Languages and M&A

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  • #93720
    Issa Fallouh

    How do we approach the ongoing communications for a new acquisition where most employees don’t speak a common language with the acquirer company?

    Brant Miller

    Hello Issa,

    This question is intriguing, not one I have had the opportunity to work through personally. I could see this being handled in different ways depending on the integration strategy (e.g. full integration vs. maintain separate businesses). As I’ve worked in an organization that had employee groups who spoke over 8 different languages, I can tell you that there was a sub-group in the permanent Communications workstream dedicated entirely to ensuring effective translation of all relevant communication materials (they had a very detailed matrix on what needed translation for enterprise-wide use vs. what could be developed and distributed by the regional business). There were multiple translators hired outside of the company on contract that did all of the translation to ensure accuracy with both wording and intent.

    Sina Rohde

    I had one example in which this was partially the case. On management level using English language as the common language worked mostly. However among the workforce that was not quite the case. For this reason all important communication pieces got translated into their language and at meetings where we would share information, many of them I did personally I would do in English and then have a translator with me who would translate and enabled a dialog. And then of course to resolve the issue several language courses were offered that improved the situation, that is of course over a period of time.

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