“Here speeching American.”

  • sign in a Moroccan shop.

“STOP! Drive Sideways.”

  • detour sign in Japan.

“Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.”


Are you sure your message is perceived by others, the way it is meant to be? It is fair enough if you have a linguistic interpreter at your service, but what if you don’t? From my own and sometimes not particularly funny social exposure I can tell that presumptions, may have entirely different meanings and consequently the end results, but lets move on.


Nowadays, when businesses are operating on the global scale it is becoming of the essence to invest in language skills. While exploring the antagonistic job market of the freshmen graduates, I have come around adverts which required the knowledge of one, two, three even four languages. That is for a graduate level entry and the positions were not even highly ranked. Following the same direction, the question arises: if you had to pick up another language, from the business’ point of view, what would it be?



Seems like linguistic paths are unlimited, however it is tend to be highly influenced by the geographical positioning. As Joshua Cook illustrates the knowledge of English language is a necessity in European region, nonetheless in well developed countries such Germany and France native speak is still unparalleled. Similar case for Japan, even though English is being actively taught in schools, important business operations are carried out foremost in Japanese.



Language Predictions for the Future


According to Cactus Language Training at the present, the languages with the most speakers are Mandarin Chinese, English, Spanish, Russian and French. “The languages most widely studied in English-speaking countries are currently French, German, Spanish, Italian, and increasingly Mandarin and Japanese. In Australia languages like Indonesian and Vietnamese are also quite popular.”


It is hard to speculate and there is no single right answer to what could be the best language to learn. As with most tough decisions, it comes down to a mix of thorough planning, personal objectives and a pinch of salty luck. So if you are picking up a new language as a part of the outlook and potential career development exercise, do the homework and do the comprehensive “target” research.



Dead Fish Handshake? No no no!


No matter how heavy your linguistic baggage might be never forget the universal business language. And I am not talking about the library of standard electronic business documents, what I am referring to is the general business etiquette. Do smile, maintain eye contact, hold the posture, make firm handshake of course - in other words follow the body language and focus on the positive qualities you already have.


And one last grain of advice is to be sensible and aware of the professional language doublespeak. Technical jargon might demonstrate your area of expertise, however it is better to be plain and clear, rather than confusing and misleading! “An in-depth knowledge of your field may get you in the door, but good communication skills will open many more.” (source: The Business Style Handbook)