When you are in business, being bilingual opens a stream of customers for you. A few decades ago, if you knew English, you could easily get around in business. But times have changed. Since new economic superpowers are taking their places, you have to be familiar with their languages for better communication as well as business. A good thing is that the web technology has made it easier for us to translate what we don’t understand but you can be at a significant disadvantage if you don’t speak at least the key business languages.
The 2017 CBI/Pearson Education & Skill survey revealed some interesting insights into the priorities of firms in the UK. Among the many skills required for economic progress, language proficiency was a priority. French and German were the most in-demand language skills. In fact, French, German and English as called the trio for UK businesses.
Yes, English is still the number one language for business. Economic powerhouses such as the United States, England, and Australia communicate in English. English is spoken in 94 countries and it has 339 million native speakers. It is also the official language of 20 international organizations. It is also the primary foreign language, which is why it is taught in most school. Even if you are an English speaker, don’t let his believe you that you have mastered the dialects of the language. When you are doing business, you have to study the country, its regions and also master the way English is spoken there. For anyone who wishes to thrive on a global level, they must know English.
French is not just the language of love, it is also a very important language for business. It is spoken in 39 countries and it has 75 million speakers. 220 million people speak French as a second language. Lots of international organizations including the WTO and the UN have French has their official language. It is widely spoken in Europe. Canada and African countries are its birthplace and these countries are slowly becoming the business destinations.
There are 95 million native German speakers and 210 million worldwide German speakers. The numbers seem to be small as compared to the other important business languages but since it is the language of economically important countries in Europe such as Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria etc., you must consider learning German. Germany is the 3rd largest contributor to R&D and hence it holds a significant position in scientific research, health sciences, psychology, social sciences, arts, and humanities. If you want to do business with German companies, you must know their language.
If your pool of customers has started growing or you are trying to expand your business globally, knowing these important business languages will give you an edge over your competitors. Those of you who haven’t thought about it, it is high time to understand why languages are useful in business. When you know the language of your client, they will believe that you understand their culture too and that makes doing business with you favorable.