If you want to be successful in business, you need to acquire numerous skills. Aside from marketing, management, accounting, or communication skills that are the basis of business success, fluency in foreign languages is a skill that will give you a competitive advantage. As it can be expected, the Top 5 languages to learn for business are these languages that are used most internationally – English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and Russian. These languages are in the Top 10 foreign languages to learn for any purpose but unlike them the other languages in the Top 10 are less useful for business, unless you are dealing from partners from the respective country, of course.
English – The Language of International Business
If you are a native English speaker, you are lucky because millions of people all over the world speak your language. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be learning a foreign language. Even if your partners speak English, it is still to your advantage, if you speak their language, or another language both of you use.
If you are not a native speaker of English, then it’s a must to learn it. Nowadays no successful business person can make it without knowledge of English. If you don’t know English, you will be missing so many opportunities!
Spanish – The Top Choice for Business with the Americas
Spanish is another popular language and it’s especially useful, if you are doing business with Spain or the huge Latin America. The good news is that in comparison to the other business languages on the list, Spanish is relatively easy to use. However, if you don’t avoid some common mistakes when learning a foreign language, don’t count you will learn Spanish, no matter that it’s much easier than the other languages.
Chinese – Good to Know in Any Case
China is a huge economic power and it’s rightfully considered the biggest manufacturer in the world. China is the leader in the production of all sorts of goods – from electronics, to clothes, to anything else you can think of. Chinese will be useful not only if you are doing business with China but if you have Chinese partners, then it’s a really good idea to learn (or at least try to) their language.
However, this is easier to say than do. Chinese, even simplified Chinese, is among the most difficult languages to learn and for a Westener this language might look impossible to master. Nevertheless, even if you don’t manage to get fluent in Chinese, it makes sense to try and learn as much as you can.
Arabic – Don’t Neglect This Huge Market
Arabic is spoken in many countries in Africa and the Middle East. This language might not be as popular as English but if you want to do business with Arabic countries, it’s not a bad idea to learn their language. Similarly to Chinese, Arabic isn’t easy to learn, especially for a Westener but this is not a reason to give up before you try.
Russian – the Language of an Economic Power
The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the collapse of the Russian economy as well but nevertheless, Russia is still an economic power and there are many industries where it’s the leader. Therefore, it’s not a waste of time to learn Russian.
Russian is also difficult to learn. For a Westener it might be a bit easier to start learning Russian because at least half of the alphabet is familiar but Russian grammar is very difficult, so if you plan to master Russian, you will need lots of time and effort.
I know it can be hard to find the time to learn a new language but the benefits this has for business are too lucrative to ignore. One way to make it easier to learn a new language is to study it online. The advantages of online education are numerous and they apply to foreign languages as well, so explore this alternative before you decide that learning a new language is a mission impossible for you!