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Third of firms happy using English sites for global business

Graeme Parton

Around 32 per cent of British SMEs see an English-language business website as being sufficient for expanding in other countries, according to  new research.

The study, which was carried out by Global Lingo, a translation specialist, also revealed that 55 per cent of those questioned see English as the dominant language of international business.

Although such a substantial portion of the 1,067 respondents look set to stick with English in their attempts to go international, 59 per cent failed to share their views, with most citing “language barriers” as a potentially major issue when conducting business.

A further 21 per cent of businesses see local knowledge as too important to ignore, with an understanding of business etiquette thought to be crucial.

Surprisingly, 29 per cent said they’re happy to stick with English for their website and online marketing materials – despite acknowledging that a use of native tongues could be more impactful.

Global Lingo’s managing director, Richard Michie, said that the research suggests businesses could certainly benefit from making the effort to look at the different linguistic options they have to choose from.

The news will be interesting for ambitious businesses in the UK looking to develop larger customer bases for a number of reasons. Firstly, the fact that not all of the country’s SMEs are making the effort to reach foreign markets will surely leave the door open for forward-thinking enterprises to excel and fill the gaps. This will certainly be the case for those offering products with wide-reaching appeal.

On the other hand, those sticking with English-language content will want to ensure the material they publish is of a high enough standard to stand out and have the right effect. Many businesses look to do this with the help of established marketing firms.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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