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The Top Languages in Business Today

You might have already heard that languages can be useful in business, whether you’re a start-up or an established name in the game.

Knowledge of a business language can help you to connect with clients easier, and make your mark worldwide (more on that later). Languages are almost necessary in this globalised day & age, and understandably they can help to make an enterprise a success. But there are some languages that can give you more edge in the business world. This is because of their widespread usage globally and their ability to break you into crucial markets. These powerful languages can serve your business a lot better and their benefits in corporate environments are endless.

Let’s explore the most used languages in business today, and why some languages hold more economic value. By taking a closer look at the languages of the future, you might discover which languages can boost your career. Read on to the end for some Learn&Co language learning tips to get you started too!

  1. English
  2. Mandarin
  3. Arabic
  4. German
  5. Spanish
  6. Benefits of Learning a Language


The number 1 most used language in business should come as no surprise to anyone. English is generally considered a global language and has been undoubtedly the most influential language of academia and business for decades. English is what’s known as a lingua franca – a language that is used for communication between groups of people whose native languages are different. With a whopping 370 million native speakers around the world, English is very much the language of the international business community.

Part of what makes English such a significant language is that it is of course the official language in the UK and the USA.

English Speaking Industries

These countries are leaders in business and with some of the most powerful economies today. Other English-speaking countries include Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa and Canada. English is also the official language in several countries across Africa and Asia – you can hear English spoken pretty much anywhere in the world! So a sound knowledge of English is essential for operating in these markets and for starting…well just about any business.

Recent studies have shown how companies from a range of industries and countries use English for almost all business operations. What’s more, the majority of internet users worldwide use the English language. So fluency in English can improve your company’s online presence. The number of non-native English speakers is around 750 million and growing everyday. As a language of globalisation, English dominates East and West, and is particularly useful in the education, technology and commerce industries. It’s no wonder English is the most used language in business, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon!

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Languages in Business


Did you know that Mandarin Chinese is actually the most spoken language in the world? Spoken by a staggering 1.4 billion people in China alone, Mandarin surpasses English by a lot in terms of numbers. Mandarin is also used in Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, covering a significant part of South East Asia. This is part of why Mandarin is also one of the major languages in business at the moment. The huge economic shift in the last thirty years has also seen China emerge as a global business powerhouse.

China has the largest manufacturing network worldwide

Mandarin Speaking Industries

There are a number of influential Chinese businesses in almost every sphere of life, from trade to technology to manufacturing. What you might have already guessed from seeing ‘Made in China’ on just about everything is that China has the largest manufacturing network worldwide. In fact, economic experts predict that China will be the world’s leading economy by 2050. Another prominent internet language, some of the big names in e-commerce and technology are also of Chinese origin, from Alibaba (founders of AliExpress), Taobao, Huawei and more.

This highlights China’s dominance on the global market and as a result, the increasing importance of Mandarin. China is full of business opportunities, with new and exciting ventures starting all the time. Understandably, Mandarin is a top language and of the most useful languages to know if you want to make it. Working proficiency in Mandarin can particularly boost any business operating in the industries of technology, education and manufacturing. One thing’s for sure – there’s no doubt Mandarin can take you very far!

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Languages in Business


Our next top business language has over 400 million speakers globally, and is widely used across the Middle East and Africa. Arabic is another lingua franca, used as a common language between nations, as well as the official language in over 25 countries. There are native Arabic speakers in some of the fastest growing African states today. Of course it’s also the language of the wealthy Gulf states such as Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE. This provides any aspiring businessperson the opportunity to connect with both the newest entrepreneurial talents and the established leaders in trade today.

The Arabic language is the key to business in the Middle East and a significant part of Africa too.

Arabic Speaking Industries

Some of the most influential thinkers in science, medicine and mathematics were Arabic speakers. The dynamic Arab economy of the 21st century reflect this. Industries where Arab and African businesses are making waves include the well-known oil and gas companies. But there’s also a notable Arab presence in marketing, infrastructure, tourism, education and even fashion. A 2017 report from the British Council put the spotlight on Arabic as the fastest growing language today – a definite language of the future.

The Arabic language is the key to business in the Middle East and a significant part of Africa too. Another internet language and a language of the UN, Arabic is a highly useful language to have in your roster. It’s a language with the potential to help you engage with millions of new clients and customers. The sheer number of speakers worldwide pits Arabic as one of the most used languages in business. This is further supported by the extremely profitable Arab companies in business today, both new and old.

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Languages in Business


When you think of Germany, images of a productive, serious work culture and the best in engineering may come to mind. And there is some truth to this stereotype. The top German companies at present include none other than the automotive giants Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But that’s not all – Germans come out on top in healthcare, banking, retail, communications and more. Germany is also one of the leading exporters of a wide range of manufactured goods, car parts, chemicals and even pharmaceuticals. In fact, the German economy is one of the strongest and most stable in Europe. Recent research actually puts Germany as the fourth largest economy worldwide – yes, really!

German is also the official language in Austria, Belgium and Switzerland

German Speaking Industries

This no doubt makes German a really advantageous language when it comes to business. Over 95 million people speak German as a native language by across the continent and counting. Did you know that Germany is the second most populous country in Europe? German is also the official language in Austria, Belgium and Switzerland, with significant German-speaking populations in Italy, Holland and Denmark too.

The ability to communicate in German is crucial for breaking into European markets in particular. Due to Germany’s export trade internationally, fluency in German could also boost business on an even larger scale. With Germany being the third largest contributor to global research and development, German may come in handy in technology and research too.

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Languages in Business


There are more than 500 million Spanish speakers around the world, making it the second most spoken language in the world worldwide. Besides Spain, the Spanish language is also the official language in over 20 countries across South America. These include Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Venezuela. Spanish is also widely understood across the USA, where over 40 million people speak Spanish as their mother tongue. This is actually expected to double by 2050!

it's a lot easier for native English speakers to learn!

Spanish Speaking Industries

The numbers speak for themselves – Spanish is an international language and Spanish-speaking countries are strong business contenders. For one, Mexico and Spain appear in the top 20 of the biggest economies globally. The Spanish language is the gateway to South American markets, and with the massive Hispanic community in the USA, knowledge of Spanish can boost American-based ventures as well! Spanish is an increasingly useful language to learn, and the good news is it’s a lot easier for native English speakers to learn! So learning Spanish for business is a very smart investment, one that can return some remarkable results.

Unsurprisingly, this makes Spanish one of the most used languages in business. Spanish is the language of choice in several industries in particular, such as hospitality, healthcare, education and law. The influence of Spanish in global business is only growing too – Spanish was recently crowned the top language of the future! This suggests a really promising future for Spanish-speaking businesses and companies around the world.

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Languages in Business

Benefits of learning a language for business

There are several ways languages can impact your business, whichever language you choose to learn. Languages can support your enterprise and set you up for success in a number of ways. From saving money on translation and interpretation costs, to boosting your business’ visibility on a global scale.

Just think of how many more employees, clients and contractors you can engage with using languages. Communicating with clients in their native language can also help build stronger connections a lot quicker.

This can even result in improved customer service and a better reputation for your growing company. Recent studies have also shown how bilingual employees can be more productive at work, prioritising tasks and time-managing more efficiently than their monolingual counterparts. So what are you waiting for?

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Languages in Business


If you’ve decided to take up another language for business, you’re in the right place! We’ve got tons of language learning tips for those of you who might have less time to spare for studying. Mastering a top business language doesn’t have to be such a challenge. Let our Learn&Co team can guide you through! Start today by getting in touch with one of our experienced tutors via our website.

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