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Five attributes that multi-lingual candidates can offer any organisation 多语言求职者带给企业的五项优秀品质 @Hays

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Simon Lance 兰熙蒙

Managing Director, Greater China at Hays 瀚纳仕大中华区执行总监


More and more businesses are expanding their workforces and client bases to all corners of the globe, a trend facilitated by rapid advances in communication technology, the reduced cost of outsourcing certain services abroad, and increasing levels of skilled migration. Therefore it is no surprise that the demand for multilingual candidates has increased, and in some countries, doubled, over the past five years.


如今,越来越多的企业正在将员工和客户基础延伸到全球的各个角落。这是一种趋势,它使企业能够享受到快速发展的通讯技术带来的便利、海外外包服务节约的成本以及更高素质的外国人才。因此,多语言人才的需求自然就增多了,在过去的五年里,有些国家对多语言人才的需求甚至翻了一倍。

The main benefits of hiring a multilingual candidate are clear; not only will the candidate be able to communicate with your foreign-speaking markets, therefore allowing you to further expand your customer base, but they will also bring with them an increased level of cultural intelligence. From phrases which can easily get lost in translation, to etiquettes and traditions, these candidates will typically be more attuned to cultural differences than many of their monolingual counterparts, even more so if they have lived and worked in these foreign countries.

雇佣多语言人才的主要好处是显而易见的。一方面他们可以与企业的外语市场进行沟通,让企业可以进一步拓宽客户基础;另一方面,他们还可以提升企业的跨文化理解能力。难以正确翻译的语句、礼节和传统——这些人才显然能够比单一语言的同事更擅长应对这种文化差异,即便单语言员工已经在该外国市场工作了多年。

Whilst the above advantages of hiring a multilingual candidate are undeniable, the extent to which they will benefit your business will depend upon the opportunity you are hiring for. Interestingly, however, there are some less obvious, but incredibly important attributes which multilingual candidates can bring to any opportunity; attributes which you may have previously overlooked:

多语言人才具备以上毋庸置疑的优势,不过他们究竟能为企业带来多大好处,还要看企业在招聘时所给予他们的机会。有趣的是,多语言人才还拥有一些对所有职位来说都并不明显但却非常重要的特质,而这些特质一直以来往往被企业所忽视:

1. Ambition and drive 抱负和动力

Learning another language takes determination. In fact, some estimate that it can take between 600 and 1100 hours to learn a language depending on difficulty. If a candidate has learned another language whilst also employed or studying another subject, this speaks volumes, not only about their work ethic, but also about their determination, both desirable traits for any employer.

学一门外语是需要决心的。相关统计显示,根据所学语言的难度不同,掌握一门语言实际上需要花费6001000个小时。如果一位求职者掌握了一门外语的同时还在工作或者学习其它科目,这就说明他/她不仅有职业道德,还很有决心。这两点都是雇主想要的特质。


2. Self-improvement 自我改进

Nobody can self-improve and grow as a professional unless they are willing to learn from their mistakes. As Benny Lewis, author of “Fluent in 3 months” points out “making mistakes is the only way to become fluent in a language”. From being corrected over misused phrases, to saying the wrong word in conversation, multilingual candidates are no strangers to continuous learning and development.

没人可以通过自我改进来成长为一名专业人士,除非他们愿意在自己的错误中汲取教训。就如Benny Lewis在他的《三个月掌握一门外语》中提到的:让语言流利的唯一方法就是犯错。大多数多语言求职者曾被别人纠正用错的语句,也曾在对话中说错词,他们对于不断的学习和改进并不陌生。


A multilingual person will therefore often have a good degree of humility. They don’t view errors as taboo or something to be afraid of, because from their experience of learning a new language, they know that errors are essential to self-improvement.

因此一位多语言人才通常都比较谦虚。他们不认为错误是不可抹去的印记或是什么可怕的事物,因为从他们学习外语的经历中,他们认识到:错误是自我改进的根本。


3. Multitasking 多任务处理

Whilst you might advise against trying to juggle too many tasks at once, office life can be unavoidably hectic at times. And being able to switch between tasks without losing focus is a strong skill to have.

你可能会反对试图同时进行多个任务的行为,但职场上的忙碌有时是不可避免的。而能够在任务之间切换并保持注意力集中就是一项很重要的能力。

Interestingly, a study conducted by Judith Kroll, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, found that multilingual people are particularly skilled at multitasking effectively. Kroll describes that because multilingual people will often need to switch between languages, they develop their mental agility and the ability to quickly shift their focus. Kroll concludes that "We would probably refer to most of these cognitive advantages as multi-tasking."

有趣的是,著名心理学教授Judith Kroll的一项研究发现:多语言人群特别擅长有效处理多个任务。Judith Kroll解释说,那是因为多语言人群经常要在语言之间切换,他们思维敏捷,能够迅速切换自己注意力的重心。Kroll总结为我们把这些认知优势归纳为多任务处理能力。

4. Decision making 决断力

There are often situations at work when we are presented with a challenge and a number of potential solutions. However, making a sound judgement call in these types of situations doesn’t come naturally to everyone.

在工作中,我们经常会遇到一个挑战以及应对它的多种可能方案。但是,能够对不同的情况做出好的判断可不是每个人与生俱来的能力。

I recently read an article which cited a study showing how multilingual people are very rational and resolute in their decision making, because when weighing up the solutions, they will sometimes think over the issue in second language and see whether their decision still makes sense.

我最近读了一篇文章,其中引用了一项研究,该研究表明多语言人群的决断都非常理性和果断,因为在斟酌解决方案时,他们有时会用第二语言再考虑这个问题,从而检查他们的决定是否有意义。

In addition, the study found that “a foreign language provides a distancing mechanism that moves people from the immediate intuitive system to a more deliberate mode of thinking.” The study goes on to explain how a multilingual person will consider the options in their foreign language, which will have less emotional significance than their native tongue.

此外,该研究还发现一门外语会提供一种距离思考机制,它会让人从即时的本能思考转变为一种更为深思熟虑的思考模式。研究进一步解释了多语言人群使用他们的第二语言思考选择的过程,这使得他们的抉择比母语思考的结果更少受到情绪的影响。

5. Divergent thinking  发散思维

We have talked before about the danger of “groupthink” to a business. A business cannot thrive if everybody thinks and approaches situations in the exact same way, and having a team of divergent thinkers can act as a buffer against this, because divergent thinkers will adopt a more open and creative approach.


我们之前提到过集体思维对企业的害处。如果员工们想到的解决问题的方法都是一样的,那么这家企业就不会发展兴旺。而拥有一名具有发散思维的思考者就可以有效地解决这一问题,因为他们乐意接受较为开放和创意的方法。


Multilingual jobseekers are widely thought to bring a divergent thought process to any business because their minds have become open to different cultures. Moreover, a research paper conducted by Professor Behzad Ghonsooly found that “Mastering a foreign language dramatically increases the four components of divergent thinking ability, i.e., fluency, elaboration, originality, and flexibility”. This is because multilingual people will frequently need to flex their divergent thinking skills, experimenting with different words and phrases in order to find the best way of expressing themselves.


我们普遍认为多语言求职者能够在工作中为企业带来发散性思维,因为他们对不同的文化都持开放的态度。此外,根据Behzad Ghonsooly的研究论文,掌握一门外语能够极大地提升发散思维的四部分能力,比如思考的流畅性、严密性、独创性和适应性——这是因为多语言人群经常要运用他们的发散思维能力,通过尝试使用不同的语句来找到表达自己的最佳途径。


Even if you aren’t hiring for a role which requires foreign language skills as a prerequisite, there are a host of attributes that a multilingual candidate can bring to the table. The nature of these skills can benefit just about any role in any industry; from being driven and a natural self-improver, to having strong multitasking, decision making, and creative skills. Employers like yourself are coming to realise that these skills can’t be imitated, taught on the job, or easily replaced, making the multilingual jobseeker even more in demand than ever before.


即便企业不打算招聘需要外语的职位,多语言人才也可以带给企业许多优秀品质。这品质能够为任何行业的任何职位带来益处,如增添动力、自觉地自我学习、完成多个任务、有决断力和创新能力等。雇主正在逐渐意识到这样的能力是无法模仿、无法传授也无法轻易替代的,这也使得企业比以往更加需要多语言的人才。






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