Just what constitutes a good level of professional English? This is a question which must perplex those seeking to improve their communication skills – whether on an individual or on a corporate basis.
There are many definitions combining relevant vocabulary with the four key skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking, but the most important goal for the international professional is excellent communication.
In The Economist’s 2012 Global English survey, 97% of global business executives said poor communication had led to misunderstandings in the past year and 83% had seen harmful business outcomes as a result of language misunderstandings.
A recent BBC report by Kate McGeown announced that the Philippines is becoming a destination of choice for English language learners and it markets itself as the world’s third largest English speaking nation. But ‘studying in the Philippines is not for the faint-hearted’ she writes. Quite apart from the bureaucracy, corruption and pollution, there is the problem of Taglish.
Taglish – a corruption of English and the native language of Tagalog – is used by most English speakers in the Philippines, and it leads to serious communication problems. Signs are misspelled, usage is often uniquely Filipino and communication breaks down as a consequence.
So, why do people go to Manila to learn English? The answer is that it costs less to go to language school there than to the UK or the US, and this is attractive to some in Latin America and Eastern Europe.
But this is a false economy, as students will often have to pay again to learn English properly if they wish to gain a license to practice their professions in the United Kingdom or the United States.
There are, according to the British Council, over 1.5 billion learners of English around the world. Most are children who learn English because they have to, whether they like it or not. But many are adult learners who are learning for business or pleasure.
For those who are learning English for professional purposes, some want to use their language in order to work and settle in the US or UK, while by far the majority know that improving their English will have great benefits for them in the wider international business community. All of them know that they need to improve if they are to succeed.
Professionals wishing to work in the UK are required by their authorising bodies – the General Medical Council, the Law Society, the General Teaching Council or the Bar Council – to achieve an advanced level of English before they can practice and progress in their professions. This is right and proper, but it is not easy.
However, the rewards are high. Salaries for those with excellent English are consistently reported to be higher than for those without, as are job satisfaction and social rewards, such as conversational and social success.
At a corporate level, companies who invest in Professional English language development, in order to meet the needs of the globalising marketplace, see substantial organisational and bottom-line benefits.
What price professional English? As you can see, good professional and business English is, if not quite priceless, utterly invaluable to the ambitious professional.
At E4P, there are no false economies (and no Taglish), just high-quality professional English language learning: 1-to-1 personalised programmes designed to meet the needs of the international English language learner.
We are dedicated to improving your English language communication and helping you to achieve success.
Talk to us today about The E4P Advantage – the personal and professional benefits that come from improving your proficiency in English.