After all this country prides itself on speaking English and has been a significant part of the reason that the world’s business is often carried out in English. So how much would a company in the good old US would lose by having monolingual employees?
If there is one place you would think you could get away with having monolingual employees, it would be the United States
The statistics tell us that it could hurt pretty bad. There are approximately 23 million people (i.e. potential customers) in the United States who do not speak English as their primary language. Studies show that people prefer to shop in their primary language, though they are willing not to if necessary. Presenting an “English-only” front to such a customer could cost you their business.
If someone who speaks Spanish very well has an option between two companies and one speaks Spanish and one doesn’t, which will the customer choose? All other things being equal, they will probably go to the company where they can speak most comfortably with a representative that is not mono-lingual.
Multilingual agents and employees are preferred
In the absence of staff who can communicate in different languages, a company can at least make the effort to ensure they have printed materials and media available in foreign languages for potential customers. Also having a welcome look for speakers of foreign languages at company locations and facilities will make people feel like they are accepted and understood.
One of the easiest ways to become a bilingual or multilingual company is to have your website translated. It is best to hire a professional translation company to do this for you, with a native speaker of the target language translating. You can have an introduction to your company including information about services and charges on the web. You can also post a “FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)” page in multiple languages. These pages can be translated and posted to inform customers who are mono-lingual about you in their own language.
Language matters in business
Language matters for appreciating cultures, connecting and developing relationships around the world. (Even knowing a few polite phrases in many languages can change the tenor in a room.)
In the era of globalization when various businesses are moving into global markets, the skill to speak more than one language has become an important asset in the workplace. Many of today’s multicultural, multinational corporations have speakers of dozens of global languages on staff. When documents, such as contracts, product manuals, or websites need to be translated into foreign languages, we suggest you hire a multilingual translator.
Because monolingual employees are conversing only with the English-fluent, or via machines, lose the essential human touch and can’t learn or work as effectively as those communicating easily with native speakers and translating documents.
Here are three reasons multilingual employees can gain the upper hand in their professional lives.
- Improved employability
- Employment with fewer language limitations
- Better business relationships
Having only monolingual employees in an international company is not the best thing. Start employing multilingual people now!