Do Small Businesses Need to be Multilingual?
by David Sims
July 11, 2013
Language services are a $20 billion industry, according to Hans Fenstermacher, CEO of The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA). These services, which he says are offered largely to small and mid-sized companies, support approximately $1.5 trillion in exports. This causes some to speculate that improving foreign language skills among American businesses could boost exports and narrow the trade gap.
The benefits of knowing more than one language are well-attested. Antonella Sorace, an Italian-born University of Edinburgh professor of developmental linguistics, recently noted in the Financial Times that speaking another language is good for business and the brain. “Hire more multilingual employees, because these employees can communicate better, have better intercultural sensitivity, are better at cooperating, negotiating, compromising. But they can also think more efficiently,” he said.
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