Many businesses, either large or small have a desire to grow internationally. To be able to trade in more than one country not only can generate an improved income stream, but also creates considerable credibility. On paper, opening up offices in different countries may look like a piece of cake but in reality, there is a lot more to contemplate, and in many cases a priority to consider is that of language.
English Folly. You may say “So what, all business is done in English” and while this is true to a degree it is also not the truth. Sure, one of the primary languages of business communication is English, but when it comes to the day to day, and gaining a strong foothold in whatever country a business is venturing into, knowing the mother tongue matters. Going into Spain, France, Japan or any country that does not natively speak English and expecting things to be done in English would be pure arrogance and therefore speaking the native language is vital.
Language gets you started. When a business is expanding into another country it is taking its products and services to a place where its own native language is not the same as the country that is the new customer base. Communication and marketing when entering a new country both need to happen in the now foreign language and being able to discuss your requirements with local agents requires you to be understood. Even prior to establishing a base on foreign soil, discussions and negotiations need to occur and these are best done in the language of the country being entered. Speaking the language shows that the business is taking its expansion into different countries seriously. Furthermore, in the often delicate, initial discussions and negotiations, speaking the same language, preferably the native language, room for error or misunderstanding is removed. Speaking a language ensures a swift and more effective expansion into a new country.
Language gets you down to business. When expanding into a new country a business will employ locals that are often managed non-native language speakers and the process of opening up operations is overseen by staff from the home office who may not necessarily speak the language of the country they are in as their first language. It is important to understand that language plays a critical role here and speaking the language is of paramount importance. Not only does speaking the language help in the day to day office or factory operations it goes a great deal further to ensure a strong foundation is created where misunderstanding, for example, becomes less of a problem with face to face discussions.
Language beyond to office door. The biggest thing about language that helps a company expand into foreign territory is outside of the business. Few companies expanding into a new country take full cognisance of culture, tradition and social behaviour, of the place they are setting up shop and these easily overlooked elements of working and living in a new country are very much the fabric that drives success when expanding internationally. Speaking a language ensures a company and the employees tasked with establishing operations blend in. Blending in is powerful when it comes to morale in place of work and high morale means the chances of success and high productivity are exceptionally better than they could otherwise be. Language matters!
Expanding a business internationally all begins with the spoken word and being able to speak the language of the country where a business is venturing into is by far and away the most critical part of the entire plan.
Is your language course claimable as a self-education expense?
Do you need to learn a language to help you do your job better? Self-education expenses are deductible when the course you undertake leads to a formal qualification. To claim a deduction for self-education expenses, you must have met one of the following conditions when you incurred the expense:
Also, if you have had to work from home due to the COVID-19 there are also additional tax benefits you can claim due to having to use your personal resources. If you work from home, you will be able to claim a deduction for the additional running expenses you incur. These include:
The information contained in this article may not necessarily relate to you and you would need to confirm your eligibility with your own accountant.
Check out the following links for more info from the ATO:
‘ 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.