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A Global Language is Expanding: English Proficiency is the Key to Success

January 31, 2016 by St Giles

Musicians and filmmakers release their work in English in order to expose the largest possible audience to their albums and films. Most international trade is done in English. Most academic work is published in English. In multinational companies, English is not only important, but often required.

Multinational Companies are Choosing A Single Language

Companies are choosing a single language in order to communicate at a global level. This includes communications such as emails, phone conversations and speaking with clients. Working with clients and colleagues is a necessity.

Workforce magazine described English proficiency as a necessity for professional growth and advancement. If you are hoping to get promoted in an international company, you are required to have a skilled understanding of business English.

A 2012 CNN article said, “According to Tsedal Neeley, a professor at Harvard Business School, companies that don’t adopt English as a standard for their entire organisation will, at some point, experience some form of bottleneck.”

“It depends on what the company does, but if you’ll have members in different countries needing to collaborate – whether it’s to integrate technology platforms or cater to customers worldwide – it will become more important that even middle managers and employees with international assignments will need a common language in order to interface with others.”

This article on business English states that any incompetence in company leadership is most often due to a communication problem. It stands to reason that a strong grasp of business English is the first step towards better communication in international business.

Modern Examples of Multinational Monolingual Companies

A single language helps multinational companies to collaborate with each other and to cater to customers around the world. Several multinational companies have already chosen English as their official language of business. This includes Samsung, Renault, Microsoft in Beijing, Airbus, Nokia, and Daimler AG, among many others.

Nissan manager Chika Tsuda told Workforce magazine that candidates who sought promotion within the company needed to be able to speak business English on a daily basis with executives, clients and co-workers.

Employees at Rakuten, Japan’s biggest online marketplace, were told (in English) in 2010 that English was their new official language of business. 7,100 Japanese employees needed to demonstrate their English proficiency within two years. If they were not considered competent on an international English scoring system they faced the possibility of demotion or dismissal.

Some companies are choosing to reward their workers for learning proficient workplace English. Softbank Mobile Corporation offers monetary compensation for employees who achieve mastery of business English.

Why is English the Dominant Language?

The rise of English as the dominant business language is due to political and historical factors such as the influence of American business and the far reaching conquests of the British Empire. This is not to imply that English should be the dominant language, only that it is.

Academic Institutions and The English Language

Academic institutions are also favouring English as their dominant language. A BBC article published in January 2016 paraphrases Professor Winfried Thielmann, a linguist at the Technical University of Chemnitz and member of ADAWIS, by stating, ‘Prof Thielman says journals mainly accept papers that use American theories and terminology, which means there is less incentive for researchers to develop alternative ideas in languages other than English.’

Prof Thielman states that quotations and references to papers in languages other than English are rarely accepted.

What is the reason for this academic linguistic monoculture? Skilful academic translation is costly. Even if this could be budgeted for, English language journals rarely run articles that previously were published in another language.

How Learning Business English Improves Your Professional Value

When language obstacles exist within companies, those companies lose money. In a 2013 Forbes article, the future world of work is described as ‘borderless’. Technology has opened communication gateways between stakeholders, employees, partners and customers. In order to match the level of communication with new technological capabilities, these individuals need to speak business English well.

English speaking countries have some of the most financially successful economies in the world. These include the UK, Australia and the United States. Not only is business English becoming a requirement, but a desire to learn is seen as a corporate asset. English proficiency demonstrates that a candidate is willing to consistently improve their communication skills.

There are scientific reasons to learn another language as well. Research shows that people who learn a new language begin to think more flexibly. A March 2015 Science Magazine article states that the ability to speak a second language may change the way an individual sees the world. In it, a recent study shows that English speakers focus more on an event in a story, whereas German speakers tend to focus on the potential outcomes of an event. The study showed that participants could switch perspectives as quickly as they could switch languages. In business, academia, and everyday life, the ability to think flexibly and adapt thinking quickly is crucial to success.

Psychological Science authors write, “A second language can play an important unconscious role in framing perception.” Psycholinguist Panos Athanasopoulos of Lancaster University, UK tates, “By having another language, you have an alternative vision of the world. You can listen to music from only one speaker, or you can listen in stereo … It’s the same with language.”

If you know a second language you are most likely to be seen as someone who is capable of adaption, quick thinking, and productivity under pressure. These are all assets sought in today’s workforce and academic arena.

Options For English and Business English Lessons

There are a number of English and Business English Language courses available and an equally extensive variety of formats. St Giles International, a language school with over 60 years of experience, offers Platinum English Language Training Courses designed for professionals, executives and mature learners. These include group courses, flexible training, one-to-one courses and a combination of these arrangements.

There is much evidence of a growing monolingual culture that requires English proficiency for academic and business success. Are you prepared?

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