Multilingualism: Advantages of Seeing the World from Different Cross Cultural and Linguistic Angles

Matthew MacLachlan

10 Apr 2010

The Italian film director Federico Fellini once said “a different language is a different vision of life”. A person’s world can stretch out in front of them for miles and miles or it can be a box around them depending on who they can communicate with.

Learning another language can open up new worlds, broaden your horizons and bring you into contact with many new cultures. The language you speak can mould your world view and by association your experience of life. Opening up to new cultures can enrich your life and give you new opportunities. Taking part in a cross cultural training program or in a language training course can help you broaden both your mind and your world view, increasing your cross cultural competence and your ability to communicate across cultures.

Many people think that learning a new language will be boring or too time consuming, but they are often surprised by the progress made even after the first few language training courses. Even a basic knowledge of a language allows you to communicate and interact with someone from another country. Being able to say something as simple as ‘¡Hola, buenos días!’ (Hello, good morning! in Spanish language) will improve the positive impression you make on your Spanish speaking counterparts while it will also help you to build the trust that is so vital when building international business relationships. Seeing that this secret code registers and gets a response from the native speaker can be very satisfying indeed. After a few more language training sessions this could follow onto a conversation – and from there who knows?

Businesses can greatly benefit from building the cultural and linguistic skills of their employees. Speaking another language can open new markets up to you that were previously closed. Because English predominates as the ‘global language’ of trade and commerce, people often forget that the ability to conduct business with a non-English speaker in their own language, and with knowledge of their cultural values and norms, can build lasting bridges and forge links with that individual or company for many years to come. By taking part in Communicaid’s cross cultural training programs or in our language training courses, you or your staff can learn the language and culture skills needed to truly break any communication barriers and achieve global success.