Working in multicultural teams | Stillman Translations
Working in multicultural teams

What is it like to work in a multicultural team? Well, as a multicultural company, we can say it is extremely interesting! Multicultural teams are made up of people who come from different countries or have different cultural backgrounds. 

Several benefits come from having a multicultural team. To start, it is key for a language service provider to have team members who speak different languages and have a wide variety of cultural knowledge. Being able to translate or localize a specific content from a source language into a target language requires not only having expertise in the language itself, but also an awareness of the many several aspects that surround a language. 

Multicultural teams are growing. People from different regions are working more than ever as freelancers for international companies, or even for small companies located far, but that offer them challenging projects. Multiculturalism helps us to learn a lot about diversity, as well as expanding our points of view about cultural differences.  

Challenges of multicultural teams 

Working with a team that is spread across the world can have some significant challenges.  

1.Breaking down cultural differences 

It is important to learn about the culture of each team member. What is well-received in a country may be disrespectful in others. Schedules, traditions, celebrations, even ways of expressing oneself radically can change from one culture to the other. The most important thing should always be that each member of the team feels understood, considered and comfortable with being part of a workspace. 

2.Reinforcing the sense of belonging 

Beyond the distance, there must be a sense of belonging to the team. Adequate communication is essential so that all employees and partners are aware of what is happening in the company. Each team member should have the freedom to express what they need and feel, beyond being physically distanced. 

3.Minimizing the language barrier 

It is fundamental to try to avoid miscommunication. In this sense, it may be advisable to have linguistic references. It never hurts to emphasize that asking questions is not offensive or counterproductive. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Various resources can be used to accompany textual communication, such as infographics, videos, graphics, etc. This can facilitate understanding the communication and tone for all members equally. 

4. Paying attention to cultural customs 

To create a warm and inclusive work environment, being respectful to different religions, traditions, even to the history of each culture is essential. It is important to show respect and consideration for different life habits, so that all members feel that within the company they can continue with their usual routines without being judged. 

Benefits of working in multicultural teams 

People from diverse backgrounds offer skills, perspectives and ideas that add value to the company. Especially for those companies that, like us, work to make communication possible between different cultures. 

There are several benefits of working in multicultural teams: 

  • Diverse cultural perspectives increase creativity and innovation: A greater number of points of view enrich the ways of proposing solutions and disruptive ideas. 
  • Greater knowledge of local markets: Multicultural companies increase perspectives on local competition, country-specific regulations, investment possibilities, the way auditing is handled in a given region, etc. 
  • More cultural sensitivity and local knowledge: Native speakers give companies the advantage of cross-cultural understanding. In this way, procedures such as translation and localization become more accurate.  
  • Being able to work with different time-zones: Working with an extended time slot allows businesses to provide clients located in distinct parts of the globe better customer support. 
  • Working with the best talents: When companies are not geographically-conditioned they can search for the best experts in each field from anywhere. This also ensures companies have a diverse approach.  
  • An enriched experience: Inclusive and culturally diverse businesses have the chance to work with globally-minded employees. It makes it possible to increase the exchange of life experiences and points of view, which may have a positive impact not only on the company, but also on a personal level. Bonding by similarities and differences can help members become global citizens, abandoning prejudices or an ethnocentric view of the world. 

Why hire a multicultural company? 

Multicultural companies can offer a diverse perspective. Specifically, when it comes to the translation, interpretation and localization industry, it is a fundamental aspect to consider.  

Multicultural companies bring extra value in terms of creativity, innovation, diversity and awareness of cultural differences. Local markets benefit from cross-cultural work.