Nearly every meeting Keiko Claassen must [13 DOWN] at work is held in English. No big deal – [9 ACROSS] that her company is [20 ACROSS] in Italy and she’s Dutch.
At [10 ACROSS] recent meeting where she was the only non-Italian in the room, her colleagues stopped speaking English – the common language between them – because someone had trouble following the conversation.
“It was like watching a movie,” says Claasen. “As [17 ACROSS] as they switched… you could see their culture come to life.”
At ITT Motion Technologies, an Italy-based engineering company [14 DOWN] Classen is executive director of communications, every senior staffer is expected to speak English and most communications are [4 ACROSS] in English. [14 ACROSS] it’s not considered an official corporate language, with 4,500 employees working in several countries, including Japan, China, India and Germany, it’s the only language that [6 DOWN] can generally speak in common – [18 ACROSS] if speaking doesn’t mean always fully understanding.
In other [2 ACROSS], such as France-based food services company Sodexo, English is [16 DOWN] adopted as an official language. After [12 ACROSS] of translating emails, webinars and other materials [15 DOWN] as many as eight languages, including French, English and Spanish, or [19 ACROSS] massive town-hall meetings in multiple languages, the company announced in January that its senior leadership [8 ACROSS] would be embracing English. By year-end, it’ll be English-only for the leadership teams that [7 DOWN] responsible [2 DOWN] its 500,000 employees across 80 countries.
Others that have [1 DOWN] the shift to English-only, [11 DOWN] being based in non-English-speaking countries, include Japan-headquartered Nissan, which implemented an English-first strategy in the [5 DOWN] 1990s. In 2015, another car [1 ACROSS], Tokyo-based Honda announced that its corporate language would become English by 2020. German electronics company Siemens also made English its official language years [7 ACROSS]. It’s likely many more companies will [3 DOWN] English-only, says Jia Lin Xie, a professor of management at Toronto’s Rotman School of Management in Canada.
Source: BBC News