By: Tamara Molino | CRP, GMS

August 24, 2021

A Countdown on the Most Spoken Languages in Business

Learning a second or third language is a great way to open the door to more job and business opportunities. Business is conducted throughout the world in every single language and between every culture. 

Being bilingual as a call center representative, helping close the lucrative sales deal in a foreign language, or even relocating a family to a new country, the benefits of speaking more than one language are endless. Not to mention the number of doors that open in any particular career field for multilingual candidates. 

However, some languages can serve you better than others. Let’s explore the top 10 languages spoken in the business world. These top ten business languages feature markets with high growth, language demands for business, diverse industries, and many future opportunities:

1) English – The True Global Language

It might not be surprising to learn that English is the most prominent language in business, science, and academics. English is spoken widely in 94 countries by over 1.1 billion people as a native and supplementary language. Being fluent in English opens up massive opportunities for people all around the globe.

In fact, English is the most commonly used language on the Internet. It accounts for 25.9% of languages used on websites. And it is a diverse language that takes the form of American English, United Kingdom English, and Commonwealth English. Together, they make for the most critical language to be fluent in.

2) Mandarin (Chinese) – The Language of Purchasing Power

China’s heated economic expansion and vast population make Mandarin a top business language. Mandarin is the official language of the People’s Republic of China and is spoken globally by over 1.2 billion people. The economic leaps that China has undergone means that nearly every country in the world deals with it. That means a huge opportunity for those looking to learn the world’s most widely spoken business language.

3) Arabic – The Dynamic Language of Growth

Arabic is spoken widely across the Middle East, Africa, and the rest of the world. Arabic is also one of the world’s fastest growing languages in addition to being one of the Internet’s fastest growing languages. EMEA’s diversifying economies mean more opportunity for foreign investment. Learning Arabic can open up opportunities in varied industries like infrastructure, architecture, and even fashion design.

4) Spanish – The Language of Greater Opportunity

Spanish is the world’s second most spoken native language and the second most spoken language in the United States. Spanish speakers range from Spain itself to North and South America. However, the amount of Internet content in Spanish is estimated to be only 4%. This presents a massive opportunity for companies looking to expand into the Latin American, Caribbean, and Spanish markets.

5) Russian – Where Old and New Money Mix

The capital of Russia, Moscow, has more billionaires living in it than any other city in the world. Russia is a nation with vast deposits of oil, minerals, metals, and an educated populace. It also is a large economy that does extensive business with European and Asian countries. Russian-speaking countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and their developing economies means that Russian is great to learn for business.

6) German – Science, Industry, and Finance

Germany is a stable and prosperous economic and industrial powerhouse of Europe. It is also one of the three procedural languages of the European Commission. Learning German as a business language opens up businesses to the United Nations’ science, industry, and financial leader. Learning German also helps for doing business in German-speaking countries, like Belgium, Austria, Holland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Denmark.

7) French – Bridging Europe and Africa’s Futures

French is the official language of more than 29 countries. Growing and resource-rich nations in Africa, such as Cote d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Mozambique, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all feature French-speaking populations. France is also the United Kingdom’s largest trading partner. The future of European and African trade and economic partnerships will rely on French as a language that links the two continents.

8) Portuguese – The New Frontier of Science and Medicine

Brazil’s and Portugal’s economies drive the importance of learning Portuguese as a business language. Portuguese is becoming a major source of scientific and medical research thanks to Brazil’s investments in the biotech and energy industries. The growing Brazilian economy means a larger-than-ever demand for Portuguese speakers. Increased interest from European, Asian, and American companies means new frontiers for fluent speakers.

9) Japanese – Combining Research, Development, and Tech

Japan’s reputation for technological advancement and e-commerce is rightly earned. Its diverse economy and high GDP are coupled with a highly educated populace. The combination of massive corporations and medium-sized technology firms means that Japan is a global leader in cutting-edge research, development, and investment. Learning Japanese is an important first step in understanding how to thrive in its lucrative market.

10) Hindi – The Burgeoning Internet Giant

India is a large and diverse country united by its official language of Hindi. Hindi is the world’s 10th most spoken language and is also widely spoken throughout South Asia. This massive region is undergoing an investment effort to build up its Internet and technology infrastructure. Learning Hindi will open people up to doing business in one of the world’s future consumer superpowers.

Additional Business Languages for Consideration

While the world speaks well over 6,000 different languages, the above-mentioned languages are some of the most prevalent in business and major economies today. What languages a professional chooses to learn may be influenced beyond simple numbers, such as the size of a given economy. These decisions may be influenced by geography or the desire to enter a smaller market. Some additional business languages to consider include Dutch, Italian, Korean, Polish, and Swedish.

GMS Is Here to Create a Better Business Future for your Organization

Global Mobility Solutions feels that there are no downsides to learning any of the top 10 most spoken languages in the business world. The best way to start your journey is to ensure you are working with a partner that is dedicated to teaching your professionals to become fluent in a new language. GMS has a proven, award-winning network that is geared towards helping your relocating employees and their families learn new languages and settle into their new country.

Our language partners deliver private in-person lessons and online language lessons direct to our clients. These talented language instructors and translators provide customized lessons for your fluency level and needs. These language learning services are combined with flexible scheduling and an easy-to-use online learning content management system. To learn more, reach out to GMS today and we will help guide you in the right direction to speaking a new language.

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Vice President, Global Services Tammy is responsible for GMS’ regional operations teams in North and Latin America, EMEA, and APAC. Tammy provides over 14 years of leadership experience in the areas of international assignment management, global network management, global consulting and business development. Her experience in global mobility includes new client implementations, policy and compliance development, global compensation and billing, vendor management, case management, and real estate home sale/purchase programs. Tammy travels extensively and studied abroad in Switzerland, Chile, Peru, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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