Author: James Foreman-Peck
Publisher: Cardiff Business School
Date of Publication: May 2014
Key messages on language skills
- Poor language skills in businesses are holding back the UK’s trade performance. Because of poor language skills, trade by UK companies in 2006 was lower than it might otherwise have been in Brazil, Russia, India, China as well as with France, Germany and Japan.
Language skills make firms more able to communicate in the same language as potential trade partners, which makes a firm more likely to be an exporter.
Language skills make firms more aware of the barriers created by cultural factors.
Language skill deficiencies and lack of awareness of the importance of these skills has a significant negative influence on export intensity. Firms with greater understanding of language and culture are better able to identify and exploit sales opportunities in that market and can achieve higher export sales.