Language and Cultural Barriers

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International Business Paper
“Language Barriers”

Table of Contents

Table of Contents……………………………………………………………………….pg. 2

Introduction ……............................................................................................................pg. 3

Charleston, WV Immigrant Statistics…………………..……………………………….pg. 3

Common Cultural and Language Barriers………………………………………………pg.4

How to Help……………………………………………………………………………pg. 5

Summary……………………………………………………………………………….pg. 7

References………………………………………………………………………………pg. 8

In today’s world, on a world-wide scale, we as a nation must work together to break down language and cultural barriers. With so many people immigrating to the United States and all the companies that are doing business internationally, we must find a way to make it work. There are many ideas, learning groups and classes that are specifically designed to help people of all languages and cultures learn to work together and understand one another. The internet has shown that progress is inevitable; it is time for a change. Foreign-born immigrants are rapidly becoming a central part of the American labor force. This entry of immigrants is creating jobs in the fields of manufacturing, service and construction. With so many immigrants joining our workforce, it is the best idea for employers to embrace this idea and find ways to link these languages and culture barriers. Charleston, WV Immigrant Statistics (quickfacts.consensus.gov, 2010) • Charleston, WV Population as of 2006: 50,846.

• Foreign Born Persons as of 2000:3.2%
• Language other than English spoken:5.3%
In 2006, the foreign-born population of West Virginia was 2.5%. The majority of immigrants in West Virginia are from the following (usimmigrationsupport.com, 2010). • 34.9% Mexico
• 10.1% Canada
• 6.7% Germany
• 23.6% UK, Korea, Philippines, China, Japan, India and Soviet Union

Cultural and language barriers can create communication problems which can cause hazardous conditions, especially in the blue collar fields. People’s stereotypes can get in the way of hiring a good worker, we need to look beyond the stereotypes and see what kind of person they really are. Some companies require certain educational backgrounds, and don’t take into consideration the applicants experience and education when coming from another country. All countries can stand to learn a little bit about tolerance when it comes to foreigners. In foreign countries, certain acts are considered social suicide, such as receiving a business card from someone in Japan and stuffing it in your pocket. The Japanese consider their business cards a symbol of themselves. Some other common cultural differences are:

• Roles and Status—in some countries women are considered inferior and are expected to walk behind the males. Some countries females are not expected or allowed to work. What is considered normal in American culture regarding etiquette for a working woman is far different in other countries. In Latin American countries, colorful business attire is welcomed, however, in Asia and the Middle East, the norm is neutral-colored clothing and nothing else. When conducting a meeting in Islamic Middle East, a female must have a male host that accompanies them to their meetings, where they may well be the only female in attendance. • Personal Space—Americans usually stand about 5 feet away from each other, however, Japanese cultural likes more space and the Latin cultural likes to stand closer. In China it is acceptable to push your way through a crowd and you may be invited to spa where nudity is considered appropriate. • Body Language—In America, eye contact is considered a sign of respect. People in the Japanese culture considers it is a sign of disrespect to look directly at a superior. Where Americans are very animated with their facial expressions,...
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