English is considered the lingua franca of our era. Although native English speakers are about 5% of the world’s population (300-400 million people), English is one of the most spoken languages around the globe and the most published one. Why? Because there are more than one billion people who speak it, no matter if it’s a mother tongue or a second language. One billion is a very impressive figure, isn’t it?
Learning a foreign language is just an option
There is a common notion among native English speakers that they don’t need to learn another language. This is obviously based on the fact that English is spoken in so many other countries. They can travel to Sweden, Poland, Romania, Ethiopia, Mexico, Russia or China and have little or no difficulties in getting along with the locals because they all speak English. Therefore, learning a foreign language is just an option, not a necessity.
The latest statistics about the number of British pupils that take A-levels in foreign languages support this statement. Not only has there been a dramatic drop in attending German or French classes compared to the mid-90’s, but these figures have fallen to a record low. Pupils prefer science and maths instead. Therefore, one can say that learning languages is a foreign concept to today’s British teenagers.
Are the British at risk of becoming a nation of monolinguals?
The idea that the British could become a nation of monolinguals is a hot topic. An article about this issue, published by The Guardian, received more than 1000 comments in just 4 days. Some say it already is. Others argue against this. However, they agree that knowing more than one language may be more advantageous, but they simply choose not to learn another language when English is just enough.
As English is now a widely spoken international language, English speakers may think they need no other language; this is very much a modern invention, with no precedent in older civilisations.
How does this affect your business?
Considering the impact of using other languages when doing business, here is a quote that says it all:
“If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen sie Deutsch sprechen.”*
Think about it.
As a decision maker in your international company, you don’t have to learn all the languages of the countries in which you sell your products or services. You just have to be aware that language is an important tool in closing a deal.
Our translators will help you make a difference
Our team of professional translators will be more than happy to help your business. We offer specialised translation services in over 140 languages. Also, we cover various business areas: marketing, HR, legal, finance and many more.
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* If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, then you must speak German.