Working in Shanghai made me realised language is a huge barrier when it comes to communication especially between two countries that doesn’t speak the same native language. Not that I don’t speak Chinese or English, the matter of fact, both languages are my native tongue. From young, my school emphasizes on bilingual teachings. However, I have seen so much great talents missing out on opportunities or promotion because of language being their biggest obstacle. And it’s truly frustrating to know that someone who is absolutely the right fit for the role, armed with rich experience and right knowledge yet missed out because he or she is unable to communicate due to language barrier.
It is the same in the blogosphere. While the main language widely used here is English, there are followers of mine who writes in French, Spanish, Malay, Italian and Hindu. This limit their scope of audience and frustrated me as it limits my reading material.
But do we shrug and just walk away from the problem? Or do we do something about it? If there’s a problem, there is always a solution. Sometimes there are more than one solution if you can look from different angles.
For example, I have given advises to folks who wish to advance further into their career to start searching for language courses. It can be expensive reputable courses offered by Wall St. English, British Council or self learning online courses. You can even opt in to hire a personal tutor or join Meet up groups that gathered weekly to practice their English with foreigners and in turn, the foreigners practice their Mandarin. Whatever you do, you need to take a step towards removing your obstacles. Whining alone will not get you anywhere.
For the solution in having readers who don’t write in English on their blogs, I will Google Translate their page and still get to enjoy the meaning of the post. Perhaps I probably can’t do that to poems (the true meaning will be lost” however I definitely can get around normal postings.
When I went to Vienna two months ago, as much as the local folks that usually speaks German, they willingly switched to English without much hesitation when they need to communicate with me. Some even to look up on online dictionary to make sure they got their vocabulary right. Kudos to their perseverance.
Learning a new skill can be daunting and especially you are not keen on it, the journey may be tough however, if you don’t take the first step, you’ll never arrive in the spot you need to go.
To further strengthen your language skills, other than just purely attending courses, you can do the following:
– Read more in the language you are learning. Read in a topic that perks your interest and you tend to want to read more.
– Watch movies and drama series in the foreign language. You’ll find that soon enough you’ll learn to identify certain repeated words.
– Shop online in the foreign language. This is a simpler and a quicker way to learn basic business transactional terms in the foreign language.
– Practice your language on a stranger is a good way to practice what you have learn and if the stranger understands you, it is a confident booster!!
So don’t ever allow something as basic as simple as language proficiency be the bottleneck of your dream career, reach out and find a way to overcome this. Don’t lose your opportunities because of it. Find a walk-around solution to it.
So do you have a language you always wanted to learn? So what is stopping you? Share with us under comments.