With over 7,117 languages spoken all over the world today, it is becoming challenging to bridge the communication gap between employees in the workplace.
Although multicultural society opens doors for new encounters, new learnings, new everything, overcoming language/ communication barriers has become essential.
Expanding the operation overseas also presents a challenge when it comes to communication. If we can’t communicate with our international customers, suppliers or colleagues, we can’t expect to grow.
In this article, we are going to share 6 effective ways to overcome language barriers and collaborate effectively.
Avoid Confusion By Using Simple Language
Using plain, simple language within the organization can eliminate several issues caused by language barriers. It can also help new employees settle in the environment faster and motivate them to work harder.
Let me break this down for you.
Imagine bonding with a friend whose primary language is foreign to you. It sounds difficult, right?
Similarly, when employees from different cultures, backgrounds interact, it creates confusion in the workplace and puts a halt to the possibilities of creating an innovative, creative work environment.
Invest In Language Training
One of the best ways to teach non-native employees some basic language requirements for the business is to invest in language training.
While this will not eliminate all the problems related to a multi-lingual work environment, it can reduce them significantly and help employees perform better at their jobs.
Free language training has many other advantages too. It also helps employees understand the target market and deal with overseas clients better.
Hire A Translation Service
While some employees may be competent in the second language they are working in, not everyone can pick up a new language easily.
So, to make things easier for your employees, consider translating important documents into employees’ native languages. This will not only help them concentrate better on tasks at hand but also make them feel their employer cares for them.
If you have teams all over the world, find a document translation service that can deliver written translation between multiple world languages.
Employ The Services Of An Interpreter
Whether you are hosting a team meeting or an international web seminar, you must hire an interpreter who can give the audience a gist of the session in their local language.
This will help ensure everyone understands everything and nothing is missed due to a language barrier.
Words may fail us during difficult times, but visuals will always convey the meaning.
Visual communication is a powerful tool that you can use to explain complicated concepts and ideas to your team.
Visual learning can also help overcome language barriers.
So, instead of using text, draw diagrams, graphs; use pictures to convey a message, assign tasks and discuss requirements. Additionally, encourage your employees to be visual in their presentations and emails.
Respect Others To Seek Respect
We all can imagine the frustration and conflicts ineffective communication can lead to. But we also know that in a multilingual work environment, such feuds are inevitable. And there is only one way to keep such conflicts at bay.
That is to understand other people’s situations and always respect them.
When communicating with your team, make sure you listen to everyone patiently and never speak loudly. Whenever you find some team members mocking the others, ensure you let them know that such behavior is not acceptable.
Your inability to attend to such issues might lead to fractured relationships in the workplace and make it difficult for people to open up.
Overcoming language barriers in the workplace is definitely challenging and frustrating, but in the end, all the hard work will be worth it.
That said, don’t let these barriers hinder productivity and steal the opportunity multi-lingual work environments offer.