What Languages Are Important When Launching Your Company

Updated on May 28th, 2022
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Launching a business requires hard work, organization, and the right tools in your startup belt. But one overlooked component is which language will be spoken at your company. Selecting the right common language, or lingua franca, can help employees collaborate more efficiently and increase productivity since it will make hiring, training and evaluating talent easier. More importantly, you’ll be able to connect with your customers through listening to their feedback and being able to properly market your company to them – you don’t want to have any miscommunication and offend your potential customers.

English

For the business world, English is the lingua franca. Not only is it the fastest growing language in the world; it’s spoken by approximately 1.75 million people on the planet and will grow to over 200 million by 2020. That would come out to every 1 in 4 people. Additionally, 69% of people who do not speak English as their mother tongue reported that it was the most important language for them to learn.

As Tsedal Neeley notes in the Harvard Business Review, “English is now the global language of business,” and that “More and more multinational companies are mandating English as the common corporate language

Spanish

There are over 400 million native Spanish speakers in the world. Spanish is also the official language in 20 countries – predominantly in the Western Hemisphere, along with Spain and Equatorial Guinea. For business owners in the U.S., Spanish should be learned if you want to tap into this rapidly growing market.

German

With 229 million German speakers in the world, businesses should not overlook the German language. While German may not be an official U.N. language, it is the official of European economic powerhouses like Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, and Poland.

Russian

Spoken by more than 250 million people globally, as well as being the official language of one the world’s emerging economies, Russian is an important language for businesses – especially those involved in the science technical industries.

French

France is one of the world’s largest economies with a GDP of $2.5 trillion. France is spoken by some 130 million people living in Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia. It’s also very influential in the European Union.

Portuguese

Besides having around 213 million speakers, Portuguese deserves special mention since it is needed for emerging markets like Brazil.

Hindi and Bengali

These are both official languages of India, which is one of the most important economies in the world. Combined they are spoken by more than 600 million.

Arabic

For those in the petroleum industry, Arabic is a necessary language to learn. It’s also the fifth most spoken on the planet with over 230 speakers.

Mandarin

It would be foolish to overlook the importance of Mandarin in the business world. Not only is it the most spoken language in the world with a whooping 1 billion plus speakers, it’s also the official language of the second largest market in the world China.

Japanese

Japan is the third largest economy in the world; with an impressive GDP that’s expected to grow to $4.9 trillion in 2020. Japan is also spoken by approximately 130 million people.

Computer Programming

While not actually a language that you speak, all businesses should at least have a basic understanding of common programming languages like HTML, Javascript, Perl or C++ if that want to maintain a competitive edge.

Final Words of Advice

When selecting the language for your company, you need to take into consideration several factors that include which languages are spoken in your target market and the difficulty of learning the language. For example, if you’re based in the U.S.and don’t plan on spearing beyond the Western Hemisphere, it wouldn’t make sense to take the time and resources to learn Mandarin since it’s a difficult language to learn and isn’t spoken by customers. However, learning Spanish could be an assist. It’s relatively easy to learn and there’s a large demographic of people who speak Spanish in the Western Hemisphere.

After selecting the language that could be most beneficial for your business, you should turn to resources like language centers, tutors, free online instructional sites, movies, TV shows, and literature. The best way to learn though is by directly interacting with the people who speak the language.

John Rampton

John Rampton

John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector. When he was 23 years old, while attending the University of Utah, he was hurt in a construction accident. His leg was snapped in half. He was told by 13 doctors he would never walk again. Over the next 12 months, he had several surgeries, stem cell injections and learned how to walk again. During this time, he studied and mastered how to make money work for you, not against you. He has since taught thousands through books, courses and written over 5000 articles online about finance, entrepreneurship and productivity. He has been recognized as the Top Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and Finance Expert by Time. He is the Founder and CEO of Due.

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