Our inbox and social media came alive – first with excitement that the popular BBC show was sending candidates on a buying spree in France. Then the despair as, with a few notable exceptions, the candidates demonstrated how not to speak French. Strangled words recalled from school mixed with English and all too often said with an accent worth of ‘Allo Allo’.
To be fair we are talking about The Apprentice, with each scene edited to elicit the best response from the viewer it doesn’t reflect the real world… does it? Sadly it does. Maybe not so gung ho and dramatic as in the show, but lack of a language really does impact.
We have often blogged about the importance of speaking the right language in business. There are many profits lost in translation and suppliers not even contacted because of the lack of language skills – even if they are a more competitive supplier.
While many nationalities will reward holiday makers who try to speak the local lingo, in business it can appear unprofessional and can be counterproductive. Rest assured speaking English loudly and slowly in any accent is not an effective business solution.
As we said on The Apprentice they did rely upon a handful who recalled enough French to be effective and certainly it is often easier to develop someone with some knowledge, although equally a clean sheet is just as good. The point is in business you need to train your best people in languages if there is any likelihood they will need to speak another language, whatever the reason.
At our language centre in Newbury we look at our younger students who are becoming bilingual and the many who are becoming multilingual and it is clear, whether they only use the language on holiday, or take it into business, that they have a distinct advantage. And well, imagine if they end up on a future episode of The Apprentice!
So hopefully anyone in the Newbury, West Berkshire or wider area who is serious about speaking a language competently will be paraphrasing Lord Sugar and stating clearly:
“VICI Language Dynamics… You’re Hired!”