Multilingual Business

Some thoughts on why both language and culture are important.

Reflections and Ponderings

Everyone who knows me I’m sure is aware of my love of language learning – my irritating joy at seeing a Chinese character I recognise, my dogged determination to decipher German board game rules, my truly dreadful French claim-to-fame of basically being able to order a cheese and ham sandwich…

But I don’t just love it because it’s interesting, I love it because it’s also useful. Learning another language means connecting with a culture directly. I have in the last two years acquired many native Arabic-speaking friends, and while they are wonderfully open about their home cultures, we inevitably hit a barrier explaining certain specific cultural concepts – things that just can’t be translated, or that don’t ‘ring true’ when expressed in another language.

I also have the experience of being in a PGR office where English is the Lingua Franca*, with colleagues from Libya, Indonesia, China, Kurdistan and the…

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