How To Help Remote International Employees Overcome Language Barriers

How To Help Remote International Employees Overcome Language Barriers
Image Credit: New Scientist

In today’s interconnected world, remote work has revolutionized the way companies operate. Thanks to the ability to hire talent from across the globe, running a remote company with international employees has become increasingly prevalent. But while this setup offers remarkable advantages, it also presents unique challenges, one of the most prominent being language barriers.

Effective communication is the lifeblood of any organization. Language differences don’t just hinder understanding; they can also impede collaboration, productivity, and overall team cohesion. The ability to overcome these language barriers is essential for running a successful remote company with international employees.

In this article, we will delve into the topic of breaking language barriers and explore a range of tools, strategies, and resources that can be utilized to foster effective communication and bridge the linguistic gaps within a remote company setting.

By implementing these tools, companies can create an inclusive work environment that nurtures collaboration, maximizes productivity, and harnesses the diverse perspectives of their global workforce.

Let’s dive in!

How To Help Remote International Employees Overcome Language Barriers

Multilingual Communication Platforms

To facilitate smooth communication among international team members, it is crucial to leverage the power of multilingual communication platforms. In today’s digital landscape, tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Workspace have emerged as indispensable solutions for breaking down language barriers and fostering effective collaboration within remote companies.

They go beyond traditional messaging systems by offering advanced features that support real-time translation of messages. By harnessing the power of machine translation and natural language processing, they automatically convert messages into the recipient’s preferred language, eliminating linguistic obstacles and ensuring clear understanding across the organization.

Imagine a scenario where a team member from Japan shares an important update in Japanese, while another team member from Germany receives an instant translation of that message in German. This seamless translation process enables both individuals to understand and respond to each other’s messages, regardless of their native languages. This not only bridges language gaps but also nurtures a sense of inclusivity, empowering every employee to actively contribute to discussions, irrespective of their language proficiency.

Moreover, these multilingual communication platforms enhance collaboration and productivity. File sharing, video conferencing, and project management tools are seamlessly integrated, providing a comprehensive ecosystem for remote teams to thrive. This integration ensures that language barriers are not confined to written communication alone but are also effectively addressed in audio and visual interactions.

By adopting these multilingual communication platforms, companies can promote cross-cultural understanding, encourage active participation, and unlock the full potential of their international workforce.

Video Conferencing Tools With Language Support

Video conferencing plays an important role in remote communication, particularly for team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and presentations.

Leveraging video conferencing tools with language support can enhance comprehension among international employees. Zoom, Cisco Webex, and Microsoft Teams provide live subtitles and transcriptions, enabling participants to follow discussions in their preferred language. This inclusive approach encourages active participation and minimizes misunderstandings.

Language Learning Applications

Language learning applications can significantly aid employees in improving their language skills. Promova, along with other notable language learning apps like Duolingo or Babbel, provides comprehensive language courses and exercises. These apps offer interactive lessons, vocabulary training, and pronunciation practice to enhance communication skills.

While the other apps cover grammar, vocabulary, and conversation practice, Promova focuses on pronunciation. It includes a feature called “How to Pronounce,” which allows users to listen to correct pronunciations of specific words or phrases in different languages — particularly useful when employees encounter unfamiliar terms or struggle with pronunciation in a foreign language.

Online Translation Tools

Online translation tools are indispensable for remote companies with international employees. Google Translate, DeepL, and Microsoft Translator are popular options that provide quick and accurate translations. These tools can be used to translate emails, documents, or even live conversations during virtual meetings. While relying solely on translation tools is not recommended for complex or nuanced discussions, they serve as handy resources for basic communication needs.

Collaborative Document Editing

Collaborative document editing tools like Google Docs, Microsoft Office 365, and Dropbox Paper allow teams to work together on projects in real-time. These tools enable employees to collaborate seamlessly, regardless of their language proficiency. Team members can contribute, comment, and edit documents simultaneously, fostering effective communication and minimizing language barriers.

Project Management Tools

Effective project management is essential for remote teams, and utilizing project management tools can enhance collaboration across language differences.

Platforms like Trello, Asana, and facilitate task assignment, progress tracking, and communication within projects. Clear task descriptions, visual representations, and deadlines help ensure that team members understand their responsibilities, regardless of their native language.

Language Training and Cultural Exchange Programs

Encouraging language training and cultural exchange programs within the company can create a supportive environment for language development and intercultural understanding. Employers can provide access to language training resources, organize language workshops or webinars, and even sponsor language courses. Additionally, implementing language exchange programs where employees pair up to learn each other’s native languages promotes cross-cultural communication and strengthens team bonds.

Overcoming Language Barriers To Enhance Communication

Running a remote company with international employees requires proactive measures to overcome language barriers and foster effective communication. By utilizing multilingual communication platforms, and other tools, companies can create an inclusive and language-friendly remote work environment.

Breaking down language barriers not only enhances communication but also promotes cultural understanding and strengthens team collaboration in a globalized world.


Valeriia Voloshko is a seasoned writer and language enthusiast who is passionate about fostering effective communication in remote work environments. With extensive experience in international team collaboration, Valeriia understands the challenges posed by language barriers and is dedicated to providing practical solutions.

This article is part of Buildremote’s contributor series. Occasionally, we’ll share other people’s ideas about running a remote company. If you have a topic you’d like to pitch for Buildremote, send us an idea here.

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