The importance of foreign languages for business

26th April 2019

The importance of foreign languages for business

Businesses are expanding at a rapid pace, evolving the business landscape and breaking into international markets. This foreign expansion comes with the need for bilingualism to ensure accurate and flawless client interactions.

Being able to interact with your customers abroad is imperative. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if you cannot effectively communicate with your clients. Speaking to them in their language breaks up the cultural differences, builds trust and shows respect.

Should I invest in bilingual stuff?

Employing foreign workers or learning different languages yourself can open up many opportunities for your business. Not only would it make the communication easier, but it would also help make you appreciate and better understand the cultural nuances of the market you are breaking into. Cultural awareness is incredibly important when dealing with clients and failure to consider cultural differences can have a detrimental effect on your business.

But learning the culture is not the only benefit of knowing the language or employing people who know it. It will help adapt your sales and marketing strategies, localise your content and provide you with insight into foreign markets.

Is English still the language of globalisation?

English has always been seen as the global business language, with 983 million people speaking English worldwide. There are around 371 million native speakers of this language including countries such as the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

25% of online users search in English and 54% of websites have their content written in English. As it stands, English is still the language of globalisation and must be mastered by business owners that want to thrive on the global stage.

Languages rapidly growing in importance

Mandarin is another important language to know right now. There are approximately 879 million native speakers and 193 million people who speak Mandarin as their second language. With China’s growing economy and purchasing power, this language is becoming increasingly important for businesses.

Spanish should not be ignored either. It has 436 million native Spanish speakers and it’s the primary language of Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, parts of the United States, and Spain. Spanish has been listed as one of the languages for the future, in a report by the British Council, making it an essential language for business owners to know or operate in.

Other languages, such as Arabic, German, French, Japanese and Portuguese are also being increasingly used in business circles. In a recent article, the Independent reported that German overtook French as the language most sought-after by employers leading to a shortage in linguists, especially with Brexit uncertainty deterring workers from relocating to the UK from the EU.

Whether you decide to employ foreign workers or learn different languages yourself, the importance of multilingualism in business cannot be overstated. Being able to effectively interact with clients, learn their culture, and market to the different countries you trade in will help you and your business succeed.

However, if your business isn’t quite ready to employ foreign language speakers or is simply struggling to recruit them, Foreign Tongues will help to translate and localise your website content, marketing material and any other forms of communications.

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