Top Languages to Learn for International Business
International business is booming, with businesspeople and entrepreneurs alike conducting business all over the world. Learning other languages has long been a critical skill in the field of international business, and as the ages pass, which languages are most vital to learn have changed with time, the influence of specific sovereign nations, and major trade agreements.
From accounting to marketing, developing fluency in other tongues can increase the lucrativeness of your business, enhance your career, and open up a greater number of avenues in career development. Here are five top languages to learn for international business.
China is an economic powerhouse that has long done business with other sovereign nations. While some also speak Cantonese, Mandarin is spoken by the entirety of China and is also referred to as Standard Chinese. Business in China is rooted in face-to-face communication and the building of friendships and relationships, and learning to speak the language – like in most other places – demonstrates respect for the nation and its culture.
Germany is yet another nation whose economic power is significant in the west. Several business-central nations outside of Germany also utilize German as an official or de facto language, including Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and Liechtenstein – making it an excellent language to learn for anyone that conducts international business across Europe.
Especially important in the Americas, Spanish is the official language of many Central and South American nations, and has become a second de facto tongue in the United States. Spanish is not only important to business to business relationships, but also to the customer base – in the United States especially, a large amount of Americans speak Spanish as their first or second language, and learning Spanish can help to broaden customer bases in both the US and Canada.
Once considered the language of the common folk, English has become one of the major languages of commerce, prompting many to study and become fluent in English or encourage their children to do so. English is the de facto language of the United States and an official language of the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, and several other countries – all with thriving business landscapes. English is also a secondary language for many other businesspeople, making it a lucrative tongue to learn for any involved with international business.
Arabic is a much more prevalent language than many westerners suppose. Spoken not only in the Middle East, Arabic is also the official language of Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Somalia and Sudan – among several others. Many Arabic nations are powerhouses of education and economy, and do business with a great many other nations. Arabic is a challenging tongue for many westerners to learn, particularly its writing system – but is nevertheless a lucrative language for businesspeople to learn.
While many businesspeople may be able to get along with one, or perhaps two, languages, linguistics and international business are firm and inseparable partners – and learning even the basics of several tongues will greatly broaden your career horizons.
Related Resource: The 25 Best Online MBA Programs for International Business