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5 Benefits of Hiring Bilingual Employees



Bilinguals are smarter people. According to a New York Times’ article, people who speak two languages seem to be adept at solving certain kinds of mental challenges, maintaining focus and planning.

Do smarter people make better employees?

You are likely to get different answers to that question. However, a company would definitely benefit in many ways when it has bilingual employees on board. Let’s see why.

Tap into new markets

If you want to break into potential markets like China, Brazil or Russia, it would be helpful to have people who speak Chinese, Portuguese, or Russian. They can assist in reading materials, negotiating with potential local partners and advising on cultural preferences, as those who know a language well often understands its culture.

You can hire a translator or a consultancy firm but the fee could be high and the possibility of  getting “lost in translation” is always higher as, unlike your staff, the third party might lack a thorough understanding of your company’s values and principles.

Maintain better team communication

People who speak two languages tend to know how to communicate clearly as they learn to express themselves in a foreign language.

Besides, they are trained to understand a concept as its true self rather than depending on one language. As a simplified example, a tree for them would be the plant with a big trunk, many branches and a lot more leaves, rather than “tree” (English), “boom” (Dutch), “arbre” (French) or “cây” (Vietnamese). It results in the ability to go to the core of a complex concept and explain it well.

Provide better services

For most people, it takes less of an effort to speak in their mother tongue. If customers can inquiry in their native language, they will find it easier to express their problem, which is likely to result in more satisfactory experience.

You can see why many hotels and shops now have a plaque at the reception “We speak your language”. It’s because customers like it.

Hiring vs. Training

You can build a multilingual workplace by hiring more bilingual people or by providing the existing staff with language training. It’s certainly possible to do both, but let’s look at the pros and cons of each option before you decide on the best employment strategy.


When you choose to hire, you could add new skills to the team quickly. Thanks to open labor markets like the EU, no border would hinder your search for, for example, Italian native speakers to work in an Amsterdam-based company.

With remote working on the rise, you can even find somebody from the other side of the globe to join your team within a couple of weeks. Of course, there is always that one particular position that takes months to fill, but in general, hiring bilingual staff is a lot easier thanks to globalization.

Besides, hiring someone who already speaks two languages fluently is much less risky than trying to train an employee to speak another language. As much as we don’t want to admit it, not all training comes to a satisfactory result.

However, workers who speak the languages you desire might not possess the rest of the skill set needed for the position you are hiring. When you do find people who have it all, their expectation for remuneration might be sky high.


Training the current employees has its flexibility. You can train an employee many times in different languages (e.g. Chinese, Japanese or Korean), in different types of skills (such as reading, speaking, or writing), and up to the appropriate level needed for the position. mYngle provides one-on-one tutors with customized lessons for the specific needs of both your employees and the company.

Language training can be used as an incentive to reward highly-performing and over-achieving employees. It’s good for retention, so “to kill two birds with one stone”.

However, learning a language takes time. Most people needs years of studying a language to master it. Having the right type of training as well as concrete and relevant targets do help in shortening the time, though.

Do your staff need only conversational Spanish to assist customers with their questions or do they need to be able to write a love poem in Spanish?

In a nutshell, hiring could be a quick fix but training is a more flexible and rounded solution. The language training you offer to your employees could increase not only the business’ bottom line but the team morale. Consider mYngle as a strategic partner when it comes to language training.

About the author:

quynh-150x150Quynh Nguyen writes about productivity for individuals and teams while travelling the world. She loves learning languages, riding a bike and having many nice cups of tea. Connect with her @QuynhThuNguyen or visit her at www.quynh.nl

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