English as a corporate language?

What is your opinion on this question? In what circumstances does it make sense to use English as the corporate language? This morning I had a discussion with employees of a German based company.

They have subsidiaries in at least 15 countries and they often have to communicate in English. However, the corporate headquarters are in Germany and of course a lot of the German employees want to stick to German in their daily communications. We used this situation to practice our negotiation skills and the outcome was quite interesting.

So, what is your experience, have you ever worked in a company that uses English is the primary means of communication? If you were the HR and corporate training manager, how would you go about implementing English as the corporate language?[YSaerTTEW443543]

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I deal with a lot of companies where the ownership is foreign but the corporate language is English. If employees want to speak their own language in their own country (or even here) for local purposes, I don’t see the big deal.

I think that it can be a logical choice for a German company to choose English as an official language, for a number of reasons. For one, there are more resources for employees to learn English, and they will be able to get more practice. If the company had tried to make its official language German in the United States, there would simply not be enough German teachers or resources to get the Americans up to speed. Another thing is that wherever native English speakers go, they have to be very insistent to get people to let them practice a foreign language. If Germans come here, they sometimes refuse to speak German with us because they want to practice English. If we go to Germany or to any other country, people usually do the same thing.

Official English in foreign corporations can be a little tricky. One of my friends was very excited when he went to work at a famous Finnish company that I shall not name, but which has products in most Europeans’ pockets. My friend – who already spoke and wrote almost perfect English – thought this would be a great opportunity to improve his English, because that was the official language of the company. When he finally got there, he was very disappointed, because the language the company used was not exactly English, but some sort of reduced English, even worse than Euro-English. He was not able to use his full vocabulary, he could not use complex sentences, and as time went on, his English got much worse instead of better.

In my opinion, what language can be used as corporate language in a company mainly depends on in what industry the company is involved and what language could help it raise the profit.

For example, a company related IT industry will use English as its official language. But maybe another company uses Chinese because it find that China is a big market.