Strategies to Overcome Language Barriers for Immigrants – Professionally and Otherwise

“The limits of our language means the limits of our world.”

-Wittgenstein, 1922
Increased globalization is forcing a growing number of organizations to interact across linguistic boundaries. Since, language affects almost all aspects of everyday life, it is important to focus more on communication barriers. In a multi-cultural organization, simply expecting all employees to communicate in one common language decreases the potential of international talent and leaves monolingual employees ill equipped.

Over the last few decades, a lot of countries worldwide experienced increase in the population of immigrants, which makes language barrier a common challenge in international business settings. Use of strategies below will help you overcome the language barrier and ensure that you are not putting-up your own roadblocks while communicating.

How to Avoid Language Barrier
Avoid Idioms
Business language is usually contextual, and hence, culture specific. As a general rule, if the phrase you are using needs knowledge of other information – be it a metaphor or a game such as baseball- remember that this may make your communication a little more difficult.

Be Careful of Jargon
If you are using abbreviations or other organizational words that may have different meanings, it is important to provide a description, so that others may learn to use the same words that you do. You may also avoid use of such words completely.

Be Patient
Cross-cultural communication may require patience. It may improve with time but you cannot expect your communication to occur with the same speed as when you are communicating with someone in your own country.

Regardless of whether you are communicating with someone professionally or otherwise, it is important to demonstrate sensitivity.

Have you ever experienced language barrier, or have tips for overcoming such barriers? Share your views and experiences with us in the comment section.

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