Developing Successful Business Messages For Non-English Speakers

Developing successful business messages for non-English speaking audiences requires a well-thought strategy.  While you may already know your audience, you may want to consider how your audience will use the information, whether it will be needed for future reference and how certain media channels may be more applicable than others.  Questions like these and others are particularly important when communicating to non-English speaking audiences.

In the following paragraphs, we examine various types of communication tools and why they may be more suitable for use in addressing your needs and the needs of your non-English speaking audience.

Business Documents; communication; translationDocuments

Business documents can take on a wide range of uses.  Usually, they are written to convey very important details, opinions and facts.  Documents are often used to convey information that is official or legal.   Because documents can be stored, are often portable and can be indexed, they are easily referenced and reread when audience members need to review the information multiple times to acquire a good understanding.  These attributes of documents make them ideal for conveying technical, difficult and lengthy information.    Because documents can hold very detailed subject matter that may only be applicable to certain segments of your audience, different versions of documents can be developed for different types of readers.  Furthermore, depending on the subject matter, audience, costs and timing, documents maybe written in different ways.  For example, an annual report my take a very formal tone whereas a teambuilding event may take a more formal and fun tone.   The style and tone of a document should always be aligned with the audience, purpose and intended use.  When your documents need to be distributed to non-English speaking readers, always hire a document translation services company like 24 Hour Translation.


When it comes to developing successful business messages, the style of a message has wide ranging implications.  Choosing the right style can help you connect with your audience, amplify your message and persuade others.  Selecting the wrong or an incompatible style for your message or your audience can offend the audience, bore the audience and even reject you and your message entirely. Style consists of many factors, but among the most common include location, methods and roles.  The style you select is a critical factor when it comes to your approach and the effectiveness of your professional communication.   For example, an executive may develop a very open and cordial style when working with his equals and a more domineering style when working with his subordinates.  Different styles may also be exhibited during departmental meetings and company lunches.  When communicating to non-English speaking audiences, always choose a style that will be culturally sensitive.  Also determine if the audience is high-context or low-context and develop and appropriate strategy.

communication objective

Verbal presentations

Verbal presentations are frequently used for one of three objectives: to inform, persuade and explain and influence.  Depending on the purpose of your presentation, there are basic guidelines to follow for maximum effectiveness.  Verbal presentations offer you the opportunity to instill change.  In order to be effective, presentations must be authoritative, passionate, convincing and professional.

When giving a presentation to non-English speaking audiences, always include handouts that are professionally translated in their native language.  Instead of using Google Translate, hire a professional document translation services company that can professionally translate your notes, slides and other materials.  If legal materials are being presented, be certain to acquire certified legal translations that are notarized for accuracy.  The suggestions will really help in developing successful business messages for non-English speaking audiences.

Role plays

Role playing is a team event where each member takes a part playing a role in a scenario.  One scenario might include a team member training a machine operator on the safe operation of heavy equipment.  Other members could take the role of machine operators receiving the training.  The trainer might record the exercise and evaluate it for ideas to incorporate into a formal training event that he plans on holding.  Role playing is an excellent strategic planning approach for approach for developing successful business messages.

Although role play can be difficult to organize, particularly when non-English speakers are needed to take roles, they can be an effective way of delivering a message and acquiring feedback.  Role plays also offer opportunities to test new ideas and for ensuring that a message will be communicated correctly.

Multimedia presentation translated for non-english audiences using translated subtitles and voiceoversMultimedia presentations

Multimedia presentations can be shown to one person or many people.  They can be shown locally or internationally, in meeting halls, conference rooms or living rooms.  Through video streamlining, multimedia presentations can either be shown live or recorded for future use.  Multimedia presentations can also be two-way enabling audiences to interact with speakers by asking questions, tweeting remarks and texting opinions. In a business setting, a multimedia presentation is often displayed using a computer and projector, but smartphones are also becoming popular choices too.  The availability to view a multimedia presentation anywhere at anytime is particularly valuable to overseas audiences or audience who don’t speak English and require translated voiceovers or translated subtitles.


Choosing the right imagery goes a long way in developing successful business messages.  As most professional communicators know, audiences remember images better than facts, figures, opinions and ideas.  When using images, relevancy is key.  Only use images that add meaning to your presentation and don’t drown your presentation in graphics.  Try to use coordinated colors, stay away from being overly flashy and avoid distracting images.  Make sure your images add to the meaning and support points being made.  Always, refrain from using images that could be viewed as are culturally appropriate.

internet presentation; multimedia presentation; computer; joinInternet-based presentations

Internet based presentations offer the ability to stream slides, recorded videos, live events to almost anyone, anywhere.  While some technologies require viewers to have installed versions of applications like Skype Business and WebEx, others offer solutions that only require an internet browser and a stable internet connection.

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