Not long ago, I was watching a soccer game featuring Real Madrid, when the announcer made a fascinating reference to the fact that their coach, Jose Mourinho speaks five languages. “My players are men. Men with different personalities, different cultures. To deal with this is very important in building a team,” Mourinho said, continuing with, “By speaking five languages I can have a special relation with them. A player feels more comfortable explaining his emotions in a language where he has no doubts.” It makes me believe that, to a point, the ability to acquire a new language has to do with the ability to acquire success. After all, Mourinho did not break into the scene as a coach, but as a translator.
If you are in business on global scale, think of the opportunities that exist in being able to meet with people who you would like to do business with, and have the ability to communicate with them in their language. You eliminate the need for a translator and the possibility for something to be lost in translation.
In Europe, 56 percent of adults speak a foreign language, and 28 percent of can speak at least two foreign languages. In the US, less than 20 percent of the population speaks a foreign language. The world is becoming more global and we are now able to connect with people all over the world. Many people in America get annoyed when someone can not speak English; the same can be said for Americans who travel abroad and expect everyone to know English. It’s not realistic.
Working in the marketing industry, I see it every day: Companies refusing to advertise toward the Hispanic market because they feel that they are already reaching that group by solely advertising in the general marketplace. The companies that care to learn about the Spanish language, the Hispanic culture and it’s people are bound to benefit from this loyal customer base.
This post is also available in: Spanish