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Why language matters in International business

When it comes to setting up and running a business there are many things that need to be considered, first and foremost there are the ideas, products, finances and intellectual property. There are also needs for premises from which to operate and a staffing structure to ensure that things run smoothly.

When the above are in place, business owners must make sure that there is a clear marketing and advertising strategy and that the logistics of day to day operations can be mapped out and executed.

One area that many businesses struggle with however is the area of translation and interpretation. This is essential if they are to take their business to foreign markets and expand internationally. Many companies decide to do this externally and outsource this work to language translation agency.

But why is this often forgotten part of business structure so important and why can neglecting it lead to problems further down the line?

The answer is simple. Many markets are saturated with products and services of a similar ilk, if you or your company have an idea that will translate globally then there has to be the scope for growth and the tools to implement an international strategy.

In a recent study by Forbes magazine looking at the most influential cities in the world in terms of influence and business, there are seven separate languages covering the top 10. This gives you an insight in just how difficult it can be to operate.

The world’s most influential cities and their languages are:

1. London (English)

2. New York (English)

3. Paris (French)

4. Singapore (Tamil)

5. Tokyo (Japanese)

6. Hong Kong (Cantonese)

7. Dubai (Arabic)

8. Beijing (Mandarin Chinese)

9. Sydney (English)

10. San Francisco Bay Area (English)

Anybody trying to operate within these international markets would need to be able to translate their materials, and be able to understand, political, legal and economic documents from the languages provide. It may also be important to hold face to face meetings or conference calls so to conduct business swiftly interpretation is key.

Using a basic translation tool is not necessarily a bad thing but it does not have the impact of partnering with a language solution agency. Indeed the saying ‘lost in translation’ may have an impact in terms of business success or failure if you cannot communicate in the mother tongue of your prospective partners. A trained linguist will be able to cut through the tones and dialect to make sure that your relationship blossoms and that progression is swift.

Short term business strategies should look to target the languages which are spoken in these cities although it is worth noting that countries and their leading cities such as Mexico, Brazil, Germany, South Africa and India are growing quickly so a long term international business strategy should be put in place to pre-empt any possible movement in terms of their influence rank.

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