Your business performance could be suffering due to language barriers

Sep 27th 2015 at 11:38 PM

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If there’s one thing that most business leaders agree on, it’s that opportunities for business lie in improving language. Language barrier hampers efficiency in a place of business and when people learn to break these barriers, business runs faster and productivity becomes higher. Most companies that have business interests overseas recognize that their employees will not always share the same first language. In some situations, employees have to communicate using signals, or they don’t communicate at all. There are three main reasons why you should focus on eliminating language barriers in your company. The first, is to boost productivity. Productivity is reliant on operations and operations can only run smoothly if there’s efficient communication. If operations are not efficient due to a communication breakdown, your business will face many problems including producing substandard products, failing to get products to the market on time and failing to meet sales margins. If for instance you run a retail store and your store clerk does not understand the local language, he or she will not understand or respond to customer queries. A customer could walk in looking for a product but will be told it’s out of stock, because it’s easier to turn away a customer than appear to be unknowledgeable. This in time will start eating into your margins.

The second reason is collaboration. With the global need to cut business costs, a lot of companies no longer run their operations centrally. Companies are now outsourcing their operations or working with virtual teams. A company in London for instance, could have some of its functions running out of Rio, Brazil. If the teams in both countries are not very conversant with each other’s language and culture, communication breakdown will automatically follow. Translation services offer a solution to this problem. Through a service for Portuguese translation in Liverpool for instance, you can get material relevant to your work translated so that both your teams can access the material in a language they understand best. Having work material translated will also help your teams to stay on task as there’s a tendency to waste time and deviate from discussions when there isn’t sufficient understanding of what’s being discussed.

The third reason that should motivate you to eliminate language barriers in your company is customer retention. You could enhance customer retention by producing quality products. But without an understanding into customers’ needs, you will soon start to lose them. It’s a lot harder to gain customers once you lose them and the process takes a lot of money, time and effort. Taking the same example from Brazil, you cannot use marketing material written in English to market to the Portuguese-speaking customers of Brazil. But you can get them translated through a company for Portuguese translation in Liverpool, thus effectively pass your marketing message across. If you improve communication, your business will have greater productivity, better collaboration and happier customers.

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