The importance of being able to understand other languages cannot be over-emphasised – this is particularly relevant when executives travel abroad and are negotiating with people of different language groups. Because English is the predominant language of business in the western world, people with English as a home language are usually reluctant to learn foreign languages and tend to expect others to converse with them in English. In contrast, European and Far Eastern businesspersons have been willing to learn and converse in the language of their trading partners, leading inevitably to a better understanding and better rapport between the parties concerned. If exporters do not speak the language of the country they plan to visit, they should at least establish the extent to which their own language is spoken there and, if necessary, engages the services of an interpreter during discussions or negotiations.

If promotional material needs to be prepared in a foreign language, it is important to ensure that none of the meaning is lost or distorted when the information is translated. Thus, translations should be undertaken within the country concerned or at least by a native of the country in question.

The following section details both translators based overseas and local South African translators.