Learning a Second Language in Construction is Always a Good Idea

Written by LetsBuild

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Let’s start a bit different this time. Imagine that you own a prestigious international construction company. I bet that you’re already enjoying that thought, aren’t you? Now, imagine that you have to travel around the world to numerous construction sites and communicate with the local construction managers and workers in order to design and develop a solid project. Speaking English may not be an option in many countries, so learning a second language could be the best idea.

There’s no doubt that the construction field is becoming more multinational and that people from different continents and cultural backgrounds come together in order to design, organize and complete a construction project. The 10 following points can show why it’s always a good idea to learn a second language and it’s beginner’s mistake to underestimate the power of communication on the construction site:

1. Increase work efficiency

Communication is key in any kind of project and language is the tool thanks to which you can make anything happen. When you communicate well with your colleagues, it’s easier to boost your team’s productivity and get results of higher quality. On top of that, giving instructions becomes much simpler and there are way less misunderstandings.

2. Construction is already a multi-language market

As we mentioned above, construction is a very globalized industry. The example of the United States is quite representative. WCA Flaghip Building and Gymnasium study showed that, Hispanics are covering at the moment 21.4% of the US workforce in construction. It’s clear, then, that there are also other languages with strong presence on site and project managers shouldn’t take the use of English for granted.

3. You increase your chances of expanding into new markets

Sometimes you may have the knowledge and a great service, but not the proper way to communicate to the market. A second language can help tremendously towards that direction. Despite the fact that construction is a very international field, initiating negotiations with a non-English speaking company in their language is definitely a huge plus. When your competitors will start getting lost in translation, you will be already moving closer to sealing the deal.

4. You have a significant competitive advantage

Being able to speak a second language can really boost your career. Who wouldn’t want to have in his/her construction company someone who can communicate with potential clients or other construction agents in a different language than just English? A second language is, without doubt, a strong investment on your CV.

5. Workers may not speak English at all

When you are working on international projects, you have to keep in mind that there will be many locals working on your construction sites. It goes without saying that, you can’t expect all of them to speak English. Unless you want to get trapped using your own “construction babel” on site.

6. You reduce safety risks

Clearer instructions lead to more solid communication and as a result to less risks taken. In other words, it’s a significant factor in your effort to stay ahead of risk. By learning a second language, you can cover any potential gaps in communication which could be the reason for dangerous or even deadly incidents under certain circumstances.

7. There’s full disclosure in terms of communication

A construction manager has to know everything around an ongoing project. Especially when you have to cooperate with so many different people, it’s vital that you can work without limitations. Otherwise, you will,constantly, have to rely on somebody else in order to communicate with the other project agents. Be independent by learning a second language.

8. Lack of communication can be used as an excuse to overlook directions

There’s a big number of people working on a construction project/site and let’s face it some of them may not be the most easy-going people or hard-working people. If you are able to speak on their language, you eliminate the possibility of them coming up with excuses to ignore guidances or plan changes.

9. Language can be a barrier in building long-term relationships with other colleagues

Work is more than just carrying out projects. It’s also about making friends and create  connections with people that you are daily sharing the same challenges with. This is just impossible, if you can’t speak the same language. Don’t miss out this essential part of the working experience, just because you are too lazy to start learning some Spanish/ Italian etc.

10. Being bilingual is neat!

Being bilingual just rocks. Simple as that! Recent studies have showcased that people can develop their cognitive abilities and improve significantly their decision-making skills when learning a new language. To put it simply, coming in contact with a second language helps you become smarter.

Advantages of learning a second language in construction

It’s obvious, then, that learning a second language in construction can be one of the best ideas that you ever had. In that manner, you can bring down the communication barriers and open the door to new opportunities for you and your construction company.