Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: Importance of Foreign Language Fluency in Business

  1. #1

    Default Importance of Foreign Language Fluency in Business

    Hello to all users here! My name is Steven and I'm writing an article on the importance of being fluent in a foreign language in the business world. I have found some articles on the web on the subject, but I wanted to gain more input from all types of business people (including small business persons). So, I wanted to ask you all here on small-business-forum; Why is learning/being fluent in a foreign language important and vital to your business? Are there any reasons any of you all can think of that shows learning/being fluent in a foreign language is not necessary for a business? Obviously there are different types of businesses out there with different needs, so I would like to get as much input as possible from you all. Thank you for taking time for reading this post and I hope to hear from you all soon.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Array
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Jackson MO
    Posts
    1,515

    Default

    I'll help. I was an engineer for over 20 years. I spent time in both research and manufacturing. In manufacturing, I dealt with suppliers both nationally and inter-nationally. The number of times that I had to have a foreign language amount to ZERO. Most of the worlds business is conducted in English. I have also traveled to both Mexico and Europe, in both cases outside of the tourist areas, again I never needed anything other than English. Last, unlike Europe, throughout much of the US you have to drive hours to find a significant population that doesn't speak English. So the idea that one much be fluent in a foreign language is a bunch of liberal BS. It is a waste to force high school and college students to learn a second language, when their chance of using it continuously so they remember it and can use it is very limited.

    This in no way means that if you are planning to move to where a different language is spoken that you shouldn't learn that language.
    HouseView™ - The leading real estate site for South East Missouri. Follow us on Twitter @HVOL.
    Jackson MO Real Estate, Cape Girardeau Missouri Real Estate, Festus Missouri Real Estate

  3. #3
    Web Consultant
    Array
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    9,856
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by srhbusiness View Post
    Hello to all users here! My name is Steven and I'm writing an article on the importance of being fluent in a foreign language in the business world. I have found some articles on the web on the subject, but I wanted to gain more input from all types of business people (including small business persons).

    So, I wanted to ask you all here on small-business-forum; Why is learning/being fluent in a foreign language important and vital to your business?
    It's not. Plenty of English speakers in the world for me to make a living. People do what I do in every language so it's not like the market isn't being served.


    Quote Originally Posted by srhbusiness View Post
    Are there any reasons any of you all can think of that shows learning/being fluent in a foreign language is not necessary for a business?
    See above.

    Quote Originally Posted by srhbusiness View Post
    Obviously there are different types of businesses out there with different needs, so I would like to get as much input as possible from you all. Thank you for taking time for reading this post and I hope to hear from you all soon.
    This would probably be different in Europe where the countries and languages are so close together. But in the U.S. it's not unless you are targeting a specific market. Plenty of businesses "se habla Espanol", and "Press '1' for English". No to mention a variety of other languages to serve whatever market they're in or want to target.

    Just don't see it as important for me and what I do, and who I do it for.

    I am however working on an Android App, and I'm sure I will slowly have that translated to many languages.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Array
    BizAdvisor's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default

    Just as the USD reins supreme, as far as the top global payment currency, English is also the most dominant global language used in business. Because of this, by default, Americans have an advantage in business with or without fluency in secondary languages. The importance of fluency in other countries is obviously much different.
    Small Business Consultant,
    Olive Branch Business Solutions
    Business Development | Marketing Strategy | Web Development

  5. #5
    Web Consultant
    Array
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    9,856
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BizAdvisor View Post
    Just as the USD reins supreme, as far as the top global payment currency, English is also the most dominant global language used in business. Because of this, by default, Americans have an advantage in business with or without fluency in secondary languages. The importance of fluency in other countries is obviously much different.
    Unfortunately that's the way I see it too. English is the language of business around the world. If you want to do business with me the burden to speak English is on you. Not on me to learn your language. ESPECIALLY inside America.

    Again, I don't target a non English speaking market because I only speak English. I've had clients from all over the world..some with limited English skills but we made it through. I'm sure things would have been smoother if I knew French, or Icelandic..but there's just no way for me to know every language of everyone who may call. And since ALL of my marketing and targeting is to English speakers, that's who I'm expecting. No one who doesn't speak and read English would even be able to find me.

    Now if I were to go to France looking to do business it would be a little arrogant to think I could do that without knowing how to speak any French. But here in America, the burden is on others to learn English. Just like in every other country in the world.

  6. #6

    Default

    I'm a rep for a German company. It's not vital I speak German, but if I did I believe it would be endearing to them.

    I don't see learning other languages as vital, but I believe it is a great idea. These days apps make learning more feasible.

  7. #7
    Web Consultant
    Array
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    9,856
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    in a pinch Google translate is awesome now. You can literally have a back and forth conversation with someone pretty effortlessly. I've also seen new earpieces coming out that translate the same way on the fly,. Of course both people would need a set, but still...the world is getting smaller. Getting much easier to communicate with people almost anywhere.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Array
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Beaver Falls, PA
    Posts
    942

    Default

    Google translate is a nice tool but less than perfect. Perhaps in time it will be close to perfect. We deal all over the world but seem to get by in English for the most part. It is helpful that English seems to be the worldwide language of business to some extent. There have been times when having someone on the staff who spoke Spanish would be a benefit. We occasionally get calls from someone who only speaks Spanish and they hope we have a Spanish speaker on our staff. We did at one time but don't now. We try to get them to email so we can use a translation program.
    Ray Badger, Turbo Technologies, Inc.
    www.TurboTurf.com www.IceControlSprayers.com

  9. #9

    Default

    I spent 10 or so years managing Latin America as a sales guy. While I agree with what has been said above; employers don't look at it that way. Employers are pretty much idiots. They think you need to be Latino to sell into Latin America. The t most Latin countries have their own culture and may not like other Latin cultures. This may apply to other countries and cultures, I don't know.

    But your problem is not your skill in language and culture, but rather getting employed by a US company to work there.

    On edit, most professionals including doctors have been educated in the US. I would assume the same is true for Europe - Quality schools in the UK, France Etc.
    Last edited by billbenson; 08-07-2016 at 11:59 PM.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Array
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Norfolk, Virginia
    Posts
    49

    Default

    I lived in the Netherlands for nine years ('05 to '14). I worked in English, conducted personal affairs in (mostly) English, and when I travelled throughout Europe I was able to get by quite well using English and a smattering of words I would pick-up in the language of the country I was visiting at the time. As mentioned above the international language of business is English. In northern Europe English is widely taught in schools and most professionals are fluent in it. Southern Europe not so much.

    While there I thought of learning a language, but which one? Dutch is only spoken mostly in Holland, parts of Belgium, and a few islands in the Caribbean. I didn't live in France, Spain, Germany or Italy so I saw no reason to try to learn those languages. English works just fine.

    I did have to visit an emergency room in Ponferrada, Spain, not to long ago. The doctor didn't speak any English and I didn't know enough Spanish to explain the problem. He and I were able to communicate great using only his Apple iphone as a translator.

    My partner is French Algerian so she speaks French and Arabic. We are a French creperie so her ability to speak French adds some charm and some of out customers who want to practice their French enjoy it, but it is by no means necessary, especially in Norfolk, VA.
    Last edited by Pita; 08-08-2016 at 08:44 AM.
    Managing Director at The Palmier Group, LLC, and Indentured Geauxffeur at Lamia's Crepes.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •