Intelligent managers are always looking for ways to advance their businesses, and intercultural communication is key for the success of ambitious leaders. As new international markets are emerging, staying in touch with their national languages can make a huge impact when seeking future business relations.
Whether youre an MBA student looking to advance your career, or a seasoned CEO with years of experience, speaking a popular business language can present a crucial advantage on the global market.
Here are the top 6 international business languages that are predicted to have a great impact on the future business market:
1. Chinese (Mandarin) Business language of the future
Mandarin, the official language of China and Taiwan, is by far the most widely spoken language of the world, surpassing English in terms of numbers of speakers, in a 2:1 ratio. It is not surprising if we think that the majority of the Chinese population (the largest in the world) speaks Mandarin.
When talking about China in the global economic context, it is no news that in the last years this country has well proven its sustainability. According to The National Bureau of Statistics of China, this countrys economy is today 7 times larger than it was 15 years ago. A country with a growing economy in times of recession is definitely not going to be ignored. Chinese businesses are spreading all over the globe, making investments, big or small, and usually doing a great job managing their assets. Chinese investors seem to have a sixth sense about which business ideas work for one country but are not sustainable in another, always adapting to foreign conditions, and replacing local products.
An in-depth knowledge of Chinese language bridges the cultural gap between East and West, supporting successful international partnerships.
2. German Language of the successful European employee
Among European countries, Germany seems to be the one with the most vigorous economy and having the most promising future. Germany remains the largest single export market for British goods apart from the U.S., and is Europe's largest economy, with a GDP of more than 2.4 trillion, defying the Eurozone downturn. Considering these aspects, it is no wonder that, especially in Europe, employers are interested in hiring people who have good German language proficiency. While speaking English in a company is a basic requirement, the European job market still cant get as many German speakers as it needs.
You'll find great German language schools in Germany in cities like:
Results of a Eurobarometer survey that taken in 2012 showed that the most widely spoken mother tongue among the EU population is the German language.
3. Arabic Doorway to the Middle East
The number of Muslim people over the globe adds up to almost a billion. Oil businesses, constructions and real estate helped Arab executives become the richest people in the world. Investments from the Arab world have played an important role on the European markets, especially influencing the European debt crisis in 2010.
Although the Arab world is in constant change, facing social and political instabilities, it remains an important player in many business spheres, especially in the oil trade.
Many executives from the Arab countries only speak Arabic, so it would be a great advantage to conduct business on equal terms.
4. Spanish Answering the fastest growing American market-segment
In Europe, Spanish is the second most popular language after English and the fourth most popular language in the world. If we talk about native speakers around the globe, Spanish precedes English.
Spain is today the third country in the world having most Spanish speakers (after Mexico and the U.S.). Only in the United States, there are already 36 million Spanish speakers. There have been even proposals for the Spanish language to become the second official language of the U.S.
You'll find great Spanish language schools in Spain in cities like:
The Hispanic population is projected to double by 2050, reaching 30% of the population in America. Spanish is no longer the language of Latin neighbourhoods in the U.S., as the buying power of the Latin population in the Americas in steadily increasing. To answer this fast-growing market segment, businesses have started to adapt their services, especially in the field of mass-media, with newspapers, radio, TV and websites offered exclusively in Spanish. Managers have also started learning Spanish in order to better improve communication with their Spanish-speaking employees.
5. Portuguese An entire continent of opportunities
The rising strength of Brazils economy and its role as host to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics have led to a major interest in the Portuguese language, as businesses are seizing the opportunity to grab this new market.
Portuguese ranks fifth as the most spoken language in the world and the second language spoken in Latin America. It is also an important language in Africa. Portuguese immigrant communities are found in many of the great cities of the world (Montreal, Toronto, New York, Miami, Paris, and many more). According to UNESCO, Portuguese is the language with the greatest potential to become the international language of Africa and South America.
With such a huge Portuguese-speaking population, unexploited natural resources, and great development potential, betting on Portuguese will not leave you unrewarded.
6. Russian The language of diplomacy and trade
Russian is one of the six official languages of the United Nations and historical sources confirm its origin since the tenth century as the most influential Slavonic language in history. The importance of the Russian language is due not only to the large numbers of speakers (around 250 million speakers worldwide), but also of the unquestionable political and economic power of Russia.
Having an important market for U.S. goods, and being the top oil producer in the world, Russia ranks among the top ten international business leaders. Russian is still widely spoken in post-Soviet states with emerging economies, offering lots of fresh business potential. Russia is also well-known for its great engineering minds and brilliant IT community.
Russia remains a highly involved international player, with vast energy and natural resources, making Russian an important language for international relations, diplomacy, and trade.
No matter which language you choose, speaking at least one foreign language in addition to English is a great asset for successful international business ventures. Find the one that's right for you!