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Can Businesses rely on English as a Global Language? 

20 May 2022 · William Milsom

English is the most spoken language worldwide, and is often considered the universal language for business, but can international businesses rely solely on the English language to communicate globally? 

The rise of the internet and the increase in expanding trade agreements has made many businesses seek international expansion, but in a world with more than 7,100 languages, choosing the must-have target languages is often tricky!

Faced with this decision, many business leaders toy with the idea of saving some money and relying on English as a Global Language. Today we explore whether English can truly be used as a global language for business, by reviewing its strengths, limitations, and capacity to be the main source of communication for international organisations. 

Website Language Optimisation

Your website is your number one marketing tool to inform, engage and convert interested clients, but without translation you fail to attract international traffic. 

While English remains the world’s most popular international business language, it is only spoken by 1.35 billion people, leaving 80% of the world’s population out of reach from your business.

It is no coincidence that the most visited website in the world, Google, hosts up to 149 languages. Google clearly understands that each language you provide represents a new audience you can support.

Speaking of search engines, businesses that fail to translate SEO keywords are missing a big trick in improving their International Google Rankings. If your audiences language and culture varies, so does their search behaviour and you must ensure your website is fuelled with the correct translated keywords to attract international traffic. 

Communicate with Culture

 Most cultures have unique traditions, sensitivities, and nuances, and it is important to recognise them in your organisation’s communications.  Relying on English prevents your organisation from achieving a positive cultural reception worldwide but more importantly ignores the incredible diversity our world offers.

Communicating in an audience’s native language ensures a higher level of engagement and prevents multicultural audiences from misunderstanding your organisation’s key messaging. 

Don’t forget your Workforce 

It is all too easy to get caught up in how to communicate more effectively with consumers but considering your own employment structures internal communication is vital for global success. 

Multilingual workforces often struggle to overcome language and cultural barriers resulting in a breakdown of communication, missed deadlines or even an unsafe working environment. 

Building Relationships

At PAB Languages our award-winning translation, interpreting and localisation services bring people of different cultures and countries together. Using our team of native speaking experts, we support an organisation’s ability to communicate in  200+ languages. While businesses can get by on the functionality of using English as a lingua franca, there is no doubt that engaging audiences or workforces using their native language will always achieve a more positive response and inclusive cultural reception. 

For over a decade, we’ve been recognised by private and public sector organisations for our expert translation and interpreting services.

Get in touch to see how we can help you –