Get A Quote

Which Languages Should You Learn for International Business in 2018?

Dec 2017

Language ,

International business hold big interest for you? Languages will play a huge part in that.

All the online translation tools in the world won’t help you pull off the all-important pitch in person. Learning languages is a time investment, for sure. However, it will pay you dividends if you learn a little of the languages most relevant to your field.

English is arguably the most important language (at the moment) for international business, but just speaking English alone won’t cut it in the international business world.

Ultimately, the language you choose to learn will depend on your individual circumstances. However, we’ve picked out a few major languages to consider learning in 2018 if you aspire to make it big in international business.


5 Languages for International Business in 2018


international business which languages 2018

Mandarin or Cantonese

Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in China, with Cantonese coming in second. However, Mandarin is also considered one of the hardest languages for native English-speakers to learn. Whilst that makes it a big challenge, it also means that those who have learned Mandarin will really stand apart from the crowd.

Cantonese is spoken in Canton, Hong Kong, and often in overseas Chinese communities.

China is the second-largest economy on the planet. If you plan for your business aspirations take you there, then now is the time to start practicing your Mandarin or Cantonese!



Germany has one of the most stable economies at the moment. It is also a relatively easy language for English-speakers to learn. It has the same alphabet and is pronounced in a way that makes sense to Anglophones.

German is the most widely-spoken mother tongue in Europe, so brushing up could be the recipe for success in those international pitches.



Arabic is the fastest growing language on the internet by a long shot – its use has increased by 2500% in the last ten years.

The online marketplace is vast, and whilst online translators might get you so far, taking the time to learn Arabic will also result in a better understanding of other cultures and target markets who speak Arabic. It is predicted to be one of the most widely spoken languages in 2050, so a little practice now will pay off in the long run!



Is your business plan pitching to millenials? Then you might want to consider learning Portuguese for your global expansion. Brazil has one of the youngest populations: 62% of Brazilians are younger than 29 years old.

Learning Portuguese would set you up for business in Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Macau in China also considers Portuguese an official language, so it could take you further than you’d think!



India has English and Hindi as official languages, and it is another fast-growing economy. The current largest, in fact. It is the only country in the top five fastest-growing economies of 2017 to already have a trillion-dollar economy.

Indians speak several languages, depending on the region, although Hindi is the official language. Got specific business ideas for trade in certain areas? Check the language out first. However, an understanding of both English and Hindi would be an excellent advantage to have when going into business with Indian companies.


We narrowed it down to just five, but there are several other countries destined for big business growth in 2017. Which languages are you learning for international business at the moment? Let us know in the comments!

Need some business translation, fast? Get in touch with us for interpretation and translation help!



Call Us +44 (0)141 429 3429

Contact Global Language Services Ltd to speak with one of our advisors about your specific requirements.

Or Get A Quote

Fill in the form to receive a prompt, no obligation quote from Global Language Services Ltd.

Get A Quote