“It’s a Small World After All” is the title of a song written in 1963 – a long time ago. And yet, this could be a theme song of today’s business world. It has gone global. And companies that continue to develop an international presence often find that they must provide for doing business in foreign languages.
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Still, there is also the need for company employees that have fluency in the languages of the regions and countries into which they are expanding. These individuals can act as “point” persons with local organizational setup, providing liaison services with local individuals, government entities, and such. In short, having an employee who can speak the native language is a major benefit.
So, just what languages are the most beneficial, given the nature of the business world today? Here are 10 that you should consider.
Ten Languages that Can Boost Your Career
Here is a quick rundown of languages that will make you far more attractive to enterprises.
In the United States, Spanish is the 2nd most spoken language. Individuals who have fluency in the language can move into business positions ranging from customer service agent or manager to HR positions that relate to interviewing, onboarding, and training Spanish-speaking employees.
Outside the United States, many Latin-American countries have a growing middle class, and these people are becoming significant consumers, especially related to online e-commerce companies. Fluency in Spanish enables an employee to work with other native speakers in the important localization of websites.
There is no doubt that China has become a major player in global business. Chinese companies are making inroads into countries all over the planet. And businesses are heavily involved in trade arrangements with Chinese companies, for both buying and selling raw materials and finished products. If a company has an employee with fluency in Mandarin, that individual can act as a liaison with representatives of those Chinese companies.
Not only is there a large and growing cadre of Russian businesses that want to expand into international markets, but there are also many Eastern European nations that were formerly a part of Russia and are now independent. Many residents of these countries also speak Russian and are moving into international markets, especially in technology. Companies that have a fluent Russian speaker have someone who can communicate with and manage remote teams of Russian-speaking tech providers.
Again, there is a growing middle class in India – consumers with smartphones for both communication and making online purchases of products not available in their own locale. Localization for mobile devices is paramount, and having an employee fluent in the language who can work with native developers could be invaluable.
For years, French was the international language of business. Even though this is no longer the case, there are French-speaking regions in countries all over the world. Speaking fluent French can make you more attractive than your competition if a company is already in or moving into any of these regions.
6. American Sign Language
While this has nothing to do with international expansion, it does have a great deal to do with the efforts of companies to hire and then to accommodate employees with disabilities. Organizations today want to be socially responsible and understand the contributions that disabled individuals can provide. Being an interpreter in such an environment is not just personally rewarding, it makes you a more valued employee.
Never heard of this language? That’s not surprising. It is the national language of Rwanda, the country with the fastest-growing economy in Africa. It welcomes foreign investment and businesses. Learning this language will make you “one in a million” as far as employment competitiveness.
If you are thinking about a career as an interpreter or as a liaison for companies doing business in the Middle East, this will be the language for you. The influence of the 25 countries in which this language is spoken will only increase.
Germany has always had one of the strongest economies in the world and certainly has the strongest one in Europe. Its global reach is far and wide. Further, German is the most spoken language among Euro countries, making the language highly valuable for non-Europeans who can speak the language for businesses in their home countries.
10. Several Languages of Asia
The tenth language is actually several, as Asian countries continue to rise to international business connections. Those who can speak Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, or any of the three top languages in Malaysia, will find themselves in a solid position among several industry sectors.
In the End…
Learn another language and become fluent. You will set yourself up for a far more competitive advantage both when applying for positions or being considered for promotions. Further, positions that specifically call for bilingual expertise are a growing need.