[A collaboration post with Day Translations – all thoughts are my own.]
Communication is vital in any relationship. And the world we live in has become more multicultural thanks to global communication. When you’re able to speak bilingual, you will overcome language barriers and it opens most of us for new friends, new cultures, new foods, etc. But if you’re not, it can be difficult to deal with communication and language barriers.
As many companies are increasingly multinational, it has become more common for most people to work with colleagues from another country. I’ve worked with Poland and Russian companies, thankfully both of them can speak English so I didn’t have much trouble communicating with them.
Working with people from other countries can also present a challenge when it comes to communication. For example, if your company operates in English but is contracting with a Chinese company. While these might be frustrating, there are many strategies you can employ to overcome language barriers and keep things running as smoothly as possible.
6 tips to ensure that you overcome language barriers in your life
Use plain language
Everyone should make it a habit of using plain language. Whether you’re trying to explain technical problems to your non-technical coworkers or when you communicate with someone who knows your primary language as a secondary.
I know many people try to use complex words to make themselves sound intelligent or expert at their jobs, but they’re not doing anyone any favors. Using large words only creates miscommunication and makes people feel bad because they can’t understand what you’re saying.
Using plain or simple language can eliminate a lot of the issues caused by language barriers. Ditching idioms can also help. Creating a culture to speak and communicate without using superfluous words and always to the point is one way to overcome language barriers.
I remembered years ago when I started learning English by reading the subtitle in every movie I watched. I eventually learned and remembered new words or phrases every day because they appear and are used frequently.
That’s why repetition is the key to memory. Even those who hear something once in their native language may not always remember what you’ve said. It may be even more difficult if you’re speaking to people in another language.
People need to hear something a couple of times to understand and remember it. Of course, it can be annoying for many people. But you can expect people to remember something you said once. If it’s important, make it a regular part of your communication.
When you’re traveling abroad but you can’t speak the local language and the locals don’t understand English, what will you do if you have something to ask?
Words often fail us and using visuals can be a lot more effective when it comes to understanding something. Use photos or graphics to help people grasp what you’re trying to convey.
For example, I’m trying to ask French people about a place I want to visit but I’m not sure how to pronounce it so I will show them the photo of the place and said that I want to go there. I’m sure they would understand me easily because I show the right visual. Sometimes words can cause misunderstanding, especially when you are not proficient in a particular language.
Hire a Translator or an Interpreter
If you’re working at international offices, every project, meeting, or document is deemed important to the entire company and you need to translate them into the primary language of your other offices. Often, companies will rely on internal individuals who speak a second language or someone who took language courses in school.
While convenient, but this often leads to noticeable mistakes that only a professional translator or interpreter who is an expert in corporate fields would avoid. That’s why hiring a professional translator or find a translation service that meets your needs can help clear up mistakes and overcome language barriers. Mistranslation may cost you millions!
Always be careful when finding a professional translation service and be sure to check their qualifications. You will find several websites that claim to translate text from one language to another, but they may not aware of different dialects, and sometimes, words have different usages in different cultures.
If you’ve never hired a translation company before, it might seem intimidating, or even risky. Go check out Day Translations now! Your documents are human translated & human approved. Insured by Lloyd’s of London & trusted by the world’s leading businesses, they deliver fast, flawless, human-powered translations that globalize your business.
Always Be Respectful
Language barriers can often be frustrating. Sometimes, they can even lead to conflicts between people. While this is inevitable in a multi-lingual environment, remind yourself to be as respectful as possible. You need to be patient, understanding, and conscientious.
Leave your habit immediately to any mocking or jokes about someone’s ability to speak another language. This can cause fractured relationships and can also make the person embarrassed to continue to improve their skills. Always create an environment that is as supportive as possible.
When someone is working through a language hurdle, it has nothing to do with their actual intelligence or ability to understand the concept behind what you’re trying to say. When you are struggling to communicate with others, remember to talk slower instead of louder.
Learn Other Culture
I found that when you’re learning a new language you will eventually learn its culture. Getting to know people from other countries and cultures is a wonderful way to overcome language barriers and learn more about the world.
Encourage yourself to learn phrases and idioms in the other language as well as explore differences in food and traditions. You may also learn how cultures handle specific situations or holidays. I always wonder how western countries celebrate Thanksgiving or Halloween. And it’s fun to learn about other cultures!
Overcoming a language barrier is a process of trial and error. Along the way, there will be frustrations and laughter, but in the end, it will be an incredibly rewarding experience. You might find you really like learning about other languages and cultures. Don’t let language barriers stand in the way of embracing everything you want to try in this world!
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