Tips for Overcoming Language Barriers in International Business Interactions

Tips for Overcoming Language Barriers in International Business Interactions

The developing economic landscape has allowed businesses to reach far beyond local territories and expand into overseas markets. However, with differences in national languages, these barriers often interfere with business decision-making and management. A study on language barriers notes how multinational teams often suffer from language barriers as it reduces team communications, with the lack of fluency also disrupting sophisticated knowledge processing activities. Given the need to retain diversified knowledge and skill, companies must find ways to overcome these challenges. Listed below are some tips for resolving language barriers in international business:

Take language classes

A straightforward way to overcome these language barriers is to take language classes. As shared in a report on language learning, companies who invest in language training at work save an average of three hours every week for each employee trained. Furthermore, 70% of employees are more confident in their abilities after completing a language course, making them more effective workers. Being able to speak another language is a highly valued skill that can be used to improve both co-worker and customer relationships. With the advent of technology, there are plenty of ways a person can learn a language, be it through applications or online classes.

Use visual communication

One sustainable approach to making communication straightforward and compelling is to ensure visuals are part of your presentation. Much like how airline employees demonstrate safety procedures, it’s often simpler to demonstrate something visually than to describe it verbally. For international companies training their employees, having instruction manuals that contain diagrams, visual cues, and pictures can go a long way. It’s also essential that the company resources are easily accessible to everyone, and crucial documents should be locally translated. Through proper instruction and assignment, businesses can guide workers and customers toward more consistent outcomes.

Develop cultural knowledge

As more work gets taken internationally, it’s only strategic that workers upskill not only in spoken language but also in their knowledge of cultures. Online programs in international studies develop these essential skills, as the courses can help prepare employees for trend and issue analysis at a global level. In fact, work in this sector is expected to see a higher-than-average growth between 2019 and 2029 as more organizations cross markets through art, music, economics, culture, writing, and politics. Through knowledge of other people’s cultures, workers can better show respect, build rapport, and ensure smoother collaboration between themselves. In addition to detailed courses, shorter lessons or seminars are great options for learning necessary pleasantries and cultural features that can improve workplace interaction.

Have an interpreter

One of the smoothest ways to facilitate communication is to hire an interpreter. Our post on community interpreters notes how there are specialist and community translators; both roles help in technical and context-heavy environments. Although this is a great solution for special business meetings and global conferences, this can prove expensive for regular work settings. Recently, real-time AI translation services have become a viable option to help remove language barriers. These tools are good for small business meetings, listening to the words spoken, identifying the language, and translating it into spoken word or written text with 60-90% accuracy. While these automated translations are not necessarily accurate to context, they can give employees a big stepping stone to understanding each other.

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By:  Reilly Juliana

Ablio is a leading provider of language interpretation tools and services, executed by a pool of professional interpreters, making these services easily available to everyone, in any context.

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