Why not learning languages is a problem for the future
Yet again this year’s GCSE results brought to the forefront the fact that our younger generations are not all that interested in languages. This follows on from last year’s low rates of students taking a foreign language at GCSE level, setting a worrying trend for our future generations and workforce.
The British have a reputation of not being good at taking up languages. That’s probably because it is so easy to get by with English wherever you go nowadays, or when you can’t, relying on smartphones and Google translate to get where you need to go or find what you need when on holiday. However, this may work for a two week holiday overseas but when it comes to running an international business, language skills become much more important.
In an increasingly interconnected and globalised world of business and travel languages are becoming more and more important. Having even basic skills in a language will help with:
- Day-to-day communication. Being able to communicate, even at the most basic level, enables you to get around more easily, establish strong bonds with your clients and partners, and demonstrate that you take them and their culture seriously.
- Understanding cultures. Begin to learn a language and you begin to learn about a country’s culture and its people. It is easy to underestimate how important this may be to certain cultures even when English is the main business language. Delving into a culture enables a greater understanding of how things operate and will also help with better targeting your products and services to that specific market.
- New and emerging markets. Like it or not, Brexit is already influencing the debate around business and commerce, and will continue to do so. If the current discussions are anything to go by, then the UK will be doing more and more business and trade further afield in regions such as the Far East and South America. Even without Brexit these are emerging markets that UK companies are entering in ever larger numbers as they offer opportunities to open up to new customer bases.
- Preparing the future workforce. As our children are dropping languages before they even become conversational, let alone bilingual, this puts them at a disadvantage over those from other countries who are. Which brings us back to the globalisation of business and commerce. Where organisations are working internationally, they will consider candidates who are bi- or multilingual who can make a greater contribution to business in more than one market.
Paradoxically, while the world is becoming a smaller place, language and culture are becoming ever more important in order to navigate through it.
Want to know more about how languages can help grow your business?
For information and assistance with materials in other languages or interpretation services, talk to us at Language Link UK. With a network of linguists we can help you grow your business wherever you may want to go in the world. Use our contact form to let us know what you need and our team will be in touch in no time.