EU SMEs with a language strategy increased sales 10 to 25%.
A recent study carried out in SMEs in the 27 EU member countries clearly shows that companies with a consistent language strategy have increased sales turnover by 10 to 25%.
40 companies out of 182 screened companies were interviewed for the PIMLICO study, commissioned by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Education and Culture. The study was completed in December 2010.
The results show that European companies still lose contracts because of language and cultural barriers. However, some companies have learned from their past communication problems and realised how crucial language management is when operating across borders.
10 successful companies were identified as the "top performers". They share in common the fact that they have a wide and innovative language strategy in place, which they apply to most of their actions.
Another study carried out in 2006 showed that companies clearly benefit from implementing different language techniques.
The ELAN study included 195 SMEs in 29 countries, focusing on small and medium-sized businesses and language strategies. The report revealed that companies applying one or more of the following practices were more profitable than the average SME:
- developing a language strategy;
- hiring native speakers;
- recruiting people with proven language skills;
- using language professionals, such as translators or interpreters.
On the other hand, the study also showed that a significant number of contracts - in some cases worth up to several million euro - were lost in Europe due to language and cultural barriers.