You’re sure to face various challenges when you decide to expand your business overseas. If you’re planning on operating in countries where English isn’t the first language, one challenge will be to overcome the language barriers. To help you find effective solutions, check out the following tips.
Firstly, you need to identify which languages are spoken in the countries you’re planning on operating in. That’s not necessarily as easy as finding out that Switzerland’s dominant language is French. This is because Switzerland actually has four official languages.
Singapore also has four official languages. Even Canada has two. If you’re planning on expanding to South Africa, you need to know there are eleven official languages in the country.
So, make sure you perform thorough research to find out what the official languages are. Then, discover the most widely used languages for the territories in which you plan to operate. You’ll then be in a much better position to tackle the language barriers. You might also like to take a look at the 5 most popular business languages if you are struggling to find a place to start. You can also generate effective marketing campaigns using this knowledge.
Additionally, this shows your new markets that you have respect for their countries. For example, if you’re launching a campaign in Quebec, Canada, you can use both English and French in your promotional materials. Incidentally, if you’re considering expanding your business to Canada, research the Great Resignation that’s fueling growth in cities across Canada.
Whether you’re moving existing employees to new international locations or not, you’re sure to be hiring some local employees in your new locations. In this case, make sure you hire locals who are proficient in English. Operations will then run much more smoothly.
If your managers aren’t fluent in the local language, you should hire interpreters. This can ensure there’s no miscommunication when dealing with clients, contractors, suppliers, and so on. If you’re hiring locals who don’t have full command of the English language, it’s also helpful to have interpreters. They can give your local employees instructions or feedback in their local language. Interpreters can also improve communication between workers and management.
Make sure you identify where and how you will use interpreters in your overseas locations. This will determine how many interpreters you need. Also, you must, of course, ensure that the interpreters you hire are fully fluent in all the languages you need them to speak.
You need to consider written content, too. You’re sure to use written content for all manner of purposes. From sending internal memos to writing marketing content. So, it’s imperative that you write such things in your native languages without making any mistakes. There are various online translation tools and translation software that can help you to translate content accurately.
To make certain your written content is error-free, you should have multilingual employees proofread the content. Alternatively, you could hire multilingual employees to write all content in foreign languages.
When moving existing employees to new overseas locations, they don’t necessarily have to become fluent in a new language. But things will run a lot more smoothly if they at least learn the basics of the relevant language.
For instance, if your employees are going to work in France, they could take French lessons online via Lingoda. This allows them to learn basics like greetings, phrases that are useful at work, and warnings. Once they know the basics, you’ll find many of your employees will want to keep on learning. This of course is sure to be beneficial to your overseas operation.
Finally, when speaking to local employees in English, avoid slang words, idioms, and jargon. The last thing you want to do is confuse your overseas workforce by adding language barriers like this!