Language in International Business

Language, as communicative system of shared meanings, shapes the goals, strategies and activities of organisations. When firms internationalise, they navigate across countless language boundaries that pose opportunities and threats to internationalisation.

When an organisation operates internationally, it interacts with transcontinental intermediaries, governments and foreign institutions, which all have different languages, and the use of English as lingua franca cannot fully capture how problems get framed and how decisions are made, neither can compensate for the constrained terminological capacity of a native professional language. Therefore, language aspects reflect on ways firms develop and orchestrate their international network. Language is thus a key construct in International Business, yet it has not adequately been studied by prior research.

  • Chidlow, A., Plakoyiannaki, E., and Welch, C., 2014. “Translation in cross-language international business research: Beyond equivalence”, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 45, No. 5, pp. 562-582.