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multilingualism

Many of us in the English speaking world could be forgiven for underestimating how invaluable it can be to communicate across languages and the positive effect this can have on the success of any business, both locally and globally. As linguists, every day we can see the unrivalled benefits enjoyed by individuals and businesses alike who embrace multilingualism.  From personal growth and health benefits to an increase in sales for corporations of all sizes, the facts speak for themselves; multilingualism is the path to success. 

For individuals, there is an abundance of evidence in support of fluency in more than one language. Multilingual professionals in the workplace show improved analytical and critical thinking skills, as well as being afforded greater protection against cognitive decline. Even such debilitating neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s may be better protected against. Of course, in a collaborative team, colleagues who can express themselves effectively in more than one language are better able to communicate and work together efficiently.

Multilingualism & A Cohesive Work Environment

Multilingualism offers one notable advantage in our ever more interconnected society; greater cultural awareness and sensitivity to those around us. This can go a long way to fostering a more respectful and cohesive working environment for both in house teams and between employees and customers from differing backgrounds, even when speaking the same language.  

Cultural Sensitivity/Awareness

Multilinguals are a vital addition to any professional team, tending to be more open-minded people than their monolingual counterparts, which is understandable considering that proficiency in another language can impart a significant amount of cultural insight into the region and its history and societal norms. 

Some easy examples of this are found in the way we greet one another in different languages. In English, we say ‘Hello’, which is an alliteration of previously used words such as ‘hallo’ and ‘holla’ used to get someone’s attention but popularised as the most common greeting during the mid-1800s when telephone usage increased. However, in other languages, even customary greetings can carry cultural relevance. In Irish ‘Hello’ would be ‘Dia duit’ which translated would be ‘God be with you’. In fact, much of the Irish language is steeped in the strong religious history of the country itself, an awareness of which fluency would allow, even in the absence of any other instruction.

Multilingualism And Its Competitive Advantage

Even in the process of learning a new language, individuals often gain greater insights into the perspectives of those communities and sometimes even the strategies employed by successful businesses in that region. This makes multilingual professionals a highly coveted commodity, and understandably so.

Improved Customer Relations

The benefits of multilingualism for your business are even easier to quantify. Not only are the majority of potential customers out there, not native English speakers, not everyone speaks English as a second language either. In fact, by adding new languages to your offering you can increase sales, improve your lead conversion rates and significantly increase your brand recognition across multiple languages and communities. The availability of a product or service in one’s mother tongue is a compelling factor in driving more sales. By building a better rapport with your customer base, you will benefit from the formation of stronger relationships, fostering trust in your brand and ultimately allowing you to expand far beyond your original language market. 

New Sales Opportunities

Even the relatively simple step of translating and localizing your web content into a new language can go a long way to helping your business to connect with new markets in a way that resonates with potential customers on their wavelength, in their native tongue and with their culture and preferences observed and respected. Of course, it seems obvious once we say it, but statistically, people do prefer to be sold to in their mother tongue. You may even find that by translating your web content you tap into new language markets within your own community.

Greater Productivity

Breaking down language barriers is a struggle even in a non competitive setting, but when you add the demands of today’s fast-paced business world, any communication difficulties can slow productivity and greatly hinder the work of an otherwise competent team, whereas, effective and seamless communication across languages improves efficiency, boosting your team’s productivity and ultimately helps your business to reach your ultimate growth potential.

Be First in the Door

Taking your business into the multilingual market also allows you the opportunity to target marketing campaigns at specific regions of promising economic growth. By speaking their language and honoring their culture in both your advertising campaigns and customer communications you can establish your brand early on as a valuable and trustworthy addition to these new emerging markets.

So, as you can see there are many benefits to multilingualism. If you’d like to know more about what we can do for your company, get in touch. We’ll be happy to help.

 

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