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Exporters face language barriers


Exporters face language barriers

Auckland, 8 August 2013 – Half of New Zealand exporters face business challenges because of cultural or language barriers when exporting to a market that does not speak English, according to a recent exporter survey conducted by DHL Express NZ.

The survey asked New Zealand exporters about their approach to the culture and language of their export markets. It revealed that where English is not the primary language of the market(s) they export to, 91% do not speak that language.

While 62% of exporters think it's important to speak the language of the market(s), only 47% would consider actually learning that language.

“What we’re seeing in the data bears out what we’ve encountered anecdotally with regards to learning other languages. However what is noteworthy is the extent to which this is impacting exporters,” says Tim Baxter, country manager, DHL Express New Zealand.

“Another way of looking at it is that every second business transaction an exporter is conducting to a market where English isn’t the primary language is potentially being held up or costing the exporters business.”

By far the overwhelming manner in which exporters are conducting their business in these markets is by relying on the people they are dealing with speaking English. Fifty nine per cent (59%) of exporters claim they don't need to speak the local language because the people they deal with speak English. This is followed by 27% having a business partner based in the export market who manages all the communication for them and 26% conducting all or most communication via email, then using translation software such as Google Translate.

“We recognize it can be daunting exporting to a market when you’re not familiar with the language and businesses practices. This is why at DHL in New Zealand we have Customer Service Representatives who are fluent in over 11 languages including Mandarin, Malay, Taiwanese, Japanese, Hindi, Spanish, Portuguese, Fijian and all Polynesian languages,” says Tim Baxter.

“Our team assists customers with Customs protocols, goods clearance and guiding exporters through the sometimes-confusing paperwork required of different markets. We provide an important interface between the exporters and any officials at the export destination, ensuring their products arrive at their destination on time.”

-Ends-


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