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These days, more and more Japanese candidates are looking for job opportunities in international companies. Lucky for them, many companies around the globe are making efforts to expand their business to Japan. However, these companies mostly look for bilingual employees who speak both English and Japanese as these people are the ones who can help companies save money, build a better connection with foreign consumers and improve localization efforts.
The question is, how exactly do you define someone as being bilingual?
Being bilingual does not mean that one has to be a native user of both languages. How and why a person acquired their languages influence their own, and other people’s perception of the word “bilingual.” However, to be called bilingual, one needs to be capable of speaking the language to a degree where they can communicate in that language with ease. They do not have to feel equally at home with both languages, but it is essential that they can overcome the communication barrier that occurs when these two different cultures/languages interact with each other. That is to say, a bilingual individual should also be bicultural to a certain degree. A language is not just about vocabulary and grammar. When learning a language, one learns the habits and customs of people speaking that language as well.
In the business world, bilinguals should be able to speak both languages at a “business level.” When a company looks for Japanese-English bilingual employees, ideally they are looking for people who can speak both business Japanese and business English. Not only that, those that are bilingual should be open-minded and have the ability to take on board a new working style or working culture. Someone who is bilingual should be able to cooperate well with colleagues from various cultural backgrounds. With the continuously evolving world we are living in, Japan is no longer seen as a special economic case. International companies are slowly applying the same processes and standards to Japan as they are to the rest of the world. Bilingual individuals will be the ones who can embrace this and thrive.
Bilingualism, nonetheless, is not a black and white definition. It is a lot like being rich. At what point someone can be defined as rich is questionable.
“I’m not bilingual. I never grew up speaking two languages;"
“I can speak English but it’s not going to be enough to work for a multinational company”
We have come across quite a few individuals who expressed this sentiment but more often than not, they were actually underestimating their skills. Being both bilingual and bicultural might sound like a high standard, but we have had many candidates who were qualified and were accepted into great multinational companies. If you are a candidate who lives in Japan and is unsure of your language capabilities, as well as how to fit in with a global company’s culture, come to RGF Professional Recruitment Japan. We are here to assist you with any questions you may have about your language capabilities and at the same time, connect you with some of the very best multinational companies in the world who are in search of bilingual talents.