Taking up a second language
IF you want a really good career with a multinational company, languages are key.
In Malaysia we tend to speak our own language really well and can usually converse fluently in two or three others. However, that’s not really enough.
To be marketable overseas, you need to speak a lingua franca: a language that’s commonly used in trading.
The right one
There are many languages that qualify for the title so the key to picking the right one is to understand their applications and limitations.
Firstly, English remains the world’s most popular language as it is the most commonly used lingua franca for business, science, technology and diplomacy.
Ahead of the game
As you are reading this, you’re ahead of the game. If you see your business focused on China, then Mandarin is a logical choice.
It is spoken by 1.2 billion people around the world, and is a national language in Taiwan too.
As China is a manufacturing powerhouse, you could learn this language, and live anywhere and be the Chinese connection for any multinational.
If you’re interested in petrochemical, or any business that’s focused on the Middle East, then Arabic is a great choice.
While most corporations there will use English as a house language, Arabic is also useful in Africa, especially in Chad, Lebanon, and the Western Sahara.
As this continent has several fast growing economies, learning this may pay off handsomely.
Another great language is Spanish. It is spoken by 521 million people. It’s the lingua franca in South and Central America, and Spain.
As well as being the official language in 21 countries, it’s very useful in the US where it’s the most popular language after English. Also, unlike Mandarin and Arabic, you don’t need to learn a new alphabet. That’s a plus, right?
To be marketable overseas, you need to speak a language that’s commonly used in trading.