6 steps to help remove a language barrier

21st century is a period of globalization. It extends to various spheres of modern life, including employment. Therefore, today the staff of companies includes people from different countries and ethnic groups. Culturally diverse organizations perform 36% better than competitors.

However, it can add complexity to workflows. This article is devoted to the issue of their elimination. The described recommendations will help make interaction more comfortable and efficient for each employee.

6 steps to help remove a language barrier

Translate documents

They describe the rules and procedures for doing the job. Therefore, it is important that they are accessible to every employee of the company. If the staff employs people who speak different languages, then the documents must be translated.

You can ask an employee who speaks the appropriate dialect about this. The second option is to use a translator. There are many such services on the Internet.

However, remember that such tools do not always translate texts correctly. It is worth giving them for verification. This will also eliminate distortion of the information presented in the documents.

Staff translator

If the language of the subordinate is completely unfamiliar to you, then find a person who can translate what was said. This will help establish communication. The manager’s requests, recommendations and instructions should be clear. Otherwise, the employee will not understand that he needs him.

It is also important to hear subordinates. Feedback from an employee, especially a new team member, should be clear. This will help streamline workflows and quickly eliminate complexity.

It is not necessary to hire a translator. Perhaps the company has a person who speaks the required language. Ask him for help. It is important that you trust this person and be confident in his reliability.

Corporate language courses

It is unlikely that the state contains speakers of several dozen languages. Most likely their number is limited to a maximum of five. This means that you can learn the basic phrases.

Make sure employees are familiar with basic working terms, phrases and warnings. This will make communication easier and effective.

The simplest solution is to teach employees one language. For example, the prevailing workplace. Even a short “survival course” is enough to understand the main tasks and processes.

You can learn conversational English more in-depth and can be provided at your own discretion. On the one hand, these are additional costs. On the other hand, better language proficiency will allow specialists to achieve success in their work. This is especially true for employees whose responsibilities include negotiating. For example, project managers and business analysts.

Consider cultural differences

Code of ethical conduct varies from country to country. For example, asking your partner in Japan for the health of family members will show respect. However, this is unacceptable in America. Therefore, knowledge of cultural norms is extremely important.

Tell us about the rules that apply to you. Perhaps there are topics that are taboo in society. For example, religion. There may also be smaller differences. Perhaps it is customary for you to maintain a large distance, or vice versa, people are often close to each other. The style of conversations may also vary. Temperamental peoples often speak loudly and emotionally.


During language learning, complex speech patterns are accompanied by a huge number of mistakes. This is normal. However, this leads to a misunderstanding and erroneous interpretation of what you said.

Using a simple language will help minimize the impact of the language barrier. It should cover oral and written communication. It is important here how well the interlocutor knows the language.

If the level of proficiency is low, then use the following recommendations:

  • express yourself straightforwardly, clearly and without wasting words;
  • refrain from using idioms;
  • do not raise your tone of voice;
  • talk slowly;
  • use simple words with few syllables;
  • follow clear pronunciation;
  • try to use common words.

To overcome the language barrier, it is necessary to establish mutual understanding. Therefore, learn a few phrases in the employee’s language. For example, greeting, goodbye, gratitude, and request. Mastering a few phrases will demonstrate your respect for the person and help make your communication more effective.


Images are a universal language. Therefore, try to use visualization as much as possible. For example, by presenting instructions or a work plan in the form of diagrams. Supplement them with images, and the person will understand exactly what it is about.


The language barrier leads to difficulties in work. However, it can be overcome through trial and error. The main thing is to respect each other’s characteristics and meet halfway. Make basic things accessible to every employee (documents, instructions, descriptions of projects and tasks). Learn to interact at a minimal level. Even a simple greeting and gratitude will have a beneficial effect on the mood in the team.