International managers confront many communication challenges in foreign markets. As a U.S. business manager, you are fortunate that English is the official language of business throughout the world. This dominance of English demonstrates and supports our economic strength throughout the world. However, it does not guarantee that English is universally understood by all people and all cultures. It also doesn’t guarantee that those who understand English comprehend it as you intend. A person who studied English as a second language, for example, may not understand your financial presentation, marketing collateral, instruction guides or legal contracts. Further, since spoken language skills are more easily acquired than writing skills, a person might more easily connect with you verbally than write a coherent message.
Cultural differences can also influence how language is communicated and interpreted. Sitting at our desks 10,000 miles from our target markets, we often fail to recognize all the obstacles to communication that exist. Each market is different, based on characteristics such as geography, culture and language, all of which influence interpretations, perceptions, emotions and reactions. When we write a message or develop a flier, we should also consider the level of formality and courtesy, customary openings, and preferred levels of directness to incorporate. When uncertain about any one of these, consult a professional translation services company for assistance. Even if you don’t engage in international marketing, chances are your company and your local employees and customers from diverse cultural backgrounds who interpret the world differently can benefit from your attention to cultural and language nuances.
International Communications Strategy
To meet the needs of all people, develop a communications strategy that works for all people, even when they are driven by different goals, believe in different values, and come from different backgrounds. Doing this often requires partnering with a language translation service that can help you understand individual markets and the cultural and linguistic frameworks they operate in. When you do, you can unravel market drivers and identify individual needs and beliefs, allowing you to overcome communication challenges in foreign markets and create a message that matters and gets results.