A portion of English speaking people, particularly in the USA, are feeling that French is becoming a redundant language in the business world. People are arguing that learning French is antiquated whilst others are still claiming it’s in the top five languages to learn for business.
It’s the language of love and the choice for high culture – but does it still have it’s home in the world of business?
French Is Spoken Across The Globe
French is the native language of 29 different countries and is natively spoken by 74 million Francophones. However, it is being argued that it should no longer be part of the American school curriculum and that across Europe most people speak English. If one wants to learn a new language for business purposes German, Mandarin or Arabic may have more use.
In Skype’s new real-time translation service they have previewed English, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish. It comes as a surprise that French was not on that list. Possible explanations have been offered, including that they were covering the most spoken languages in the USA, or they were tackling some of the more complicated languages first, rather than ruling out French as an important language.
German And Spanish Are Useful In Europe, But French Still Holds It’s Own
London Translations, a company that work predominantly in the business sector, still find French translation to be one of their biggest requests. This proves the demand for such work is high, thus speaking the language fluently can be an incredibly useful skill. In fact if those in the USA that think French is a redundant skill get their way, there is a very strong likelihood demand for French translation work will rise.
Jenny Ball of London Translations says that when doing business in Europe English is of course a very useful language to have, but if an associate does not speak English you may get stuck. French is the most useful language after English as it is the second most taught language in Europe and many people can speak it.
As French is one of the simpler languages to learn a little can go a long way – particularly when in Europe. It is also the third most spoken language on the internet, after English and German, opening up the ability to research business and opportunities online to those who can read French. Though Google Translate does a good job of translating such sites into English, one with an understanding of the language can grasp the material much better.
Business in Francophone African Countries
Aside from Europe, the birthplace of the French language, it is vastly spoken worldwide such as in Canada and many African countries. Chinese companies are starting to look into African countries as up and coming business destinations. The countries are cheap to work with and have many resources that are relatively untapped.
French speaking countries such as Algeria make up a large percentage of the possible investment opportunities. Of the 10 fastest growing countries in Africa, half of them are french speaking. As Africa becomes a bigger and bigger business destination, the demand for French translation grows too, signifying that the language is very much in demand.
Though French Canadian is a slightly different dialect, having the basics of French understood makes it easier to communicate with the French Canadian business community alongside Francophone countries in Africa and many Europeans who have an understanding of French.
In short, the French language is by no means dead, in the business world or any other, and it should not be overlooked when it comes to expanding your business languages. Though Mandarin and Arabic are becoming increasingly useful to learn, it does not negate the power of having a fluency in French.
This article was sponsored by LondonTranslations.