Years ago I was speaking with an international human resources manager for Volvo who was based out of the United States but in charge of director placement in offices all over the globe. I recall the curtness of his response in regards to Volvo’s language proficiency requirements for international managers: “You speak English, or you don’t work here. Period.” Volvo, like most other large international companies requires those in management positions to be fluent in English. No exceptions. When conducting international business around the world, you will find this trend to be just as true when doing business in Mexico as anywhere else. As we mention on our website under translation and interpretation services, when working with upper level management at large, reputable Mexican and international companies, you will come across highly educated and talented employees who speak excellent English. This is especially true in the Monterrey region.
However, do not limit your business practices in Mexico to large companies with bi-lingual management. Throughout Mexico, there is a myriad of companies that are already importing and exporting and doing business internationally whose management and owners do not speak English. Whether you are walking a trade show or perhaps have a booth at an expo in Mexico in attempt to sell your product or service, or perhaps you’re searching for Mexican suppliers, having skilled, bi-lingual interpreters on hand is a must. Also, when sourcing product from Mexico, manufacturing in Mexico and importing from Mexico, you are most likely going to need bi-lingual people on your team representing you to ensure that the job is done right. As we will be talking about quite a bit on this blog, when in need of translators and interpreters in Mexican business, it is imperative to have professionals who are not only bi-lingual, but also bi-cultural. Why is this? Mexicans do not communicate the same way as we do in the Western world. If you want to learn more about this, read our book about Mexican Business Culture, as we have an entire chapter detailing the way in which Mexicans communicate in business. In short, Mexicans do not always say “No” when they want to. Furthermore, they may not tell you exactly what they are thinking because of cultural differences. When doing business in Mexico, interpreters and translators who can also function as consultants on the side will be of the best service to you. In many cases in Mexico and Latin America, a businessperson may be trying to say one thing but in a different way than is typical in the West. In such cases, it would be best to have translators, interpreters and consultants on your team who can communicate concepts and ideas across languages and cultures.