Multilingualism can be an incredible asset for companies that conduct business internationally, helping to bridge the cultural gap when conducting business in foreign countries. As emerging market economies grow and open new markets for businesses, an understanding of the local language can give companies a leg up over their competitors, possibly giving them the advantage needed to be successful in the market. In an article in Entrepreneur, author Ofer Shoshan lists six languages that he believes would be most helpful for English-speaking CEOs to learn in today’s globalized world, as he emphasizes the importance that multilingualism can play in business situations.
globalEDGE Blog - By Tag: language
According to research, multilingualism can improve communication, intercultural sensitivity, cognitive abilities, and more. For these reasons, linguistics Professor Antonella Sorace of the University of Edinburgh suggests that businesses should hire more multilingual employees. For large multinational companies, multilingual employees are valuable assets and are increasingly being sought after.
Sorace is adamant about the many advantages that are derived from knowing more than one language and as a result is concerned about the widespread failure of education systems to promote foreign language learning. She believes that countries that are neglecting foreign language education are missing out on a more cognitively efficient and better communicating workforce.
Doing business in India can be difficult for the new executive sent on assignment to India. As the world’s second largest country based on population, India is expected to become one of the biggest economies by 2050, projected by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. What is strange is that India does not have a truly national language, unlike the other large economies such as China and the United States.
In the modern era of global markets and international working opportunities, record numbers of employees of both small businesses and large corporations have embraced the expatriate lifestyle to work abroad. Despite the noticeable increase of expatriates in the past decade, there was surprisingly very little information regarding the differences between working domestically and abroad, which lead ORC Worldwide to conduct a 2007 survey which explored the differences that an expatriate experiences while trying to balance their career and other life obligations. The results of the survey provide an excellent insight into what changes someone looking to work and live abroad should expect, as well as the potential challenges that they should be ready to overcome.
It isn’t really a secret that knowing the culture and language of a country will help one to have a smoother stay there, whether it’s for business or pleasure. However, while learning a new culture and language can be a short, fun experience for tourists, the necessity of mastering a foreign language and becoming culture-savvy for business purposes is much more important. In honor of International Education Week, it is valuable to highlight the importance of linguistic and cultural education in this ever-globalizing world.