The UK is losing its place in the global marketplace due to its lack of language and intercultural skills.
- Trade figures highlight that our balance of trade is skewed towards countries that speak English (USA and Ireland). We have an imbalance of trade with the rest of our top ten trading partners
- Rebalancing the UK’s trade with non-English speaking countries could add £21 billion per year to UK GDP (Costing Babel, Cardiff Business School)
- Unless we have the language and intercultural skills to compete and trade with rapidly developing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, we will miss out on vital business opportunities.
Businesses that have an international communications strategy to help overcome language and culture challenges achieve more sales
- Companies that use language and cultural skills achieve on average 45% more sales (British Chamber of Commerce)
- The average loss per European SME business over a three year period due to lack of language skills is €325,000 (ELAN)
- In 2000 English accounted for 51% of language use on the internet, in 2009 this had declined to 29%. In the same period, internet traffic in Chinese has increased from 5% to 20%
- In e-commerce, customers prefer to buy from websites in their own language even if the price is higher. (Common Sense Advisory)