languages for business

Speak the language of business and see how far it can take you

languages for business

There’s no mistaking that getting your business over the language hurdle will help your message be heard overseas. So when you decide to learn a new language in business, which one of 6,800 spoken languages do you choose? As always, we’ve got some great insights and stats to help you make that decision…

Which of the 6,800 languages are right for your business?

This depends on a lot of factors, such as the markets you intend to target, the industry in which you operate and the extent to which you’re prepared to be challenged (some languages are much harder to learn than others!). It’s also worth considering which languages are the most widely used among the global business community.

Mandarin, for example, is one of the fastest growing languages. Currently over a billion people speak Mandarin (in China and other countries) and it is becoming extremely popular as a second language, especially amongst business people.

Russian is another language experiencing a surge in popularity; and considering that Russia is the UK’s fastest growing export market, this could be a good choice for UK business people.

The 9 languages businesses find most useful

A survey of UK firms carried out by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in 2012 discovered that the languages rated by managers as most useful to their business were:

  1. German (50% of respondents)
  2. French (49%)
  3. Spanish (37%)
  4. Mandarin (25%)
  5. Polish (19%) and Arabic (19%)
  6. Cantonese (12%)
  7. Russian (11%) and Japanese (11%)
  8. Portuguese (6%)
  9. South Korean (3%)

Pick me! Pick me! Which languages are growing fastest and are the most popular?

With the growth of the global online marketplace it is also worth noting which languages are most commonly used online. Recent research from the Common Sense Advisory found that Chinese (513 million online users) had overtaken English (489 million), with Spanish coming in third (over 200 million). Other languages with a strong online presence include Japanese, German and Portuguese, while Arabic is the fastest growing internet language, with 150 million online speakers predicted by the end of 2015.

Whichever language you choose to learn, the addition of foreign language skills to your organisation is sure to help put your business firmly on the world map.

Comtec supports businesses with expansion overseas by providing a full range of language translation and interpreting services. Covering a wide range of requirements, from translation of websites and marketing material for print, to translation of technical manuals and training content, Comtec provides a high quality service covering over 150 languages.
If you have any questions regarding translation or localisation, or would like support in developing an effective communications plan to break into new markets, please contact a member of our team on + 44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email

To learn more about how to overcome the language barrier in business, why not read our free guides? Click here to find out more and download our guides.

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