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Business English Speakers Can Still Be Divided by a Common Language

조회 수 117 추천 수 0 2014.01.25 23:45:40

This is the VOA Special English Economics Report , from | 

Business is the most popular subject for international students in the United States. At last count, twenty-two percent of foreign students at American colleges and universities were studying business and management. The Institute of International Education in New York says engineering was the second most popular field.

Thomas Cosse is a professor of marketing and business at the University of Richmond in Virginia. He says international students who want to study business need to have good English skills. At the same time, native English speakers who work with foreign companies may need to learn some new communication skills themselves. This is because the world has more non-native speakers of English than native speakers. At the University of Richmond, teams of graduate students work with companies seeking to enter the American market. The students learn about writing market entry studies. 

The reports are written in English. But Professor Cosse tells his students to consider who will read them. He said his students have to write the report so that it can be understood by someone who is an English speaker but not a native English speaker. For example, he tells his students to avoid jargon and other specialized terms that people might not know in their own language. This can be good advice even when writing for other native speakers. But effective communication involves more than just words. Kay Westerfield is director of the international business communication program at the University of Oregon. She says you must have the language skills as well as cultural intelligence. 

Cultural intelligence means the need to consider local behaviors in everything from simple handshakes to speaking to large groups. Still, Kay Westerfield says the ability of foreign workers to speak English is becoming more important to companies looking to "off-source" operations to other countries.Also, she says English skills often provide a competitive edge for business students when they seek jobs. She said: "As one business student in West Africa put it, 'English is a lifeline.'

"For VOA Special English, I'm Alex Villarreal. We offer live English lessons Monday through Friday at the VOA Learning English page on Facebook. You can also read and listen to our programs and find activities for English learners at And we have podcasts on iTunes.(Adapted from a radio program broadcast 16Dec2011)


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