4 Major Language Difficulties for Malaysian Expatriates
What is Language
Language has always been an important tool of communication, although everyone communicates with their special skills and guts get humans only have expertise in expressing what they feel and think. A language is actually an indispensable tool or idea that allows us to share multiple ideas, thoughts, and feelings with another person with whom we communicate.
Who is an Expatriate
An expatriate in comparison is dependent on the language where he goes he should have a grasp on multiple living phenomena. Because in case a Malaysian goes to any host country e.g. Australia he would face the struggle of language. After all, about 78% of Australians speak English and the Malaysian official language is Malay. It means that an expatriate should have at least 50% knowledge of the English language. Otherwise it could be the worst turnover for that expatriate.
Language Difficulties for Malaysian Expatriate
The research was being conducted in which result showed that expatriate struggle with basic language skills which prove a hurdle to them. Language professionally is highly affected by the fact that Malaysian try their best to respond. But still because of the cross-high cultural boundaries, it is almost very difficult to understand what they want to communicate.
- Body Language
Body language has always a pinching hurdle affecting the cultural boundaries thus resulting in a lack of communication. This affects the flow of better and fluent communication between expatriate and Host country peoples i.e. Australia. Many expatriates reported that the body language or the gestures that considered as normal. But they also oppositely perceived as a bad impression and so the influenced.
Malaysian expatriate migrates to the host country (Australia) brings different cultures, regional values, customs and languages they are totally from a different political, social, cultural and economic background (Harzing and Christensen, 2004) they often fail due to the all above-mentioned differential – backgrounds and the responses they get under these factors. A culture is a tool combining people to communicate. But for expatriate they always have difficulty to face the formal expressions and gestures, resulting in a misunderstanding of signs, symbols, and socio-cultural norms.
Ethnocentrism is a critical factor in breaking a successful communication between expatriates and Australian hosts. In many cases reported, Malaysian expatriates stated that they expect us to act the way their native speaker’s act, they want us to know the exact knowledge of their culture, norms, or the way they communicate.
Code-switching is another hurdle that proves a hindrance for Malaysian expatriates in Australia. Basically, it is the switch of exchanging two dialects or registers. Code-switching is expected in Malaysian expatriates while speaking English, especially when they add Malaysian suffixes/affixes to English language words or units.
Suggestions for Overcoming Language Difficulties
- Usage of Simple or Plain Language
Everyone who is a host country if encounter many Malaysian expatriate or other expatriates, it should be their responsibility to sound easier and plain in language while communicating. While many people prefer to use the large or ambiguous idiom, Jargons, or complicated vocabulary just to sound good or intelligent (Gratis, 2016). But in actual they are not favoring instead they are de-motivating expatriates. There should be acceptance of simple language understanding when you know your native or primary language is secondary for others.
- Trained Translators and Interpreters
To decrease the language barriers majorly at the workplace, there should be an arrangement of trained translators and interpreters. The need for the translator is necessary because some expatriates seek aid from translators’ apps which sometimes do not translates different dialects.
Interprets here perform their role to ensure the documented or presented information is valid and authentic.
- Job training
This should also be considered a suggestion that can help the expatriates and even country to overcome the language barriers. A company should start the training classes for expatriates twice a week. This will open up opportunities for Malaysian expatriates to communicate in the English language.
- Use of digital aid and repetition of words
These kind of terms uttered can assist a person who may fail at understanding words. So can further take help with diagrams and pictures. Many expatriates not only common in them but in general, too a person needs to hear a word twice or thrice so that he can understand it. In this regard, host countrymen should adapt warmth and sympathy in these terms.
Written by: Bushra Ghayoor
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