English has long been the world’s major business language, but it is slowly being outranked by other languages.
With growing international trade and business interactions, more commerce is being conducted in different parts of the world than before. This has opened up the need for companies to take on employees who can work easily in different countries and regions with different local languages.
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As organisations increasingly become global, the best languages to learn for business are Mandarin, Spanish, English, German, Hindi, Japanese, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Dutch, Italian and Russian.
After the United States, China has the second largest economy in the world, and is a major player across every industry you can think of, including financial and corporate as well as commercial and manufacturing. The country’s number of foreign-invested enterprises has also grown significantly over recent years, making it an important commercial trading hub for the world.
As a result, it’s crucial that businesses take Mandarin Chinese into account when trying to penetrate China, with the likelihood of this happening becoming greater and greater.
According to recent studies, Spanish is now the second most used language on the internet and is being regarded as the most important of all languages for business aside from English.
Over 660 million people around the world speak Spanish, so learning the language is bound to make communication between consumers and business partners much easier when reaching out to specific areas of the world.
Even though it is not the official language for international companies, there are still some very profitable markets that can be accessed by knowing Spanish.
Although English is the native language of just a few countries, it is known as the global lingua franca and used as the official language of international organisations such as the United Nations and European Union.
English is spoken by millions of people in many different countries, and it has become one of the primary languages for international business.
With the degree of connectivity knowing English offers, it only makes sense that every business should invest in professional English training.
Around 130 million people speak German (which may seem small in comparison to the amount that speak English, Spanish and Mandarin), however, Germany has a large level of importance on a global, political and business stage, which is why it should always be considered.
With Germany being such a prominent economic power – boasting record exports and big companies like BMW and Mercedes-Benz – knowing German is vitally important if you want to do business with German-specific brands or with the country itself.
German is especially useful in the business world thanks to its very direct approach and complex sentence structure.
India has the second largest population in the world (after China), at 1.39billion. Due to being incredibly multi-lingual, Hindi is only spoken by around 600 million, however this still makes it wrestle with Spanish for third or fourth place when it comes to the most spoken languages in the world.
Asia has seen an explosion of technological advancement over the past century, and Japan’s part in that growth cannot be ignored. The country has emerged as a world leader in technology and electronics, both for its companies such as Sony, Honda and Panasonic but also because of the products it exports all around the world including cars like Toyota and computers like Apple Macs. As a result, learning Japanese becomes increasingly important if you want to do business in or with this country.
France is home to one of the major global financial hubs, Euro Disney, one of the most visited tourist attractions in Europe and some of the most well-known fashion brands in the world. It is also home to the sixth largest economy in the world, making it an important country for business .
With France being one of the first countries people think of when they think of doing business with Europe, knowing French becomes a major advantage thanks to its widespread use across different sectors and industries.
Portuguese is spoken in a lot more countries than just Portugal. Globally, it’s spoken by over 234 million people, including everywhere from Europe and South America to Africa and Asia.
If you’re in countries such as Brazil or even Mozambique, knowing Portuguese will always give you a distinct advantage.
With more than 300 million native speakers, Arabic is considered one of the most widely used languages on Earth, especially because so much commerce goes through Arabic-speaking countries.
With countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Arabic is a great asset to have when it comes to doing business with different companies in the region.
The Netherlands has a population of 17 million people, which makes it home to around 28% of the world’s Dutch-speaking folks. In the Netherlands, as well as in Belgium and Suriname, Dutch is recognised as a official language.
Italy’s government is the fourth largest in the world, and it boasts an economy that’s among the 10 largest in Europe.
It’s thought that 85 million people speak Italian around the world.
Russia remains one of the biggest economies on Earth – due to its massive oil output and exports. With so much business likely to go through this region, knowing Russian becomes increasingly useful for those looking to do business there. Even though English is widely spoken throughout some industries like technology or energy, it would be wise not to overlook the potential benefits of learning Russian for doing business with locals.
Learning languages in the business world is important because it allows you to get ahead of the competition. Knowing a country’s native language gives an edge over other competitors and provides potential clients with a better experience overall.
Think about what language you should learn for business in the future to get ahead of other people in your field.
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English is the Best language to learn for business. English is the most common language globally as people in 94 countries speak English. Not only it holds the number one position, but also it is the most commonly used internet language.
Financial Accounting is often called the language of business; it is the language that managers use to communicate the firm’s financial and economic information to external parties such as shareholders and creditors.
Looked at over just the last decade, Urdu also emerges as the fastest growing language in the world. Its total speaker numbers increased by 39% between 2011 and 2021.