Businesses across regions recognise the crucial role of overcoming language and cultural barriers

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A recent comprehensive survey conducted by PAB Group across South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the East Midlands has unveiled critical insights into how businesses are navigating the challenges posed by language and cultural barriers.

The findings reveal that a significant majority of businesses have encountered language barriers that adversely affected their operations and led to missed opportunities. Despite these challenges, businesses are actively seeking and utilising professional translation services and are unanimous in their recognition of the importance of language and cultural competencies.

The survey was undertaken by PAB SEMA4 – a dedicated division of the PAB Group, specialising in supporting international trade through targeted services and expertise.

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A notable insight from the survey is the proactive approach businesses are taking towards multilingual communications and marketing materials, with many leveraging professional translation services and in-house resources. The desire for comprehensive services, including intercultural communication training and language skill development workshops, highlights the broader recognition of the need to effectively navigate cultural complexities.

PAB SEMA4 survey reveals role of overcoming language barriers for business successPAB SEMA4 survey reveals role of overcoming language barriers for business success
PAB SEMA4 survey reveals role of overcoming language barriers for business success

Iwona Lebiedowicz, founder of PAB Languages Centre, said: “We are committed to addressing these needs by offering a suite of services designed to empower businesses to overcome these barriers and succeed in the global market.”

The survey across diverse business sectors revealed consistent concerns and insights regarding language and cultural barriers in business operations. It showed:

· A significant majority of respondents have encountered language barriers in their business operations. 100% of participants from South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and 80% in the East Midlands survey indicated facing such barriers.

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· There's a notable impact on business opportunities due to language barriers, with 100% in Doncaster, 67% in Lincolnshire, and 50% in the East Midlands survey reporting lost opportunities.

· Over 60% of respondents are actively exploring new tools and AI technology to overcome these barriers, with 100% expressing concerns regarding privacy, copyrights, accuracy, and the risk to reputation from translation discrepancies.

· All respondents engage in international trade, underscoring the importance of addressing language barriers for business growth and expansion.

· The majority of businesses have used professional translation services, indicating a proactive approach to overcoming language barriers.

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The survey highlighted several aspects of cultural differences impacting business, including communication style, marketing strategies, and customer interactions, pointing to the complex nature of navigating global business environments.

More than 100 businesses responded to the survey, which was carried out between 20th January and 20th March 2024.

“This survey highlights the importance of how companies can miss out on business opportunities if they don’t address potential language and cultural barriers,” added Iwona.

“Whether you're taking initial steps towards international expansion or looking to strengthen your presence in existing markets, PAB SEMA4 is your partner in achieving seamless and successful global engagement.”

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PAB Languages was founded in the East Midlands and now operates across the UK, with offices and Chamber of Commerce memberships in places such as Cambridgeshire, Boston in Lincolnshire, Doncaster and Sheffield in Yorkshire, and in Nottingham.

PAB SEMA4 is at the forefront of providing dedicated services designed to empower exporters with the tools and knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of international trade successfully. From comprehensive market research services covering 23 countries that pave the way for informed decision-making and streamlined overseas entry, to localisation strategies that ensure brands resonate with foreign markets, its offerings are tailored to support the growth of export business. Moreover, its cultural awareness and communication training equips individuals with the insights to understand and bridge cultural differences, enhancing competitiveness and effectiveness in the global marketplace.

For more information about how PAB SEMA4 can support businesses in overcoming language and cultural barriers, visit