Linguistic Diversity in Professional Settings
CONFERENCE AT VIENNA UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS
2 – 3 May 2024
Organized by the Department of Business Communication
In our globalized society, marked by the internationalization of companies and growing workforce mobility, professional encounters become increasingly multilingual. The growing linguistic diversity in professional settings represents an enrichment and a challenge at a societal, corporate and individual level. In searching for ways of communicating efficiently within this diversity, linguistic and communicative skills can be seen as capital and multilingualism even as a prerequisite for success on the global market.
Nevertheless, not all kinds of linguistic diversity, not being limited to national standard varieties of languages, are equally valued in this regard and the advantages of plurilingual repertoires are often not realized. Managing linguistic diversity as part of an organisation’s diversity management can therefore become an instrument of inclusion but also of exclusion, both of which can be studied from various angles.
In professional settings, communicative efficiency represents an overarching goal that cannot always be achieved easily. Several approaches can be found in order to attain successful communication across languages, ranging from implementing a corporate language, over laisser-faire policies and lay translation up to drawing on professional language services. However, if those in charge of language policies only consider the technical aspect of languages, other functions of language and communication such as identity construction or building trust are easily forgotten.
Linguistic diversity can be seen as a process and a product of work. With changing means of communication, also accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic having led to a proliferation of remote work models and online communication channels, innovative approaches need to be taken into consideration. Technical advances such as the fast development of artificial intelligence allow for new ways of communicating across languages but also induce new questions and challenges.
This conference aims to gain insights into the needs, policies and practices when dealing with linguistic diversity in professional settings. It will bring together researchers and practitioners to discuss:
how different organizations deal with linguistic diversity
which problems and challenges arise related to linguistic diversity in professional settings
how linguistic diversity can enrich professional settings
which practices respond particularly well to linguistic diversity in professional settings
how teaching languages for professional purposes can address communication within linguistic diversity