University “St. Kliment Ohridski”- Bitola, Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality, Kej Makedonija 95, 6000 Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia
Results of European researches show a link between successful foreign trade and foreign languages, specifically between export and using the language of the export market instead of English as a lingua franca. Knowing the language of the business partner can be a deciding factor for a successful deal. Business partners from German-speaking countries are more open to communication and making personal contacts in business meetings if the person they are talking to shows great interest by knowing and using their native language. They are more likely to build a real relationship with their foreign business partner, which positively reflects on the deals.
The problem is that the level of German of most of the foreign business persons is not sufficient to use it for negotiations, so they don’t use it at all, and instead they interact in English as a lingua franca. In order to examine the need for knowing German in Macedonian export and its coverage, an empirical research was conducted in small and medium production enterprises in the Republic of Macedonia. Most of the enterprises have unmet needs for knowledge of German so they use only English in contacts with the business partners. The results of the survey and the proof of the directly proportional link between the knowledge of the language of the export market and the export performance, by the theoretical research with documentation analysis from other surveys in Europe, were presented to the companies that participated in the survey. The need for German-language knowledge for overall communication in business meetings cannot be achieved in short period of time, so they were advised to use German whenever appropriate with their current level of German language skills.
A complementary research with the same enterprises was conducted on the impact of using German besides English as a lingua franca. The success rate was compared to the percentage of success of the deals when only English was used. The results show that using both German and English, especially in the first contact, increases the percentage. Such multilingual communication has the same impact if compared with the researches of using the native language of the business partner.
Foreign business partners should start their meetings in German even though the level of their German is low. The more important issues can further be discussed in English as a lingua franca. It is important to trigger the mental process of motivation of the potential business partner which is performed in his native language – German.
Foreign language use, business meetings, German, English, impact
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