How to Reduce Language Barriers in Offshore Outsourcing Projects?

How to Reduce Language Barriers in Offshore Outsourcing Projects?

Nowadays, offshore outsourcing of software development projects to countries with low labour costs has become routine. It indeed comes with advantages, but it can also create language barriers. As you are aware, language plays a vital role in offshore business. Although many people in the business world speak English, the workers you are outsourcing to might not speak it as their first language.

It may take a lot of effort and time to clear up any misconceptions and miscommunications that result from this. Any software business that wants to successfully outsource must understand and address the language barrier in offshore software development projects. This article will discuss reducing communication barriers in offshore outsourcing projects.

Tips for Bridging the Language Gap

For software development projects that are outsourced, overcoming language barriers is essential to project success. Businesses can ensure smooth collaboration with their outsourced teams and overcome language barriers by acknowledging the value of communication, spotting possible communication barriers, and putting effective strategies into place. There are several ways to get around the communication barriers, such as the following:

  • Get the Necessary Training
  • Talk Briefly and Clearly
  • Avoid Being Sarcastic
  • Embrace the Misused Words of Non-English Speakers
  • Politely Ask to Repeat If You Don’t Understand
  • Steer Clear of Using Your Local Slang, Idioms, and Jargon
  • Send A Follow-Up Email Or Text Message

1. Get the Necessary Training

Investing in and getting trained in languages and communication tools can help in dealing with communication challenges to a great extent. With a focus on topics like industry-specific jargon, technical terminology, and successful cross-cultural communication, language training programmes can be customised to the unique needs of the team. 

  • Irrespective of the languages spoken by team members, communication tools with integrated translation features, like real-time translation chat applications, can promote smooth communication. 
  • It increases team productivity and efficiency while also promoting a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

So, every outsourcing company should make it a norm to provide the necessary training for the workers and educate them to manage the outsourced projects efficiently and smoothly. It can also benefit the company and the team to build successful outsourcing or offshoring relationships.

2. Talk Briefly and Clearly

Always keep in mind to keep your conversation clear and concise when communicating with your outsourced team. Use simple terminology and clear pronunciation to encourage a transparent conversation so the team members don’t get confused and frustrated by failing to understand what you are trying to communicate. Maintaining a steady, comfortable pace and a confident, friendly tone will establish clear understanding and respect and ensure efficient communication.

3. Avoid Being Sarcastic

People enjoy being sarcastic as a form of humour while conversing. However, when mistranslated, it can also be regarded as impolite and lead to misunderstandings, especially when not speaking face-to-face. The other person might not see sarcasm as a joke and take offence when it is contextual, and they were not raised in the same circumstances as you. So, it is safe to avoid being sarcastic.

4. Embrace the Misused Words of Non-English Speakers

Misusing words or using them in ways that are difficult for you to understand when speaking English as a second language in certain countries is typical. Try to correct them courteously rather than taking offence at this. Remember that intonation differs according to cultural context as well. 

For an employee, something that might seem harsh or abrupt to you could be direct and professional. To get to a mutual understanding, be patient and explain how tone and language translate to you.

5. Politely Ask to Repeat If You Don’t Understand

As mentioned earlier, intonation, vocabulary, and accent are all prone to causing misunderstandings in conversation. So, if you find it difficult to follow your team member’s accent or pronunciation, don’t hesitate to ask them to repeat what they said politely. Ask them to clarify anything they said if you are unclear about their use of vocabulary. 

It will help you grasp and comprehend them better. When it comes to getting the development done correctly, there is no reason to be bashful or ashamed about attempting to avoid ambiguity.

6. Steer Clear of Using Your Local Slang, Idioms, and Jargon

Some people speak in terms unique to their culture and unlikely to be understood by someone from another culture, such as idioms, slang, and jargon. They will find it difficult to follow and understand, creating a communication barrier between the team and the company. For instance, American jargon like “duh,” “bummer,” and “y’all” is frequently used and can be challenging for non-native English speakers to understand.

A possible solution to this issue is to create a shared vocabulary and terminology that the team can use to communicate ideas, needs, and expectations to one another in a more effective and efficient manner. It can also be easier for everyone to stay in agreement by ensuring that glossaries, style guides, and documentation are provided in this common language.

7. Send A Follow-Up Email Or Text Message

After speaking with your team via video or voice call, send an email or a chat message to follow up. People usually find reading and comprehending English much easier than hearing it spoken. You can make your goals and expectations clear and understandable by sending a well-written, grammatically correct email or text highlighting your call session.

Outsourcing has become a popular option for businesses looking to streamline their software development processes in today’s interconnected world. Communication barriers are just one of the difficulties that come with working with an outsourced team. The secret to successful software development is effective communication, and when language becomes a barrier, it can have a big influence on the project’s outcome.

Language barriers will always exist, and miscommunications will occasionally occur. 

Nonetheless, if you are patient and open with your team, you can minimise misunderstandings and facilitate accessible communication, which will ultimately help your project succeed. Make use of the tips mentioned in the article to do so.

Interesting Links:

Effective Management of Offshore Teams

Cultural Barriers to Offshore Outsourcing

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