The Benefits of Being a Multilingual Business
It’s an old cliché to state that the world is getting smaller, but when it comes to business the statement really rings true. With global communication quickly and easily facilitated online, businesses can operate worldwide without the often-associated logistical issues. To guarantee success when marketing internationally, you must overcome the language barrier while also understanding cultural differences.
Communication experts TollFreeForwarding recently put together research, speaking to several business experts and exploring the factors that make becoming multilingual a vital step for any business. Here are some of the reasons your business should consider prioritizing becoming multilingual.
People are on the Move
Nowadays, the typical office is made up of people from all over the world. Globalization means that more people are choosing to broaden their horizons and travel to different parts of the world to live and work.
This doesn’t just apply to your employees; it also applies to your customers. Every business needs to be set up to service customers from all over the world and expecting them to speak your language is a bad move.
Lindsay Williams, Founder of Lindsay Does Languages, says: “A reliance on others speaking English can come across as not making an effort and gives others the upper hand. Even just a basic level of other languages can help to make a firmer connection with potential customers.”
Understand Your Market
Whether your business is moving into a new country, or you’re looking to attract customers from different cultures, basic understanding of the cultural differences alongside watertight translation is key.
Huge companies have previously made the mistake of not researching before trying to break into international markets. Take KFC in the 1980s, they failed to realize that their slogan ‘finger-lickin’ good’ translated as ‘eat your fingers off’ in China. Having a Chinese-speaking employee could have avoided this cultural mix-up.
Nedelina Payaneva, Digital Marketing Specialist at Asian Absolute, advises: “Those who have grown up speaking two or more languages understand how complicated communication between two cultures can be, including knowing which areas require sensitivity and which call for being stern.”
Surviving in Foreign Lands
If your business is looking to expand into new territories, being multilingual should be top of the priority list for success. In order to be successful, you must be proficient in the language of the country you’re moving into.
Hiring native speakers of the local language means you can be confident every time you have a client meeting or a sales pitch. Communication issues can cause major problems and hold your business back from achieving its full potential when expanding into new markets.
Managing Director at nouri, Kalina Halatcheva, says on the matter: “Face-to-face contact will never diminish in importance. You may write a business email or message in English, but the meaningful way you can connect to another person in the local language can never be substituted.”
Enhanced Employee Skills
Having multilingual staff in your workforce brings immediate benefits, but they don’t end at simple translation and cultural knowledge. Your business can also gain great transferrable skills and adaptability.
Not only will your employees likely have expanded vocabulary and better problem-solving skills, they’ll also be readily available for international client needs. You can leave behind the days of paying for a translator and utilize your highly-skilled in-house team.
Nedelina Payaneya said: “Bilingual employees often bring new perspectives and strong problem-solving skills. They tend to possess excellent communication skills and a great understanding of other cultures. In an increasingly globalized world, they truly are an essential component of business growth and expansion.”
If your business wants to thrive in international markets, becoming truly multilingual is the place to start. The in-depth knowledge provided by multilingual staff means that you won’t miss a beat when it comes to local customs, accurate translation and finding the right brand image for each market.