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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

International Management Report: foreign language

It is crucial that for international managers nowadays to learn about foreign languages in order to communicate with their employees and smoothen the day to day jobs. Why is it important for international managers to learn about foreign language? For the long term view, it is cost saving where managers do not need to keep hiring for translators to help them to translate the languages. And it will get in handy if there are no translators around and managers do not need to depend on translator to always help them and this may even slow down the business process day by day. With the understanding foreign languages, international managers are able to benefit from better communication with people from other culture; improving international relationship; better facility with own language and etc.

To learn a culture of a country, one must learn from the language of the country. With this then will the person understand the culture of the places and have a better view of the culture. Knowing a culture and not knowing the language of the countries is like just studying a history book where it only teaches the culture but does not explain to the readers what are the foreign trying to speak when using their own foreign language and by knowing a culture of a countries it also at the same times knowing the language.

According to Hayden, foreign language is viewed by corporate as a tool requiring a relationship to functional business knowledge. Apart from that, with the knowledge of foreign languages one can have jobs opportunity in the world. It is mentioned that a multilingual who know more than one kind of language, can easily communicate and translate to perspective views and they will have the privilege in getting more jobs or even better jobs offer. Take for example in Malaysia, it is very often noticeable that the job recruitments ads always require applicants to know more than one language. This is because applicants in the future are required to communicate with all kind of clients with different cultures and foreign languages. Some countries such as USA, Brunei and Japan now offer classes for students to learn foreign languages of other countries. This is to help them out in the future and when they come across with foreigners so they could communicate easily with foreigners. Research show that, in England workers knowing foreign languages can help them in increasing their salary and 9 out of 10 Britain companies agree that their companies business will benefit from better language skills.

According to Lambert American business is constantly urged to hire managers which know some foreign language. Try to imagine that an international manager went to another country where the manager only studied about the culture of the country and he or she thought it’s enough for the knowledge and neglected to learn about the foreign language of the country. And when communicating with the employees, the manager may be using English to communicate with the employees but if the employees used their foreign language to talk back, the manager totally did not understand about there are saying. This give chances to the employees to bad mouth the manager or discussed about something without letting the manager to know about and the manager may thought it is just a normal conversation of their life. This showed how important that an international manager need to know about foreign language not just only to acquire the power of communication but also to keep acknowledge of what the employees trying to talk in their conversation.

Another issue for not taking foreign language into account when going oversea to do business or sending manager to other countries to manage the company is not that not all countries’ citizen knows English nor have an international language to communicate with people from different places. Country like Thailand which have low level of education and the people of Thailand only understand their language which the ‘tai language’. In Thailand, people only know one type of language and that is their national language ‘tai’. So if going to Thailand, one must understand their language in order to communicate with them or try one’s luck in finding a person in Thailand who speak English and ask the person to help be the translator.

Hence foreign language is must have tool in every international managers nowadays, because it is a weapon for the international managers to use and defend themselves while they are working in other countries where employees does not know English nor have an international language to communicate together. Without the knowledge of foreign language, international managers will be like working with ears covered and not knowing what people around them are talking and this may even bring to a point where international managers will have less contact or less socialize with people of the different countries.