Breaking Language and Cultural Barriers: A Key to Improve Stakeholder Relationships of SMEs

Breaking Language and Cultural Barriers: A Key to Improve Stakeholder Relationships of SMEs

Sandra Bibiana Clavijo-Olmos
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3543-0.ch004
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This chapter describes how since successful communication with stakeholders is a vital process for every company, it is necessary to consider language and cultural barriers as external factors to internationalize SMEs, that company owners must consider carefully. The language industry is constantly growing and getting stronger to supply business needs and to support SMEs in their internationalization processes. A survey was applied to a sample of Translation Service Providers in order to analyze the physical, digital and human resources they use in their translation processes. It found that they use different state of the art digital resources, they do not really use physical resources frequently (different from dictionaries) and they include proofreaders and experts in different areas as human resources, in addition to specialized translators, in their processes. As a conclusion, Translation Service Providers are getting prepared to support companies and especially to promote the internationalization of SMEs, by helping them break language and cultural barriers.
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The Revista Dinero, a well-known business magazine, wrote about Colombian small and medium enterprises in its edition issued on September 16th, 2015. It stated that Small and Medium Enterprises not only offer 64% of employment in Colombia, but they also contribute with 30% of the GDP and participate with 94.6% of the industry. According to this magazine, they have become into a strong commitment to reach the internationalization of Economy and growth rates required by Colombia to decrease poverty. It means that Colombian SMEs are hardly supported to begin their internationalization processes. Programs like MIPYME INTERNACIONAL are created by PROCOLOMBIA (the Colombian entity that promotes international tourism, foreign investment and non-traditional exports) to encourage small and medium enterprises that have highly demanded products in international markets, to create their foreign trade areas, as specified in the website of PROCOLOMBIA. This program is mainly proposed for business in the agricultural, agro-industrial and manufacturing industry. It means that small and medium enterprises have excellent support and opportunities to expand their markets abroad.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Stakeholders: All the parties involved in a company.

Communication: The oral or written exchange of information to transmit ideas or feelings.

Language Strategies: Clear linguistic terms that allow companies have unified language policies.

Foreign Markets: Areas for trading abroad.

Language Service Providers: People or companies offering services related to the language such as translation, edition, transcription, revision and some others.

Translation Industry: Translation services market.

SMEs: According to Law 905 issued in 2004, SMEs in Spanish Pyme refers to the group of small and medium enterprises whose total assets are between 500 Colombian MMLW (COP) and 30000 Colombian MMLW.

Culture: Group of traditions, social behavior, ideas and attitudes of a particular society.

Linguistic Barrier: Obstacle like the lack of knowledge of a specific language that obstructs communication.

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