In a recent study carried out by The British Council, it was discovered that Scottish businesses are suffering due to a lack of foreign language skills among staff.
The study found that many Scottish businesses choose to export only to English-speaking countries, rather than employing foreign language speakers or using translation and interpreting services to communicate with companies in non-English speaking countries.
It is believed that this problem could stem from a decreasing interest in languages in Scottish schools, with students choosing to drop languages at GCSE level.
The Scottish government intends to address this problem by introducing educational reforms which include all children learning two foreign languages in school.
The importance of languages in business
The mentality that “Everyone speaks English” is extremely dated and very untrue. Whilst English is one of the main business languages in the world, there are plenty of companies which prefer to do business in their own language, and appreciate the lengths that their trading partners go to in order to achieve this.
Imagine you are a British company trying to market your services in China, what would be the most effective way to reach out to your potential clients?
The population of China is approximately 1,200,000,000, and of these, only 10,000,000 speak English. This means that if you send your English marketing materials to China, they will only reach 0.83% of the population!
Translating your marketing materials, employing multilingual staff and having a professional interpreter accompany you on business trips will ensure that your message is heard in exactly the way you intend and could seal the deal for important contracts.