UK Trade & Investment

The Journal (Newcastle, England), January 7, 2005 | Go to article overview

UK Trade & Investment


Q i don't believe companies need foreign languages for export purposes these days. My experience has always been that people speak English everywhere you go.

A True, there are overseas non-English speaking markets where English can often be used, eg Scandinavia, the Netherlands and parts of Germany.

However, people often find English cannot automatically be used for selling into markets quite close to home, such as France and other Mediterranean countries (Italy; Spain; Greece and so on).

English is rarely spoken in the newly expanding markets with great potential for trade such as China, Latin America, Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union, such as Kazakhstan.

Q Why do companies need a communication strategy for exporting and where do we find out more information about strategies?

A Somewhere between 25pc and 50pc of UK exporters face language barriers and about one in five experiences cultural barriers.

The development of a communication strategy is recommended. It helps companies overcome language and culture challenges through combining localisation in different languages and cultures, use of the web, with conventional methods such as language training, translation and interpreting.

Q What about translation; how much will that cost?

A When choosing a supplier, calculate how much you have spent to develop the product or services you want to promote.

If you cannot afford a professional translation, perhaps you are not ready for that market yet. …

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