Language Barriers Blamed for Miscues
Nearly half the executives at global companies believe language barriers have spoiled cross-border deals and caused financial losses for companies, says a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, a business research unit of Economist Group, the Economist magazine’s parent.
The report, sponsored by language-training company EF Education First, was based on a poll of 572 senior executives world-wide.
Executives at companies based in Brazil and China said they were most affected by misunderstandings, with 74% and 61%, respectively, reporting financial losses as a result of failed international deals.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents said that misfires in their internal cross-border communications resulted in lost productivity. Among Brazilian managers, the figure jumped to 77%.
To improve communications, many global companies are trying to adopt English as an official language. A multilingual approach ‘is inefficient and can prevent important interactions from taking place and get in the way of achieving key goals,’ Harvard Business School professor Tsedal Neeley wrote in this month’s Harvard Business Review
经济学人信息部(Economist Intelligence Unit)的一篇报告说，近半数跨国公司的高管相信，语言障碍曾让跨境交易流产，给公司带来经济损失。经济学人信息部是《经济学人》(Economist)杂志母公司经济学人集团(Economist Group)旗下的商业研究机构。
该报告的委托方是语言培训公司英孚教育(EF Education First)，以对全世界572名高管的调查为基础撰写而成。
为改善交流，很多跨国公司都在努力采用英语作为工作语言。哈佛大学商学院(Harvard Business School)教授尼利(Tsedal Neeley)在本期《哈佛商业评论》(Harvard Business Review)上撰文说，采用多种语言会降低效率，可能使重要的互动无法进行，并阻碍关键目标的实现。