Communication is Key in Business


Imagine my surprise when I opened my inbox to find a long message from a company in India offering eBook formatting. The letter, written in almost-English, detailed the virtues of outsourcing. My guess would be that their English language skills are so poor that they didn’t realize we do eBook formatting among our other virtual assistant services.

Clear communication is vital in business. You want to be able to communicate effectively with the people you are in business with.

The dirt cheap prices of a non-native speaker will really mount in the form of delays and inaccurate results. In this instance cheap means low quality instead of inexpensive.

A business needs to run efficiently. Processes must be put in place so that everything runs smoothly. Babysitting projects or people will cut into valuable time that could be spent on more productive activities. You want to be able to convey your requirements to the people handling your business. In turn you always want be able to fully comprehend what they are saying to you. This does not happen with someone who only has a basic knowledge of your language. This applies no matter what language you do business in.

Teachers of English who do not speak English as a native language leave much to be desired.

This reminds me of my father-in-law whose native tongue is German. As a boy growing up in Vienna he was told by his English teacher that he would never master English. During World War II he fled to Great Britain. He took it upon himself to improve his English language skills and spent his lunch hours studying the Oxford dictionary. This effort, among others, resulted in his years as a translator for the RAF. He went on to be a much sought after orator and a compelling minister of the United Church of Canada. Years later Walter ran into his old English teacher from Vienna. Apparently the teacher’s English was atrocious. (There’s a lot more to Walter’s story. He will be 90 years old this year and is putting the finishing touches on his memoirs.)

Translation applications aren’t always accurate. Try looking up a page that is not in English and use a translation function. The results can be pretty funny.

Keep language issues in mind when you go to outsource any of your business needs. Hire someone who speaks your language. The potentially higher per hour cost will be easily offset by a reduction in hours required to complete the task.

Darla Mittler is the President and CEO of Darla Mittler Virtual Services. For over 20 years she has been helping people organize and streamline their businesses

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