The cost of language for your company: Overcoming the barriers


Did you know, over 7100 languages are spoken in the world today? Effective communication in the workplace is key to a company’s success.

In a competitive world, where companies are trying their best to enhance business performance and productivity, it has become essential to encourage creative thinking and promote staff well-being. At the same time, with the rising demand of serving customers worldwide, it seems challenging to bridge gaps in communication.

Communication issues in a workplace can stand in the way of the company’s morale and success; similarly, gaps in communication with a customer can easily end a relationship. A failed conversation with a supplier can have serious financial or strategic implications.

That is why I have put together some of the best strategies for overcoming language barriers and collaborating, for connecting and eventually opening various avenues of innovation and growth.

Get started with these tips:

Use Simple Language to avoid confusion

Imagine your friend narrating a story to you in a language that is foreign to you. Imagine the complications, misunderstandings, and the lack of context in the story. It sounds difficult, right?

Now imagine the same scenario at your workplace. Sounds unmanageable, right?

Whether you are trying to communicate a technical problem to your non-technical employees or working with someone who speaks your primary language as their second, you should try to use plain language whenever possible. While some people think using fancy words makes them good at their jobs, it might create confusion in the workplace and force a full stop to the possibility of creating a diverse, healthy workplace when using simple language is the key.

Get your employees enrolled in a Language Class

Do you know what’s the best way to teach non-native speakers some basic language requirements for the business? Yes, a language class survival course.

Provide free language classes for your employees so that they can learn words, phrases, warnings, and relevant or specific business jargon that can help them perform well in their job. These classes also act as a great advantage for all the employees dealing with overseas clients and customers. The better they understand the target market, the more likely they will succeed in serving their customers.

Find a reliable translation service

Translating important documents into employees’ native language can make tasks easier for them and can increase their productivity.

If you are working across international offices, find a translation service that can translate important documents into the top five languages used. Be careful when finding a translation service and don’t forget to vet their qualifications.

 Enlist Interpreters

Whether you have to attend an international conference or need to communicate a message to the non-native speakers, you must hire trusted interpreters from qualified services such as Allied Interpreting to ensure that there isn’t any instruction or information missed due to a language barrier.

Use visual methods of communication

Sometimes when words fail us, showing can be a lot more effective than telling. Use visual methods like pictures and diagrams to explain complicated concepts. Visual queries are vital for getting everyone on the same page, not to mention, thinking innovatively about finding solutions to those queries.

Be Respectful

Language barriers, like all other communication barriers, can be exhausting and frustrating. They require understanding and patience. When you are struggling to communicate with your team, make sure you keep your calm and never raise your voice.

Talk softly instead of loudly, clearly instead of forcefully. And understand that when someone is trying to work through a language barrier, it has nothing to do with their capabilities.

Final Thought

Language barriers can be a challenge, but must not stand in the way of embracing everything a diverse workplace has to offer.  Don’t forget that cultural diversity is what drives innovation, creativity, productivity and business performance.

A company is only as good as its people, and its people are only good as the communication between them.