When should you consider training in foreign languages?

October 20, 2021

Now that the UK has officially left the European Union, talks of extending international trading relationships beyond Europe as well as a continuing interconnectedness with our European neighbours remain.  Both within and beyond Europe, companies need to reach out beyond English to maintain their economic position and to build trust and deepen relationships with international partners and suppliers.

According to the ‘Languages for the Future’ report published by the British Council, the top 10 languages of most importance to the UK, as a whole, are seen as: Spanish, Mandarin, French, Arabic, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese and Russian.  These languages were selected taking into account both economic and non-market factors.

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However, with just over one in three Britons reporting that they are able to hold a conversation in another language, the language capability in UK companies remains a concern.  An in-depth study drawing on the views of more than 600 employers found that UK nationals without language skills lose out not simply because they are limited in their ability to communicate, but as a knock-on effect of having restricted access to overseas work experience, a lack of international business sense, a failure to appreciate that other cultures have different ways of doing things and a misunderstanding of the global importance of British culture.

We have now reached a critical point where investment in language skills will give companies a distinct competitive advantage and the ability for their people to understand and connect with colleagues across the world.  Now is the time to initiate bold policies to improve the linguistic talent within your firm.  Such a policy must focus on improvement over the medium to long-term, therefore we recommend language skills form an integral part of your strategic review.

By doing so, you will encourage the intercultural communicative competence that enables people, even if they are not professional linguists, to navigate their way through multicultural environments, to be flexible, adaptable, globally mobile, and sensitive to cultural differences.

How can Babel support you?
Our interactive language lessons are currently delivered 'live' online and are tailored to your own specific goals, with enthusiastic support and motivation from a native-speaking personal tutor.  Find out more.


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