Speaking Your Customers' Language
Modern international trading practices are highlighting the growing importance of language training.
Modern-day business really does transcend national barriers. Thanks to sophisticated IT and communications systems, businesses can now market their products on a truly global scale. Theworld is indisputably becoming a smaller place, as service and manufacturing companies search the international marketplace for new suppliers and clients. Businesses must, however, be aware that once they expand the area in which they operate, they face increased competition. The standard and quality of their goods become increasingly important in keeping up with competitors. But most of all, it is the service element accompanying the goods which is crucial to a company's success in a particular market. This new philosophy has led to many companies, some of which have even offered products of a lesser quality, gaining success overseas.
Although globalisation may, in some senses, have brought national economies closer together, societies around the world still have radically different expectations, processes and standards. These are not a function of economic change, but are more deep-rooted and difficult to alter. They can be a major problem for businesses expanding abroad, with the greatest obstacle of all being the language barrier. If you have to deal with clients, suppliers and distributors in a range of countries, you will not only need the skills to communicate with them, you will also need to reconcile any national biases you have with the diverse ways of doing business that exist around the globe.
The value of effective communication is not to be underestimated. New technology such as videoconferencing and email has played a part in making the communication process easier, and it may also be possible that the introduction of language interpretation software will help with some global communications problems. But, of course, it is the human element of the communication process that is so vital in business, especially in negotiations, presentations and team-building. It is essential for managers to meet regularly with staff, customers and partners, so that issues can be discussed, messages communicated and feedback obtained.
The value of well-organised language training is immense, and can bring benefits to all levels and departments within a multinational organisation. Unfortunately, however, many organisations have a very narrow view when it comes to training of any kind. Often, an urgent requirement has to be identified before training is authorised. Then, a training company is employed or a programme is developed in-house, the team is trained, and that is seen as the end of the matter. However, the fact remains that training programmes are effective only if they are relevant to a company's broader, long-term needs. They should be regarded as an investment rather than a cost.
Changes in expectations and attitudes are certain to continue for companies that trade globally. Although such companies are not yet faced with their international partners and clients demanding that business be conducted in their mother tongue, they realise that overseas competition is increasing fast. If these companies want to continue to achieve success on the international trading circuit, they must be prepared to adapt to situations and speak the local language. If not, someone else will.
13 According to the first paragraph, improved communications have enabled companies to
A offer a wider variety of products and services.
B expand beyond their domestic markets.
C perform better than their international competitors.
D open more manufacturing facilities abroad.
14 Some companies have succeeded at an international level even though they have
A produced inferior goods.
B failed to adapt products for local markets.
C ignored the standards set by their competitors.
D reduced the standard of the service they offer.
15 Approaches to doing business vary between countries because of
A local economic considerations.
B the existence of cultural differences.
C strong wishes to remain independent.
D regulations about business practices.
16 The writer thinks that the use of modern technology will
A speed up the process of language interpretation.
B never replace the need for face-to-face interaction.
C help solve the problems involved in maintaining strong teams.
D not lead to greater communication between companies and clients.
17 A common weakness of training courses is that they
A are developed by the wrong team.
B do not give good value for money.
C are provided only if there is an immediate need.
D do not deal with a company's specific requirements.
18 Why should companies do business in the language of the countries they are operating in?
A to prevent other companies taking their business
B to help them find new international partners
C to meet clients' current expectations
D to become more aware of their competitors' activities
《Speaking Your Customers' Language》，说客户的语言。这篇文章强调了开发海外市场时说当地语言的重要性，层次清楚，答案也很明确。
13题，问根据第一段，改善的沟通能力可以使公司怎么样。答案是第一段的第二句话：Thanks to sophisticated IT and communications systems, businesses can now market their products on a truly global scale.感谢精密的IT和沟通系统，企业现在可以在一个真正的全球规模上开发它们的产品的市场。Globe是个关键的暗示，可以联想到海外市场。13题的B选项符合这个意思：在国内市场以外的地方扩张。A和C都没有提到，D不对，只说了可以在海外扩张，没有提到开更多的生产设备。
14题，说一些公司可以在国际水平上成功，即便是它们怎么样了。答案在第一段的最后几句：This new philosophy has led to many companies, some of which have even offered products of a lesser quality, gaining success overseas.这种新的哲学导致很多公司获得了海外的成功，它们当中的一些甚至提供了一些较差质量的产品。这里新的哲学是指前面提到的在特定市场上服务伴随产品才是至关重要的。答案A跟这一句的信息相吻合：成产次品。这里的inferior goods也就是原文的products of a lesser quality。
15题，问在不同国家做生意的方法不同的原因是什么。答案是第二段开头一段话：Although globalisation may, in some senses, have brought national economies closer together, societies around the world still have radically different expectations, processes and standards.世界各地有着极端不同的期望、过程和标准。后面又提到了一句“You will also need to reconcile any national biases you have with the diverse ways of doing business that exist around the globe.” 你需要用不同的做生意的方式来与民族偏见和解。这一段整体讲的就是要克服沟通上的障碍，理解了内容不难作答，选B，原因是文化差异的存在。
16题，问作者认为现代技术的使用会怎么样。这题可能会选A，事实上这一题需要理解第三段的意思，答案不是某句话能简单概括的。前面介绍说新技术，比如视频会议和电子邮件，会使沟通过程更简单。并且语言翻译软件(language interpretation software)会帮助解决一些国际沟通问题。后面一个BUT，才真正揭示了答案，说在沟通过程中人的作用是至关重要的。“It is essential for managers to meet regularly with staff, customers and partners”，经理们定期会见员工、客户和合作伙伴是很有必要的，从这一句可以看出作者的真正态度，是B选项所说的“现代技术永远也无法替代面对面互动的需要”。不选A，是因为BUT后面才算是作者的根本观点，而且A的speed up并不能算是很准确。
17题，问培训课程的一个常见弱点是什么。答案在第四段：Often, an urgent requirement has to be identified before training is authorised.确认有迫切的需要时培训才会被批准。从这一段后面的文字可以看出，作者认为很多公司的培训有些急功近利，可培训只有在和公司的长远需要相关时才是有效的。所以选C，作者认为缺点是只有马上需要时才会提供培训。这里的immediate need也就是前面说的urgent requirement。
18题，问为什么公司需要用他们工作所在国家的语言来做生意。答案在最后一段，也很明显：demanding that business be conducted in their mother tongue, they realise that overseas competition is increasing fast.。客户要求他们使用母语，这些公司也意识到海外竞争逐渐激烈。还有最后一句：If not, someone else will.如果他们不说当地的语言，其他人会说的。意思就是如果你不使用当地的语言做生意，其他人会取而代之的。A选项完全符合这个意思：防止其他公司占领了他们的业务。