Germany is a country best known for its forests, rivers and mountain ranges. The country is one of the largest in Europe and has a thriving tourist industry. With its castles, large houses and the mountainous countryside being major attractions, and many within only a short drive or train journey from major cities such as Frankfurt and Berlin.
For the average tourist, equipped with a map, or accompanied by a guide with the ever-handy German phrase book and the fact many Germans speak very good English, a vacation is easy to undertake. But for the tourist or businessperson who wants to head off the beaten track, and explore some of the hidden gems of Germany, having more than a phrase book is important. There is a great deal more to see in Germany than one could well imagine, and by having a better grasp of the language, these places and more can soon be opened up, making a German leisure visit something special.
With language, the weird and wonderful can be found and explored, and the conventional, seen how Germans see them. Take for example one of the strangest museums in the world, the German Food Additives Museum just outside Hamburg. For the non-German speaker this museum would be impossible to visit, as everything in the museum and about the museum, is in German. It is a fascinating small museum, and a real one of a kind, but only by speaking German can you really visit and understand this amazing place.
It is not just specialist museums that are “off limits” to those who cannot speak German, some historical sites make little sense, and again because of the predominant use of German make then seem pointless to visit. One such place is the ruined airport not far from Berlin, where Claus von Stauffenberg could have ended World War II, but didn’t, when his assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler failed. Not only is the airport a fascinating part of fairly recent history, but it is truly a unique place that tantalises curiosity to visit.
Without an understanding of the German language, so many small but interesting places to visit automatically fail to make a tourist agenda. Germany has many hidden gems. Even foods become more interesting, and what was once a seemingly bland and uninviting menu, becomes something you want to at least try. Being able to converse with the owner of a small back street café or restaurant can lead to some wonderful culinary adventures, coffee becomes more than black stuff in a cup and becomes a discussion about life with a local, and the meal becomes something enjoyable as you discuss specialities of the house with the host or chef.
An understanding of the German language turns a German vacation, or day away from a German business trip, into something quite special and creates some amazing memories that without language could never even begin to form.
If your ideal job requires you to chat with clients from different nationalities, studying the language of that country will help to make your work easier and assist you in landing your dream job. Speaking a relevant foreign language will create a positive image in the minds of your clients, which they might communicate to your bosses, and may just provide you with the competitive edge in landing that new and elusive contract. You will no longer require an interpreter to communicate your clients’ requirement to you. This will also save a lot of cost for the organisation for which you are working. These are all great selling points about your language skill which can be used at an interview.
Lack of foreign language knowledge puts English speakers at a disadvantage. In meetings, for example, the people on the opposing side of a negotiation can discuss issues amongst themselves, in their own language, without the English speakers understanding. Utilising the skill of an interpreter can slow negotiation down and remove the flow of a deal. In any socialising, after the meetings, which may be integral to strengthening relationships, your clients will probably feel more comfortable using their own language rather than English. Knowledge of foreign languages may also increase your chances of finding a new job, getting a promotion or a transfer overseas, or of going on foreign business trips.
Contact VLLC so we can discuss your language requirements for that dream career!
For decades the world only ever saw Russia and the USSR through the eyes of Bond, James Bond and everything was secretive, under the table and monitored by KGB spies only to be blown up and destroyed at the end. Thankfully, Ian Fleming’s James Bond is pure fiction and the books and the movies are not at all like Russia today, in fact, Russia today, is perhaps one of the easiest places to do business, and when done right, can be extremely good business.
There is just a little etiquette to follow if you want to succeed in business in Russia and there are really only 5 things to remember to get things right. Each of these can be improved upon by having a grasp of the Russian Language that goes is beyond “Dasvidaniya”.
Russians are proud of their country, and everyone you come across will ask you about Russian and there is only one right answer and that is that you Love Russia. Being able to say why you love Russia and expand upon “Ya loolyou Rossiyu”, will serve you in good stead. Not only do the Russians love their country, but they are also proud of their language, both spoken and written. It is a simple and common courtesy to have any documentation you might have, produced in English (or your native language) and in Russian. Again, having a grasp of Russian could even give you the ability to discuss the documents and be the difference between sealing a deal, or not.
It is rather unique to Russian society that men are addressed by their name, and the name of their father. There is a certain pride in this, and this minor heads up is what could win you any deal, first meetings are always utilising the fairly formal name, and father’s name, until things get a little relaxed. Again, being able to speak Russian will help you considerably here, with pronunciation, and of course making conversation, even asking about the man’s father.
In Russia, being just on time as James Bond always is, sometimes is not enough. On time is late by Russian standards and being early is considered being on time. As a foreigner, when your Russian client arrives late, you must not get frustrated. It is a strange way of working, but somewhere in the psyche there is some sense. Arrive early, it will leave you more relaxed, and of course, if you speak even some small talk in Russian, may even open the chance of increased opportunity.
It is also good to look like a million dollars. Since the fall of communism, status is a big part of Russian society, it is not necessarily about a persons' ego but more just looking the part. Sloppy dressing is considered close to an insult, but a smart suit, with a crisp short and stylish tie that reflect in well-polished shoes, will give you the edge and show you mean business. And then, when least expected, you open your mouth and speak Russian, you really cannot lose!
Doing business in Russia is not difficult and it is made easier when you speak the language!
Russia for people of a certain generation was a cold and off-limits part of the world. With the KGB supposedly hovering on every street corner and only “Meester Bond” seemingly able to penetrate the country that always wanted to take over the world, it was hardly a place to visit and even less a place to do business with.
As much as President Putin has not always been Mr Popularity, Russia is nonetheless a booming place for tourism and a growth market for business. No longer is Red Square the only place on the tourist map and no longer is business considered spying on the nation, Russia is one of THE places to visit. However, to make it an even better place to visit and do business with, speaking Russian opens the country, its people, culture and tremendous business opportunities.
Russia is a vast country and yet one that has only recently opened for tourism and more widely for business. It has always claimed to be “open”, but perceptions of the country kept it more closed. However, Russia has come to realise that foreigners entering the country are no longer MI5 agents or spies but rather can add value to the bottom line of the economy.
Business and leisure can be mixed perfectly in Russia, and by speaking the language, one soon sees that Russians are not miserable people trapped in a communist past. The people of Russia are as cheerful as any others on earth, they want to show their country, and they are proud to do so. Speaking the language makes doing business better, trust is gained when you speak the language of another country, and common courtesies extend to improve business relations. Not only is trust gained, but by speaking Russian, nothing is lost in translation.
Some say that Russian is one of the easiest languages to learn, and even by just learning a small amount, the Russian Map unfolds more than you can imagine. Places away from the tourist traps of Moscow and St Petersburg become open, and the true culture and way of living in Russia can be experienced. Eating out in Russia becomes an enjoyable and almost festive experience when you speak Russian, and because the people are friendly and they are able to converse with you, happiness flows.
Not so long ago, Russia was not considered the best place to visit. Transport infrastructure was poor, hotels (except the top five-star establishments) were not always up to scratch, and the places to visit were somewhat limited. Today all this has changed, even destinations on the Black Sea that are popular domestic destinations for Russians, have become accessible to tourists from overseas. Transport, rail and air networks have improved considerably and made Russia a great place to visit and do business with. Despite these improvements, speaking Russian still gives any tourist or business traveller a tremendous advantage.
Russia wants to move forward and lose many of the perceptions from the past, and because of this, the country and its people are among the most hospitable on earth. Taking advantage of speaking Russian will allow you to take advantage of the hospitality and climb inside a country that you will want to, and because of its size, need to, visit many more times.
Language is how we communicate and has been important from the most basic of communication since man first started to grunt and make sounds to get a message across.
On modern day earth there are some 6,500 spoken languages that allow some 8 billion people to communicate. Language is clearly Important.
You are reading this article in English, it has become the language of business, but it is not the most spoken language in the world. Mandarin is the most spoken mother tongue language in the world with some 1,213,000,000 people speaking it, English in comparison has only 360,000,000 speakers which gives rise to why learning a language is a great investment.
There is something powerful and magical about learning a language and investing in learning a language which opens doors both in life and business that no other tool can. In a world where technology is bringing cultures closer, language is still the most important tool. Sure, anyone can type a message and have Google Translate it, but have you ever tried translating the translation back into your original language? Tone and emotion are lost and very often the meaning is not what you really wanted to say.
Investing in learning a language allows you to use your human mind to converse with emotion and meaning. The value of this alone is worth more than many imagine, and from it comes a level of respect that few people will ever understand. The emotional power of being able to speak another language is worth more than any investment you could make elsewhere.
The real value of investing in learning a language today must surely be business. Finding a way to give you the edge rather than your competition is the goal of every business today. Language creates more than just one step better and affords improved long term and sustainable relationships just because communication is improved. For this reason, people looking for a better paid job with more prospects become valuable resources to any company if they have invested in learning a language.
There is very much a win-win result in business today when someone can speak an extra language. Companies investing in their employees to learn another language is on the increase because they understand the value and importance of vocal communication and cultural understanding and tolerance.
Investing in learning a language has another benefit over and above being good for business and job prospects. Speaking a second or even third language allows a person to get under the skin of another country, its culture and people. Having invested in learning a language, any business trip gains a new dimension and vacations become that bit more off the beaten track. As was stated at the beginning, language is the key to opening many doors and in reality, adds extra zest and enjoyment to life in way that nothing else can.
If your only reason for investing in learning a language is just because, then do it and you will see a whole new world open up around you.
Being bilingual has become a necessity for the ambitious to succeed in the booming tourism and hospitality industries. However, the big trend is for senior executives to learn the languages of their customer countries. University graduates in science, engineering, marketing, law, medicine and business are fast tracking new language skills as a valuable post graduate investment as Australia looks offshore for prosperity in the 21st century
The big bonus for Australians is that they can learn a language more quickly and easily than their competitors thanks to the accelerated language learning method of Vocational Language Learning Centre (VLLC). Many businesses have had their staff learn Mandarin, Japanese and Indonesian to ease their way into new market territories. Many of these businesses have won tenders for work within these countries purely because they bothered to learn the language and culture of their target country.
Spanish and Arabic are also popular choices and seen as great skills for the future. VLLC teaches 12 languages and culture from Certificate II in Applied Language to Certificates in Social, Intermediate and Vocational Proficiency. Our courses are designed on an individual basis so that you don't have to wait for the class to catch up, or travel to classes at particular times. VLLC has online options which allow you to learn your language in the comfort of your own home or office 24/7. This is ideal for those busy executives who are required to travel for their job. Contact VLLC to get some more information and start gaining the employability skill advantage through learning another language.
Michele Colledge, CEO VLLC Aust
If you are considering doing business with France there are a few things to consider, according to www.austrade.gov.au. France is a member of the European Union (EU) and is subject to EU trade regulatory requirements.
The most important characteristic of French business culture is the emphasis on courtesy and formality. Titles (Dr, Prof. etc.) should be used both in correspondence and in face-to-face meetings, business contacts are not normally addressed on a first name basis.
Your style of dress is also very important in the business world. For men, office and corporate wear is formal consisting of suit and tie and fashionable semi-conservative wear is considered appropriate for women. French companies are interested in long-term partnerships and once established they need to be maintained with regular visits to France that will ensure continued collaboration. Although some executives speak English it is courteous to check beforehand and as always, it show respect for your business counterpart of you are able to communicate in their language. It is also prudent not to schedule business meetings in August (summer vacation) or workdays adjacent to public holidays.
I found another really interesting blog written by Melanie Jones from the International Business Times and she has given 8 Cultural Cues that make (or break) a deal. I think that she has created a fabulous list so I have included them below (but for a full explanation or her points I will also add the link to her article at the end of this blog.)
Tip One: Respect the Language: In much of the European Union, English is the language used for international business dealings. In France however, the situation is rather different. The French are extremely proud of their language, and there may not be another culture that so regards the language it speaks as such a symbol of the country itself. Almost everyone in the French business world speaks English fluently, but refusing even to make an attempt to learn the language will be an instant mark against you. If you don't have the time to begin learning the language, or if this is a one-time trip, at least make an effort to study some basic French phrases, and apologize for your lack of fluency early on. Your international business colleagues will appreciate the effort, and the conversation will then likely switch to English or a hybrid of the two languages.
Tip Two: Know the French Business Model: When first doing business in France, the formality of the proceedings and almost obsessive adhesion to hierarchy and protocol can seem stuffy, cold or unnecessarily strict. It is important to recognize however, that business dealings are really operating on two levels.
Tip Three: Put an Emphasis on Being Formal and Professional. French businessmen and women like to keep things formal to start, adhering to that strict distinction between the personal and private on the one hand and the public and professional on the other. Begin by shaking hands, and note that the French typically shake quicker and less firmly than Americans. When speaking at the start of a meeting, stick to the vous form (the professional you) until invited to use the tu form of speech (the informal you). Avoid first names, instead using their surname with Monsieur or Madame before it. French people often introduce themselves surname first, so pay close attention when you're shaking hands.
Tip Four: Follow Logic. The French conversation style, especially in business, puts an emphasis on being direct and questioning. The French are most receptive to rational presentations that are well organized and presented, and will respect a low-key manner (avoid yelling, hand-waving or hyperbole) used to clearly highlight benefits.
Tip Five: It doesn't hurt to be eloquent. Coupled with this stress on logic is, of course, an equal emphasis on charisma. How you argue a position in France is often as important as the argument itself, and serves as a clear indicator that you take the work seriously and are capable of nuanced thought. Eloquence is seen as a cardinal virtue in France, and French managers have been known to rise to their positions, and run their businesses, in part through the force of their rhetoric. Long-term relationships are a stable of French business dealing, and getting to know a person is done n part through reading how they present themselves and their ideas.
Tip Six: Appreciate the Food, Enjoy the Lunch Hours. The only thing perhaps more lauded in France than its language is the country's cuisine, and the French take their food very seriously. Since this is also an incredibly enjoyable and indulgent part of French culture, it's best to dive into this area whole-heartedly, and with great appreciation for the delicacies in store. Business lunches are often very long, running two hours or more, and may not even involve discussing business at all. Instead, they are often used as a way to build the close relationships that sustain business ties, or perhaps to discuss the finer points of an argument or contract detail. Lunches are a big affair, so be sure to come hungry. Most consist of an appetizer, a main meal, a cheese course and dessert, with wine and coffee to drink.
Tip Seven: Adjust to Physical Cues. As with every culture, the French respond to certain physical cues that indicate respect or competence. Maintaining direct eye contact while speaking for example, makes for a good first impression, and correct posture and keeping your hands out of your pockets are musts. Avoid gum chewing, snapping your fingers, or slapping your palm with your fist, as these habits are considered vulgar. Also, never make an okay sign with your fingers, as in France this symbol means nothing or zero. To show approval, simply raise your thumb.
Tip Eight: Be prepared for Cultural Exchange. French people, especially those in business, couple a deep pride in their own country with an abiding curiosity about other cultures, and respect someone who can speak about their country's culture, history and politics in an educated and eloquent way. Personal ideology is also welcome in discussions, and the French appreciation for individualism carries through to a sincere admiration for freedom of opinion and knowledge of the intricacies of one's beliefs, allowing for impassioned discussion that will strengthen, not limit, a professional relationship with your French colleagues. Discussion of French cultural topics is also welcomed and appreciated, though any criticism of Napoleon is greatly discouraged.
France is a country the English love to hate, it is a country that many believe is the birthplace of romance and a place where people eat frogs legs and know the difference between Champagne and fizzy wine. These are just side stories to a country that is an important political player in Europe, a master player on the world wine market and a country that is home to just shy of 67 million people of which 15% are immigrants, imports or just plain foreigners.
French is the considered the language of love, and those who take the time to learn the language will soon discover that it is much richer than “Je t’adore” and “Bonsoir mademoiselle”. The French language is officially a Romance language, not romance as is love but as in Romanic, but perhaps it is all about love in a way. The language itself stems from something that sounds far less romantic, evolving from Vulgar Latin between the sixth and ninth centuries and some 800 million people now speak language around the world.
French is a popular language to learn, but what about the country of France, what is its history? Anyone visiting France will instantly realise that the French are passionate, beyond merely patriotic, about their country and they have every right to be so. Being able to speak French will enable you to get a little deeper into French history on your next visit. But in short, France has a wonderful, colourful, chequered and at times fascinating past.
The country we call France can be tracked back to the Iron Age and the land mass that makes up the country from North to South was once the bulk of what Rome called Gaul. The Romans noted three languages, dialects or linguistic groups in the region: the Gauls, the Aquitani, and the Belgae. In the first thousand years BC France was colonised by the Greeks, Romans and Carthaginians and Southern Gaul was annexed. The Gallic wars eventually saw France (Gaul) become integrated into the then Roman Emperor and there are still many reminders of this, none more better than Pont du Gard, the world famous roman aqueduct still operational today.
Over time, what is now France, saw dynasties and kings and queens come and go with notable historical figures rising up through a series of conflicts known better as the Hundred Year’s war. One such well-known name was a young peasant girl who became a national heroine. Joan of Arc was one of many who throughout the history of France is still held high today.
The French Revolution in the 1800s saw the monarchy thrown out with the country governed as a republic until Napoleon Bonaparte declared France the “French Empire”. He was soon defeated in the Napoleonic wars and France went back and forth between Monarchy and Republic for many years until 1870.
The First World War was marked by many deaths and France became a battlefield and grave for many young men. Fighting alongside the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy and the Allies against Germany saw France become one of the saddest places on earth in a war that was said to be the war to end all wars. But, it was not to be.
France was invaded and conquered by Nazi Germany in 1940 only to be liberated after 4 long, painful years of war. The people of France never gave up; the French resistance to this day are still considered some of the bravest, most valiant people who fought in World War II. Upon liberation, France and her people became major players on the world stage, peacekeepers, and became permanent members of the UN Security Council and NATO, immediately after the war. Today France is strong economically, culturally and politically with its military forces active against the war on terror that is taking place today. France is important and her people know it.
France is a country rich in history, far richer than a simple article or blog post can define. This history can be uncovered by visiting France and then uncovered more by speaking the wonderful, so-called, language of love, French.
You can't use body language over the telephone.... if you don't have the word, there is no communication. Between friends it may not matter, but when your business is on the line, you have to learn the language. English speaking Australians sometimes become complacent and have the attitude of "let the rest of the world learn English as a common language, we're OK!"
French is the official language of diplomacy and the Olympics, but English is more important in academic and business dealings, along with a choice of Asian languages, but which one?
A past student of ours, Darren, decided on Japanese.... "languages are interesting", he says. "I have Japanese friends, so it took off from there. The course will be most useful for future employment in the area of tourism, hopefully in Japan." Once he had decided to learn Japanese, Darren did some research and spoke to a variety of language schools who taught Japanese. He chose VLLC because it offered an individualised, fast track method, particularly geared toward using the language within the vocational arena. He has also really enjoyed the course.
Students have to be excited about what they are going to do with their language. When you learn with a specific goal in mind it helps you to retain the language more easily and it also allows us to gear all your tutorials to your requirements, VLLC gets you thinking and communicating in your new language from day one rather than focusing on grammar, because that always involves English. The course can also be completed completely online! A whole new language can be learned through pictures and mimicking the native speaking instructors. Script and correct sentence construction will follow naturally from the conversation and from specialised writing classes.
VLLC has many corporate clients whose executives and tourism staff can quickly learn the language of overseas clients and business partners. It can also be instrumental in getting unemployed people back to work, or giving them an edge for career change. The big advantage of individual tuition is that VLLC can tailor a course to suit an individual's vocation. Once people are serious about learning a language, they can look upon it as part of their professional training. The students motivation is a vital factor. Language learning is no longer intimidating but can open doors to new adventures.
‘ I feel pretty stupid that I don’t know any foreign languages’ Bill Gates.
It might seem a hard notion to grasp that the Microsoft founder and prolific philanthropist regrets not learning a second language. Gates, 62, should now have plenty of time to pursue that passion. In 2008 he retired from his day-to-day role at Microsoft and only in 2014 handed over his role as chairman of the company. We think learning a language is imperative to gaining recognition in the overseas workplace and mastering a local language is a step in the right direction at developing deeper business relationships and winning the hearts and minds of target markets.
Here are the top 7 languages to boost your employment potential
1. Spanish Of all the languages in the world, Spanish is the language our online translation agency works with the most, reflecting an enormous market the world over. Aside from the huge potential of almost all of South and Central America with emerging economic powerhouses such as Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela -- not to mention the significant market in Spain itself -- learning Spanish is worth it if only to reach the Hispanic speaking community in the U.S., whose purchasing power is already more than a trillion dollars and growing. As opposed to its spoken dialects, Spanish written forms are more uniform than other languages which makes them simpler to learn. As a Romance language, with the same letters and roots as English, you’ll probably twist your tongue a lot less than when learning Chinese.
2. French French is a very important language to learn for those who are looking to succeed in the world of business. Many people do not know is that French was considered the international lingua franca – a common language with which people all around the world can converse – for quite some time, until the rise of the British and American empires brought English into prominence. There are still many companies and individuals around the world that prefer to do business in French, and many African and Mediterranean countries that were once French colonies or territories. Because of this, French is spoken widely throughout the world, with about 335 million total speakers.
3. Chinese There are dozens of different languages and dialects spoken in China, and while Mandarin is by far the most widely spoken -- in fact, it’s the most prevalent language in the world with 1.1 billion native speakers -- other Chinese dialects are spoken by hundreds of millions of people. Wu, for example, used in the financial hub of Shanghai, is spoken by more than 80 million people -- that’s a potential market the size of Germany! Depending on what area of China you're targeting and the fact that written dialects in the country are basically uniform, learning Wu, Jin, Min or Yue will certainly be worth the effort.
4. Russian Russia has a market nearly 150 million strong, seemingly endless natural resources and a burgeoning IT sector. Plus, the language is also spoken to varying degrees in post-Soviet states (for almost 300 million speakers in all) -- many important emerging economies themselves -- making it number nine on our most-translated list. Knowing Russian will go a long way toward winning the trust of local business leaders. And you can read Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky in the original.
5. Arabic Hundreds of millions of people around the world speak Arabic -- the fifth most-spoken language in the world -- so it comes as no surprise that Arabic is number 10 on our list. The Arab world, with a growing online culture, doesn’t have its own Amazon or Alibaba, making it a market with huge potential, not to mention the deep petro-economies of the region. Executives who speak their language are going to have a leg up in this cross-continental market. The drawback? With dozens of distinct varieties of spoken Arabic, choosing the right one will be a daunting process.
6. German German is the second most-translated language at our agency, reflecting the country’s status as Europe’s largest economy and one of strongest economies in the world. Enough said. Learning a foreign language may be a major investment of time and energy, but speaking even a rudimentary level of a country’s native tongue goes a long way to breaking down walls.
7. Japanese Long at the forefront of the world’s technology, Japan is the hub of the robotics that is poised to upend the way we think about business, and even society, in the coming decades. If companies are looking to break into this up-and-coming scene, knowing how to speak Japanese would be very useful. According to Wikipedia, “Japan employs over a quarter of a million industrial robot workers. In the next 15 years, Japan estimates that number to jump to over one million and they expect revenue for robotics to be near $70 billion by 2025.” Robotics or anything else, revenue of that size might be something to consider being a part of.
These blogs are about learning a foreign language and utilising that skill to forward your professional path.