While the British Council calculates that English is only the third largest language in the world, with about 2 billion speakers, English has emerged as the international language of business communication, particularly in certain industries such as travel, hospitality, engineering and construction, healthcare and finance.
The History of English as a Business Language
English spread throughout the world as a result of English colonial rule and enabled many of the native people of the countries they governed to learn English. English became accepted as the standard for communication in many African and Asian countries which had different languages and dialects, and English soon became an accepted standard language for global trade and commerce. In the modern world, English is a key in several major global industries.
Business English for Travel
English is required for all airline crews and for air traffic controllers. In addition, English is the standard for the shipping and maritime industries. Excellent spoken English as well as command of the written language are highly essential.
Business English for the Hospitality Industry
Hotels around the world are constantly looking for English-speaking staff to work at the reservations desk and in the restaurants and other facilities offered at the hotel. Even smaller establishments such as bed and breakfasts and family-run hotels are eager to have English speakers on staff.
Many people who wish to work in the hospitality industry will study English as a Foreign Language or English as a Second Language classes in order to improve their English and to advance their career. They should be able to speak English well and have a good written standard for standard tasks like billing, giving directions, and general business correspondence.
Business English for Engineering and Construction
Students wishing to study engineering and construction will often take specialized English classes as well in order to be able to create more job opportunities for themselves outside of their own country, or within their country on large, internationally funded projects. They need a high standard of both spoken and written communication and technical English.
Business English for the Healthcare Professions
Doctors and nurses from overseas will often take specialized English classes in order to have the opportunity to find a position in a good hospital in their own or in an English-speaking country. They require a high standard of spoken and written communication, as well as of very precise and accurate medical vocabulary in English.
Business English for Finance
Many of the world's largest stock exchanges are based in English speaking countries. These include The New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ, the American Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange, Toronto, Australia, and Johannesburg. English has become a key language for investment, foreign exchange, and banking.
Many large corporations organize and pay for business English classes for their staff. Ambitious students from overseas often wish to study in an English speaking country in order to improve their English and also their job prospects as well. They require a high standard of spoken English and a clear grasp of financial vocabulary.
Business English for Computing
English has become one of the key languages of the internet. Anyone wishing to do work with computers or do business online needs a basic command of business English and should be able to spell common words accurately.
Thus, keeping in mind the above-mentioned advantages of Business English, we can say that Business English has become an integral part of the world of Business.