Subscribe here:

10 Steps overcoming language barriers

Looking for ways of overcoming language barriers in the workplace? You've found it here, at Linguistic Point, the home of professional translation services.

Work fails when communication fails. Organisations and businesses, whether small or big, have colleagues from around the world. Whilst skilful and knowledgeable, adapting to a new culture and environment is often a struggle for non-native speakers. English for one may be the global language but reliance on a single language limits the many connections and potential available across other languages. A diverse environment which supports skilled workers from various places is a must for any company hoping to recruit, progress and maintain wide operations for maximum success. Having a professional language translation services on hand is the first and greatest route to overcoming language barriers in the workplace. Taking steps to ensure your organisation is open to all cultures and communities is fundamental to building a diverse and effective work environment. Here are 10 key steps your organisation or business can take to establish an international work culture.

1.       Be respectful:

The first step is to respect the language process and recognise that language barrier exists everywhere. It is important to remember that not speaking a native fluency in the workplace is not a reflection of one’s deeper intelligence or skill. Taking a respectful approach to helping international workers to communicate across languages paves way for a thriving, diverse environment many aspire towards.

Take a step back and consider the difficulties of learning a language, let alone settling in a new environment or country. Languages take many years to learn and to reach native-level sometimes a lifetime-portion as communication across all cultures is dynamic and nuanced. Consider making the workplace a stronger learning environment by lowering the bar for fluency in one language. Moving towards supporting bilingual or multilingualism is seriously advantageous to a company’s competition and growth. Showing respect means doing the small things count. Being patient with others, respectfully repeating and articulating yourself all help non-native speakers actively learn. Most crucially, again being open to workers with ranging language levels based on the essential skills and attitudes you require in the workplace. Hence, a respectful attitude is a solid first step to grasp to overcoming language barriers in the workplace. Great new opportunities and connections open up across the horizon.

2.       Hire in-person interpreters for overcoming language barrier in the workplace:

A direct and obvious approach to overcoming language barrier in the workplace is to hire an in-person interpreter. For communicating with international colleagues and customers, spoken languages are particularly difficult to understand and effectively express. Everyone by now understands using Google translate is sometimes not enough in trying to communicate across languages. You certainly would not enjoy being embarrassed by poor grammar, consistency and tone when trying hard to connect with foreigners.

An interpreter is a language expert who focuses on spoken words. Their skill allows them to communicate between different languages in a way that is fluid, precise and culturally relevant. Their native level speaking and writing in multiple languages means they actively help people understand each other. Having an interpreter in the office hits the nail on head, directly overcoming language barriers in the workplace. Like personal assistants, they can work across all department delivering immediate language solutions wherever needed. For instance, interpreters assist in conferences, conferences, meetings, interviews, presentations and much more in and all around the workplace. If there is one key solution you are looking for overcoming language barriers in the workplace, consider hiring an interpreter. You can then ask how they will play an active role in your organisation or businesses. Interpreters have helped workplaces open up to large international audiences.

3.       Use document translation for additional written language barriers

A strong translation service UK is as important as hiring interpreters. Translation is different from interpretation in that its services focus on written words. A translator’s primary goal is to translate the text with accuracy, consistency, and equivalence. This is through knowing and using correct grammar, terminology, and cultural relevance. Written text is as prevalent and significant as spoken words in the workplace. In internal affairs, information needs to not only be accessible but also easily understood by a range of people. A key error many unknowingly make to building a diverse work setting is assuming the native language spoken in the office easily translates to equal comprehension of written information.

Using a specialist translation service enables instructions, documents, manuals and more to be communicated first-time round to varying nationalities within the company; to those individuals expressing language difficulties. More crucially, using document translation services in the workplace helps open the company to the vast network of international workers. For example, in translated job descriptions, interview processes whereby connecting more closely to potential employees is a valuable advantage to the recruitment competition. Yet, translation in the workspace reaches beyond by being crucial to external communication. A successful, multicultural workspace requires culturally relevant and diverse content. Translators, possessing a native understanding, assist workplaces in crafting an international branding.  

4.       Using language packages for installed software:

The workplace in the modern age is now increasingly digital. This comes as an advantage for overcoming language barriers in the workplace by making it easier to tailor the work environment. Installing computer software with language packages, from the original OS to programs, enables employees to easily switch to their native languages for maximum productivity. On the other hand, technology needs to be taken further to challenge language barriers. For instance, Google translate, besides lacking reliability, has phenomenal upsides in enabling people to have immediate access to translation. Using digital translation services paves the way for practical development and stronger language interest.

5.       Holding cross-cultural events for a multicultural workplace:

Don’t dwell on language barriers, celebrate language diversity at work! A great way to overcoming language barriers in the workplace is to find ways to integrate more cross-cultural mixing. Dedicated language parties, activities and events all provide ways to get people from all cultures talking and learning about each other. This will be awkward for some to setup yet with the help of language services, such events can be done effectively and frequently. Conversely, employees can organise the event themselves for a personal touch and connection. In all, colleagues will appreciate the chance to connect and feel value in sharing their cultural differences. Language barriers thereby lessen as people from all nationalities find comfort and means in speaking to each other.

6.       Keep it simple!

Language barriers most often come from the complexity in languages. A straightforward but highly effective means to overcoming language barriers in the workplace is by keeping things simple. While many can appreciate fancy language skills, a different skill comes in the form of explaining things simply. Avoiding convoluted language and excess jargon will help new language learners to find proficiency. Simple language not only helps non-native speakers but also native speakers. Work procedures, documents and more become increasingly effective the easier the comprehension is for all employees.

7.       Use visuals

Overcoming language barriers in the workplace does not have to be so troublesome when you can use images. For those struggling with interpreting/translating words, drawing and showing images communicate messages in the easiest and obvious way. These two known statements still stand true today: images speak louder than words; images speak for a thousand words. Images bring fun to the workplace too, being simple, practical and importantly memorable.  Thus, do not underestimate images and use them in ways to express complicated language simply.

8.       Hold language lessons:

Take greater active steps to overcoming language barrier in the workplace by facilitating language lessons. Companies and organisation need communication across one primary language to keep everything flowing and well-ordered. Language lessons will help non-native speakers to strengthen their workflow, accelerating their speaking and writing to a productive, collaborative level. With greater language skills for everyone, employees can proceed to build a larger network and clientele for a successful business.

9.       Demonstration first, presentation second

Similar to visuals, overcoming language barriers in the workplace involves demonstrating how to do something than simply assuming what needs. By helping an employee to do something, they receive practical opportunities to independently grasp new words, concepts and sentences. Thereby, practical tasks associated with spoken and written words make language learning easier and faster. Demonstration makes language learning active and memorable like tourists experience when travelling. Hence, overcoming language barriers in the workplace doesn’t need to be boring. We can all learn effectively by doing more.

10.   Professional language feedback

A final takeaway to remember, hired language agencies are not just a one-way transaction, they fundamentally valuable feedback services. Language experts, from their wealth of experience and knowledge, offer employers and employees ways to improve language learning and connections. For instance, tips on improving accessibility, actively updating information for non-native speakers, and promoting stronger cultural links. Furthermore, language experts working actively alongside organisations ensures communication reaches all levels across language barriers within a company. In short, develop a stronger relationship with language experts by asking for continued feedback and advice for maximum language progress.


Linguist Point is an established language agency that understands the importance of professional translation and interpreting services. We specialise in document translation and operate with full, friendly transparency and engagement with all our clients. We have experienced and qualified interpreters to meet your needs and make sure that the language barrier does not have a negative impact between individuals in our society.


Topic: Diversity

10 Steps Overcoming Language Barriers

Looking for ways of overcoming language barriers in the workplace? ... View More

Topic: Diversity

Why Have A Translation Services For Coronavirus?

Looking for translation services during these unprecidented times? ... View More

Topic: Healthcare

The Importance Of Translation In Export

Looking for Your Key to Success in translation in Export?

... View More

Topic: Translation