CELAN the Network for the Promotion of Language Strategies for Competitiveness and Employability conducted a questionnaire on the use of languages in Business. Most respondents agreed that languages were essential for their business, especially for managers. The employees are often hired for their existing language skills. Respondents mostly use EU, or EU neighbours languages.
Most do not have a language development policy and do not train themselves their employees to the use of foreign language. Most use IT tools such as computer assisted spell checks and dictionaries and automatic on-line translation tools. Terminology database are only used by 1/4 of respondents and the Common European Framework for Languages by 1/10.
Business mostly use external services for translation and language classes for the staff and prefer certified language services providers.
Languages are used in many activities (ordered by importance): attending business meetings; maintaining international relations, traveling abroad; Presenting company, products, services; Using multilingual communications; Attending trade fairs, conferences, congresses; Preparing communication material; Interacting socially with customers and suppliers; Retrieving and using business/technical/market information; Interacting in teams/with colleagues/with headquarters; Preparing internal operational procedures; Responding to/presenting offers, bids, tenders; Managing multilingual website; Reporting: market analysis, policy documents, product development and Installing and maintaining company products abroad.