Ten Tips to Overcome Language Barriers


One of the most frustrating scenarios in the business world and other economy sectors is trying to communicate with a client you that does not understand your language. This two-way process can be quite demanding, annoying and overly difficult. While considering financial, cultural, legal and social factors in delicate sectors are very important, language barrier is arguably the most tasking challenge people in these sectors face daily.

According to reports by the US SBA WorldOp, about 96% of world’s customers reside outside the United States. This stat indicates that at some point, people in basic sectors (including business, health, political and legal sectors) will have to relate with clients that speak a different language, hence the growing need to overcome language barrier.

The most common way, and easiest way by far, to overcome language barrier is adopting a professional interpreter or translator. These interpreters or translators not only ease the communication struggle; they also enhance negotiations and boosts communication relationship between the clients.

Although the need for a professional translator during inter-language communication cannot be overemphasized, it is also very important to know some basic tips to overcome language barriers when communicating with international clients. Here are some tips to get started:


  • Do Not Rush: Sometimes, we tend to get a little too excited when communicating with an international client, with or without a professional interpreter or translator. You get carried away by what you are trying to say, maybe the environment is just so lovely, the weather is amazing, or you are late. Whatever it is, take a moment to calm yourself and speak slowly. The faster you speak, the more you confuse your listener.
  • Always ask for clarification: Never assume you understand what’s being said by a client. If you are not sure or didn’t hear clearly or understand what the client is communicating, politely ask for clarification. A simple assumption can cost you a fortune.

Do not Shout: Your clients are not deaf. When they show a sign that they are not getting you or you have to repeat the same thing over and over, it is only because they don’t understand; you don’t speak the same language anyway. Never lose yourself and shout at a client.

Adopt visual methods of communication: All humans, irrespective of the languages they speak, are visual learners. The sense organs tend to naturally interpret what they see, feel or smell. Use this to your advantage when communicating with a person that doesn’t understand your language. You can use signs, clue cards, pictures or other visual aids during conversation.

Avoid idioms and native slangs: This is a general rule in communication, if a phrase or word you intend to use requires basic knowledge of specific information (whether a sport or slang), it is important to understand that this may make your communication more confusing, hence difficult to understand.  Avoid using confusing words, phrases or sentences.

Technology will help: Technology, asides professional translators or interpreters, provide the fastest method to break communication barriers. You can easily search for words you don’t understand on Google Translate Apps or Bingo. These apps give you a fast and first-hand understanding of the message your client is trying to pass across.

Be emotional in your conversation: Try as much as possible to show emotions during inter-language conversation. Being emotional not only shows you are interested in the conversation, it also proves to the client that you are following and doing your best to understand his message.

Don’t be self- conscious: There will always be those words you will mispronounce, phrases you will wrongly construct. Never get hard on yourself when you make mistakes. You will only get more nervous and make more mistakes. When you’ve made a mistake and you know it, politely apologize and move on. Self-consciousness only negatively affects communication.

Learn the basics: Before you fix an appointment with a client that doesn’t speak the same language as you, it is necessary you do your homework and learn the basic words in the client’s language. Do not act uninterested in his language, most times, it puts clients off.

Get a professional interpreter or Translator: Nothing makes it easier than hiring a professional interpreter or translator. This eases everything on your part and makes communication smoother. However, it is also very important to observe the remaining tips stated above.

Linguist Point is an interpreting and translating services based in London providing professional interpreter or translator. To find out whether you need a professional interpreter or want to get your professional interpreter, contact us via our phone number 020 8523 5791 or visit our website at https://linguistpoint.co.uk/

Linguist Point aims to bridge the linguistic gap between businesses, cultures and people across the UK and Beyond. We enable businesses to engage and communicate with global audience efficiently in more  than 100 languages. Contact us today and navigate in the international waters safely 020 8523 5791