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press release

Oct. 6, 2011, 10:00 a.m. EDT

Forbes Insights Study Outlines the Importance of Multilingualism in Business

Survey shows how language abilities can help companies expand overseas as well as boost productivity, both globally and within the U.S.

NEW YORK, Oct 06, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- In an increasingly global economy, U.S. companies will perform better by hiring individuals who can communicate in foreign languages and by helping current employees develop language skills, according to a new study released by Forbes Insights (available at www.forbes.com/forbesinsights ).

"Language Study: Reducing the Impact of Language Barriers" is based on an exclusive survey of more than 100 executives at large U.S. businesses (annual revenues of more than $500 million). This study was sponsored by Rosetta Stone Ltd.

According to the study, more than half (65%) of companies surveyed face language barriers that contribute to inefficiency, ineffective collaboration and low productivity, among other factors.

"These results highlight the challenge confronting the U.S.," said Kasia Moreno, editorial director of Forbes Insights. "America is at a disadvantage relative to much of Europe and Asia, where foreign language study--especially the study of English--has long been an effective part of the curriculum, and U.S. companies must compensate for that."

Other key findings include:

-- Overseas assignments have become more common among executives. Nine in ten respondents agreed that international firms would not be able to compete successfully without world-class managers worldwide.

-- Three-quarters of respondents agreed that it was easier for foreign nationals to work in the U.S. than for U.S. nationals to work overseas because they are more likely to be multilingual. This obviously leaves U.S.-based organizations, as well as many Americans, at a disadvantage.

-- Companies are responding to the need for multilingual executives. Two in three firms (66%) said they expected U.S. executives going abroad to have basic or intermediate proficiency in the native language.

About Forbes Insights

Forbes Insights ( www.forbes.com/forbesinsights ) is the strategic research practice of Forbes Media, publisher of Forbes magazine and Forbes.com. Taking advantage of a proprietary database of senior-level executives in the Forbes community, Forbes Insights' research covers a wide range of vital business issues, including: talent management; marketing; financial benchmarking; risk and regulation; small/midsize business; and more.

SOURCE: Forbes