The benefits of working with a team that speaks your language – literally


Are you getting the most out of your relationships with your clinical equipment suppliers? Or is there something else that could drastically improve the dynamic?

For many business conversations, using English is the most common way to communicate. Around the world, almost 1.5 billion people speak English. But fewer than 400 million use it as their first language, and when you’re building long-term business relationships, or discussing complex clinical trials requirements, there is huge value in being able to speak your mother tongue.

At Woodley Trial Solutions, we like to be accessible to as many people as possible. That’s why our team includes native speakers of French, German, Danish, Hungarian, Arabic, Urdu and, of course, English. Multi-language skills in clinical trials are valued. Here’s what we’ve learned about the value and benefits of communicating with people in their first language:

  • There’s extra depth and nuance to the relationship. Longstanding partnerships are forged when people truly understand each other and can appreciate the broader issues at play in their professional and personal lives. But that kind of subtlety is generally only recognised by two speakers sharing the same native language, with the same tones, intonations, inflections, and delivery patterns.

    Simple things like checking on someone’s relatives, or quickly telling the story of how we’re a family-run business that’s operated in the clinical trials world for 33 years, can help strengthen a relationship and build loyalty from both sides. In turn, that ensures heightened levels of service whenever they are required.

    At the same time, sharing a mother tongue can also help both sides to avoid the risk of inadvertently sounding rude or causing offence.

  • Technical clarity is guaranteed. When it comes to ordering clinical trial products, there’s no room for error. Every detail must be understood in full. Whether it’s requesting a certain centrifuge, dissecting the capabilities of a CGM connected device, finding the right POC blood analyser or checking the capacity of a medical laboratory refrigerator, most people would rather have those conversations in their mother tongue. Doing so prevents vital information getting lost in translation and helps to guarantee time or money is not wasted on inappropriate materials.

  • Communication breakdowns become a thing of the past. When one or both parties speak in their second language, it can be easy for frustration to creep into a conversation. This can be especially prevalent with on-site teams, where on-the-ground workers might not have the reassurance of an international sales or account manager, who’s comfortable talking in English, being present to clarify misunderstandings and discuss technical details.

    Perhaps someone mispronounced a word, and the other person couldn’t work out what they were trying to say. Perhaps something has simply been misinterpreted, but the consequences of the mistake quickly accumulate. It’s not hard for a relationship to suffer in those circumstances, even when it is nothing more than using a secondary language that has caused the issue. When everyone uses their mother tongue, however, these challenges are much less likely to arise.

  • You’re seen as trustworthy, comfortable, and able to appreciate different cultural expectations. When humans perceive language to be a barrier between themselves and someone else, it can be difficult for people to feel at ease. In contrast, sharing a language helps to build that initial trust and likeability that can help a relationship to flourish in its early stages. It’s like a secret code: when two people talk in their mother tongue, a level of familiarity can be established very quickly.

    People who share a language also often share a cultural history and a similar worldview. Where one culture may prioritise speed, another may prioritise costs. In the business world, having this understanding leads to stronger emotional ties between parties and better relationships all round.

  • Conferences become easier to navigate and more synergy occurs. When people from all corners of the globe descend on one space for an industry conference, a mix of languages is inevitable. But we know from our own experience just how valuable our clients and partners have found having someone from our team present who can speak their language. Networking, and making those all-important initial contacts, becomes so much easier in a cross-border situation when a first language is shared.

    One of our team, for example, found major success at an exhibition attended predominantly by Scandinavians. But this success only became possible when the other attendees discovered she was fluent in Danish. Before then, they had assumed she only spoke English and had gravitated towards other exhibitors.

    Another was able to begin relationships simply by being able to discuss where to find foods and other locations with a fellow attendee. Those small seeds are often the start of hugely beneficial two-way relationships.

Ready to talk to our team about your next clinical trial? Please contact us today and we’ll get straight back to you – in your language!


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