Learning a second language improves a person’s creativity, problem-solving skills, and ability to deal with abstract concepts. All these are excellent skills to have in business.
With society’s move to the digital landscape, global platforms for business are more common and easier to manage.
If you want to get ahead of the competition, adding a second language to your skill set, website, products or services, is a great way to do it.
Read on for the ten best languages for business that you can learn or localize your website or products into, besides English.
China has or will soon have the world’s largest economy. It surpasses the US in terms of exports and manufacturing output and in general, products and services cost a lot less there than in the States.
A lot of countries are waking up to the economic power of China. Soon, doing business with Chinese clients, partners, or suppliers will be necessary.
The primary language of this economic powerhouse is Mandarin. A billion people worldwide speak this language, making it the most spoken language in the world.
Regardless of industry, learning mandarin for business is a smart move. Most companies translate to Mandarin (as opposed to Cantonese), or “Simplified Chinese” in its written form.
Within the US alone, 41 million people speak Spanish at home as their first language.
Over 30% of the US population is Hispanic, and that number continues to climb. Many of these Spanish-speaking Americans say their English skills are not great.
For doing business in the US, Spanish as a second language is a good idea. Plus, there are more than 20 countries in the world where Spanish is the official, primary language.
Learning Spanish is a lot easier than many of the other languages on this list. The language is phonetic so spelling words out is simple. If you worry about how easily you can pick up a second language, choose Spanish and find out why professional Spanish translation services are so much in demand.
Arabic is the official language of 28 countries in both the Middle East and Africa. There are over 420 million native Arabic speakers.
Because Arabic is more difficult to learn that some others, there is a lot of demand for people who have conversational fluency in the language. Be careful however, Arabic has many dialects that can differ greatly. If you need Arabic document translation services however, there is one common traditional Arabic language that bridges all countries together.
The Arab sector is rich in resources such as oil and natural gas.
The city of Dubai is one of the wealthiest on the planet. There are many job and business opportunities here and in other places where Arabic is king.
Today, there are 210 million German speakers worldwide. German is in various countries such as Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. It is the 4th most used language online.
Germany is a trade powerhouse. That is why German is more economically valuable as a foreign language than the language of a country that has a closed economy. It is also one of the most important languages in the automobile, banking and research industries.
For Americans, knowing a foreign language pays. The Economist states that knowing German equals a cumulative wage bonus of $128,000. That is significantly higher than Spanish at $51,000 and French at $77,000.
It’s all about supply and demand. It may be difficult to compete with native French and Spanish speakers for jobs and opportunities here. It will be a much more open landscape for those who speak German as a second language.
It is no surprise that many large international corporation express interest in German translation services before all other languages.
Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, the world’s 7th largest economy. Brazil is home to a population of young people. Over 60% of the country’s inhabitants are under 30 years old.
If you are looking to target a millennial audience, Portuguese is a great choice for a foreign language. This is why translating into Portuguese your apps and website require special expertise and attention.
Portuguese is also spoken in Portugal and some countries in Africa. Over 215 million people speak Portuguese worldwide.
Russia is the world’s largest nation. There are 267 million Russian speakers who live not only in Russia, but also the Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.
Russia is an influential nation and is likely to take Germany’s spot for the 5th largest economy by the year 2030.
Native Russian speakers are less likely to speak English as a second language. This means that there is a lot of opportunities for Russian corporate translation services as well as business relations.
French is one of the top languages for business because speakers of the language reside in 39 countries.
There are 76 million native French speakers that dot the world from Africa to Europe and even North America! It’s also the official language of several international organizations such as the United Nations and World Trade Organization.
To many American companies, Canada is the first international venue they venture in. It simply makes sense given Canada’s economy, culture and proximity. To do so, by law, they are required to localize products into French. This often open doors to sell the same products in France, Belgium, Switzerland and many other French speaking countries…
Japan is a leader in the technology industry. It is also the 3rd largest economy in the world. In 2016, Japan was responsible for 89 billion dollars of sales via e-commerce.
There are 126 million Japanese speakers and it’s the 6th most common language for internet users. Japanese is a smart choice for people in e-commerce, technology, and environmental sustainability.
Since Japanese is not a fully phonetic language (Kanji: Chinese ideographic symbols, plus Hiragana and Katakana: two phonetic alphabets), learning it requires a significant effort. Furthermore, encoding the language into your website requires specialized handling of double-byte characters. This is why it is highly recommended to leave any English to Japanese translation services to the experts!
India is the planet’s second most populated country. The country is also one of the fastest growing economies.
Of the 1.2 billion people that call India home, an estimated 85% do not speak English.
Though the country has various languages, Hindi is often the common tongue people use to communicate with people from outside their region. Learn more about Hindi translation services, regional dialects and the art of reliable translations.
Hindi is currently the 5th most-spoken language worldwide. That’s why Hindi is an excellent choice as a foreign language.
10. Italian or Korean
Take your pick! Italian and Korean are both internationally recognized and important languages for different reasons.
Italian will round out your Romance language portfolio. Having perfected Spanish, French and Portuguese, learning Italian becomes a breeze! Also Italy has one of the top 10 largest economies in the world.
As far as Korean is concerned, South Korea’s economy alone can justify learning the language and adapting your products and website to it. But imagine the possibilities if North Korea opens up its boarders and decides to join the the world’s economy! Opportunities for speaking and translating into Korean will be enormous!!
Bottom Line on Best Languages for Business
While English is still by far the most dominant language in business, the eternal language of business continues to be the language of the customer!
Learning a second language gives you many transferable skills that you can apply to any job. When your website, products or services speak these languages, you will also further the value of what you have to offer to your local and international clients.
Learn more about GlobalVision’s certified language translation services for your business needs.
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