Technology has allowed for business leaders and entrepreneurs to conduct business entirely remotely with anyone across the world. As globalization continues to thrive, and as world populations become increasingly cosmopolitan, business owners will have to continually refine their language skills, mastering new languages in order to appeal effectively to an internationally diverse clientele base. Speaking more than one language can give business managers the upper hand and provide many benefits when dealing with customers in other nations.
Demand for Multilingual Employees
The demand for multilingual employees has been steadily increasing. Over the next 35 years, there will be over 9.7 billion people in the world and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, interpreters and translators are projected to see a 29 percent increase in employment from 2014 to 2024. As the opportunity for businesses to expand internationally continues, workers who are well versed in multiple languages and global cultures will be highly coveted. Some of the business careers available to multilingual professionals include international trade specialists, marketing managers, customer service representatives, and human resources specialists.
3 Benefits of Being Multilingual
More business opportunities
For recent graduates and those entering the business world, having a command of more than one language greatly increases their chances of being hired. As globalization evolves, companies that have only previously conducted their business in the U.S. will be looking to expand worldwide in order to profit from untapped foreign markets. Having an extensive repertoire of language skills can open professionals up to many new business opportunities.
Businesses can benefit from having multilingual employees who are able to facilitate communication and establish connections with other international businesses. Building business relationships relies on effective communication and when these relationships occur within global markets, being multilingual is an indispensible tool. Companies who have a representative that speaks multiple languages have a better chance of connecting with foreign investors and international partners. Another advantage is being able to identify valuable information that can be vital for international business deals.
Better customer service
Multilingual communication is also a necessary customer service skill. Professionals who speak a foreign language are able to build trust with a foreign customer and make them feel comfortable about buying a company’s products or services. This is also beneficial for listening to customer feedback, understanding customers’ needs, and keeping them satisfied.
Language skills can aid in marketing products or services to new international markets. A multilingual employee can help a company understand the needs of a foreign market, and they can provide crucial guidance when that company tries to adjust its business model to appeal to a new overseas market. This type of focused marketing on potential foreign customer bases can open businesses up to substantial revenue streams. For example, speaking Spanish can help entrepreneurs reach the growing Hispanic market in the U.S., while a working and conversational knowledge of Arabic and Mandarin provides organizations with a chance to do business with significant Middle Eastern and Chinese markets.
Understanding different cultures
Language and culture are inextricably bound. Understanding one or more foreign languages gives business professionals leverage in grasping the intricacies of different cultures, which is a critical aspect of managing relationships in international business. Knowing the customs and traditions that are unique to different cultures can help prevent a business owner from making a cultural faus pax and potentially ruining promising business relationships.
Cultural mistakes, even if they are unintentionally made, can be detrimental to an organization. Multilingual professionals should be aware of cultural values, attitudes, and verbal and nonverbal cues, all of which play a significant role in many foreign business activities. Employing someone who is aware of the accepted ways of conducting business in foreign cultures will help promote trust and goodwill with international investors and stakeholders.
It is never too late for a business owner to refine their language skills. Having a working knowledge of more than one language can boost a business professional’s worth and give them a competitive edge, helping them to appeal to a more culturally diverse customer base. As business leaders and executives continue to expand their organizations globally, they will profit from the numerous benefits of hiring multilingual employees to manage their international business.
Our online MBA program at New Jersey Institute of Technology is designed to prepare motivated, tech-savvy management professionals with the business expertise and technical knowledge vital for success in today’s rapidly evolving global business landscape.