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How does interpretation boost international team productivity?

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8 min

Multinational teams are showing continuous success in the modern world. Leaders design such units to accommodate the best experts despite their location, thus generating culturally diverse, globally appealing ideas. Success comes from the dynamic workforce: with varied work experiences and different views, team members can overcome strategic and organizational challenges.

Despite the cultural advantage in collaboration, research shows that such teams may face many challenges: ineffective communication, uncertainty, mistrust, and language diversity, to name a few from the CIPD 2021 report. Additionally, international teams mostly rely on remote work and are often evaluated based on their productivity: the most crucial factor for work quality. 

What are the main components of productivity?

Productivity has a complex composition, but understanding the way it works can uplift teamwork. Managers can focus on increasing team productivity from these three perspectives:

  1. Work environment. It is the catalyst to unleash the best abilities of an employee and can serve as a safe zone for expression. Specialists say that the environment is not just structural: people care about much more than just lightning, furniture, or equipment. They also seek a friendly, supportive and cooperative environment.
  2. Employee satisfaction. A happy employee can boost your sales up to 37%. Foster meaningful relationships, identify satisfied employees, and engage with them for better results. Training programs can also help employees stay motivated.
  3. Technology and innovation. With the trends changing rapidly, this field has to be on your continuous lookout. Select the latest communication platforms, management tools, and create an internal system to track your employees’ productivity.

No matter how simple it may sound right now, all of these components are much harder to establish in multinational teams. If you’re trying to boost productivity in your international team, always pay attention to multi-linguistics - the use of several languages to express your thoughts. 

When teams speak multiple languages at the workplace, modern solutions can help you handle the whole process. Interpretation can play a massive role in the game, and RSI platforms like Interactio have already helped multilingual teams connect by introducing simultaneous interpretation to their workflow. 

Wait, but why is it so important?

Language is the key player in team performance

When communicating face-to-face, team members unintentionally analyze the body language of their teammates. Their gestures and facial expressions tell a lot in between verbal interactions. Remote teams lose this important cue due to computer-mediated communication. In this case, tone of voice, pitch, intonation, and spoken language itself takes the front line.

While language might not affect individual productivity, it is the main factor for a team’s productivity. Remember how we mentioned such blockers as ineffective communication, uncertainty, and mistrust? Well, language plays an essential role in defining the process of efficient communication. 

For example, researchers from Indiana University, in collaboration with Middle East Technical University, have published their results regarding multicultural communication cues. One critical point is that non-native speakers who use English as a second language often interpret irrelevant messages (phrases, idioms, sayings) as offensive statements. 

There is another study in the Journal of International Business Studies that tackles the role of language. Scientists have identified that language barriers cause uncertainty and lead to mistrust among team members. Thus leaders should take consistent actions to address the problem. In simple words, imagine trust as a mediator between the team’s input into work and performance as an outcome. The more you trust your teammates, the more productive the team becomes. 

Much more research constantly highlights that linguistic aspects are crucial to increasing productivity, but teams seek effectiveness daily. Businesses are already using interpretation to overcome language limitations, but can it also lift your team’s productivity?

Interpretation as a tool to increase international team productivity

Remote simultaneous interpretation is a powerful tool that breaks down the barrier of different languages. It can also boost productivity in virtual workplaces by overcoming the problems that multi-cultural teams face.

Here are four ways interpretation can increase your team’s productivity:

  1. Build trust, save time. Teams go through many processes that are time-consuming when they neglect language services. Imagine negotiating for a job position - there are many terms to discuss, and you are not a native speaker. You have to take more time to translate information yourself, which might not be professional, and team leaders may be forced to wait. In another situation, interpreters could simultaneously interpret the negotiation and keep the efficient flow of the meeting without any miscommunication.
  2. Increase motivation. Before, e-leaders had to be very cautious of the way they communicated to their international teams. Imagine receiving a motivational, encouraging speech in your native language. No misunderstandings, no language knowledge gaps. With the help of RSI, leaders can express themselves in their mother tongue language, and each member of the team can understand them fully in their language.
  3. Make communication engaging. You might experience some trouble communicating with your teammates due to different linguistic backgrounds, but keep in mind that communication becomes much more effective if you speak in your mother tongue. In high-level meetings, this will help you avoid miscommunication and misinterpretation. As mentioned before, it will also help foster relationships between your team members.
  4. Embrace equality and avoid power distortion. The new future of work is remote and multinational, but it comes with one tradeoff - increasing inequality. Let’s think about lingua franca - a language systematically used to make communication possible between people who aren’t sharing a first language. Some of the employees are fluent in that language, and leaders tend to listen to them more often while leaving others behind. With interpretation, each international team member is set for success, expressing their ideas equally. What’s more, team leaders can learn a lot from the members who seemed quiet because of the language barrier.

Working in a multicultural team is challenging but rewarding, especially if you set out to destroy the language barrier with remote simultaneous interpretation. 

Thinking of the ways to increase your team efficiency already? Learn more about Interactio multilingual business meetings for small businesses, corporations, and organizations of all scales. 

Are you ready to uplift the performance of your team together?

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Published on

August 19, 2021

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