Have you ever called your credit card or insurance company and spoken to an international English speaker from another part of the world? In this case, the company has likely outsourced its call center services to save money. Based on the number of comedians that use this topic in their acts, sometimes call center staff’s English skills aren’t exactly what American callers are expecting. At times, both the caller and the staff member experience frustration in trying to understand one another – even though they are both speaking the same language.
Imagine how customers and employees in the global marketplace must feel when companies only offer English communication options. These customers and employees are often left with either no communication option or forced to try to communicate in English, a language with which they are less familiar and less comfortable. Whether it is marketing communication, customer support, or internal employee meetings, a separation occurs when individuals lack access to multilingual communication.
English Ranks Third for Native Languages
English is the most spoken language in the world. However, this has more to do with the fact that so many of those outside of English-speaking countries learn English. Chinese Mandarin and Spanish actually represent more native speakers.1 What this really means is that while many people around the globe have some knowledge of spoken English, most world citizens do not use English as a primary language.
For U.S. born English speakers, consider if you took a trip to Mexico and communicated based solely on your high school Spanish classes. You may understand some terms and meet your basic communication needs (Hola! ¿Donde esta el baño?). Ultimately, however, access to deeper understanding is absent.
English reigns as the standard global corporate language, but globalization demands multilingual communication to reach customers and retain employees around the world. Otherwise, companies miss out on the ever-expanding world market.
Multilingual Communication is Core for Business
Building trust impacts the bottom line for global companies, and multilingual communication is a core pillar for effective growth. For both clients and staff, the ability to receive information and communicate outwardly in a native language builds trust and loyalty for the brand and the company.
For international brands utilizing a global workforce, multilingual communication positions your company to hire, train, and retain the best talent in your field throughout the world. However, refusal or resistance to use languages other than English may cost you knowledgeable employees vital to your success in the local marketplaces.
Multilingual communication also avoids miscommunication, offense, and other adverse reactions from both clients and employees. Invest in quality translation and interpretation services to prevent negative brand and company images.
Multilingual Communication Offers Competitive Advantage
Customers prefer communication in their native language. While it may be impossible to communicate in the over 7000 living languages around the globe, companies with a global strategy should consider the competitive advantage of investing in localization to meet the needs of the native audience.
Localization means that the translated content not only changes the words from one language to the other but takes a cultural view of the local audience in the translation or interpretation process. This builds trust and brand loyalty, which ultimately leads to business growth. Overall, an effective multilingual communication strategy empowers businesses on the world stage.
The investment in translated content and interpretation creates a link between cultures. Develop cross-cultural communication skills as a business strategy. An English-only approach can appear arrogant and domineering where multilingual communication builds a collaborative and respectful company image.
At the end of the day, the global marketplace demands cultural competency to thrive. The choice is yours whether to embrace the local culture as part of the strategy to focus on global revenue growth with a positive brand image.
Cultural competency is an investment in seeing your brand from the native speaker’s perspective. Consider the cultural elements at play with advertisements, internal messages, customer support, and employee feedback. These elements work in concert to create your global brand perception.
Invest in Multilingual Communication
A multilingual approach to communication builds a strong foundation for your global success. At Vocalink Global, we work with companies around the globe to create quality and effective multilingual communication strategies. We know each company is unique; therefore, we craft unique language solutions for each client.
Our customized approach to translation and interpretation helps build cultural competency through localized content. In addition, our experience means we know the services you need to create the best content for your market. Contact us today to discuss your specific language needs.
- World Atlas, “What is the Most Spoken Language in the World.” 2019.