Britain’s potential trading partners
Since the UK’s referendum to leave the European Union in 2016 Britain is going to have to seek new business opportunities all over the world. A key part this will involve businesses possessing language skills necessary for communicating with potential and new trading partners.
What languages might our new trading partners speak?
We don’t know yet.
However, there are some very large markets out there offering new business opportunities that were not a priority in the past because we were members of the EU.
So, here is our pick of the languages we think Britons will need to speak to compete in a world where the UK is no longer a member of the European Union:
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world (Mandarin is the first) and one that many Britons have some familiarity with due to Spain being a popular holiday destination.
How many People speak it: 427 million
Where is it spoken?:
(Countries where Spanish it is the official language)Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela,
It is also spoken by a sizeable minority in the United States, Belize and Guyana
Pros: Speaking Spanish opens up business opportunities across South America, Central America and parts of North America as well as and mainland Europe;
Cons: There are differences between the dialects spoken in Spain and other Spanish speaking countries;
Arabic (Modern Standard Arabic)
Arabic is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. Arabic speaking linguists can open doors to more trade with more than 20 different countries.
How many people speak it?: 422 million speakers
Where is it spoken?: Arabic is the official language of the 22 countries, but is spoken in the following countries:
Africa: Algeria, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara), Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania (Zanzibar) Tunisia;
Middle East: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia , Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen;
Pros: Arabic speaking countries like those in North Africa are not too far away and the variety of different markets can offer enormous opportunities;
Cons: Arabic is written in Arabic script, and is written from right to left, making it a little more challenging for people to learn;
Mandarin Chinese is the official language of China and it is the most widely spoken language in the world.
How many people speak it?: 960 million
Where is it spoken?: It is the sole official language of China and Taiwan, and one of a number of official languages in Singapore. In addition Mandarin is the most frequently used version of Chinese amongst Chinese diaspora communities;
Pros: As China’s global influence grows the requirement to conduct business in Mandarin will grow as well;
Cons: Linguists suggest that Mandarin is a relatively difficult language to master;
Russia is the largest country in the world, has the 9th largest population and more than 75% of the country’s population live in the ‘European Russia’.
How many people speak it?: 155 million
Where is it spoken: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Byelorussia, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan,Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine
Pros: With a strong economy and large mineral and energy reserves Russia could potentially become an important trading partner;
Cons: Politics! International political issues have been known to influence trading arrangements between Britain and Russia perhaps making it one of the more challenging locations in which to do business;