Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Tongue-tied UK businesses find foreign trade lost in translation

“The traditional British approach to communicating with foreigners — if they do not understand you, shout louder in English — is costing money and jobs.

A survey of UK companies has found that a quarter of those operating internationally or planning to do so have lost business because employees do not have sufficient foreign language skills.

This is one factor undermining the government’s export push: goods exports fell in July and the target to double the value of exports to £1tn by 2020 is well behind schedule. It may not be reached until 2034, according to the British Chambers of Commerce.”

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Languages do matter!


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