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Benefits of knowing a foreign language

 

posted by Focused on August 12, 2009 @ 7:54 am in BUSINESS

 

            Learning a foreign language can add another dimension to one's life. It opens one to a new world and a new culture. Frequently associated with developing one's general knowledge, knowing a foreign language has a lot of practical value in the business world. Although one can find people who speak English all over the world, relying on English for communication could short-change business people in their quest for growth.

 

           Knowing a foreign language does more than break the obvious communication barrier. People respond in a more connected way when you speak their language. There is a higher chance of creating a bond with a person when you speak to that person in his or her main language. As we know, relationships are crucial in business. A good relationship with a trading partner is likely to lead to more favourable deals being sealed. The ability to speak a foreign language automatically puts one in a more independent position in terms of international business expansion.

 

      Not knowing how to speak a foreign language makes one dependent. A businessperson traveling abroad for business will need an interpreter. Not only is an interpreter an extra expense but having an interpreter now adds a middleperson to the equation. This can slow things down as you will not necessarily know what gets lost in translation. The longer negotiations last, the more you will have to pay your middleperson.

 

    Knowing a foreign language will allow you to reach new markets faster. In many countries where English is not the official language, English speakers are often found in the main cities. Depending on your business agenda, this can be a very limiting factor. Knowing the local language would enable you to have a deeper market penetration as you would be able to venture into small towns and villages to interact with the local community. In shopping, some of the best deals can be found in lesser-known stores. The same applies to business. Some of the best deals can be made in lesser-known areas.

 

     As far as Jamaica is concerned, learning Spanish is very important for one's business options as the island is relatively close to Costa Rica and Panama. These are emerging economies with endless business opportunities. Both are Spanish-speaking countries. Cuba is likely to shift to a capitalist economy at some point so one can add it to the mix as well. These are markets that one cannot afford to ignore.

 

             One should also remember that the United States has a rapidly-growing Hispanic community. Miami, the closest major US city to Jamaican shores, has a large and dynamic Hispanic business community. This is another business opportunity.

 

        In terms of tourism, the ability to speak foreign languages would benefit Jamaica's hospitality workers as it could it help develop a competitive advantage. Visitors would create stronger bonds with the island, giving them a bigger incentive to return. A multilingual staff immediately adds more prestige to any hotel.

 

      Although we live in a globalized world where English is widespread, one should still take steps towards learning a foreign language. There are so many doors to be opened, one should not neglect accessible opportunities. There are many affordable language programs that one can buy. Even watching television programs in a foreign language daily helps.

 

 

 

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Tags : Jamaica, business, foreign language, Jamaican business, benefits of languages
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