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Language barriers not a real problem in Mexican manufacturing

A large globe comprised of words inwhite with the word "Language" in red in the middle.
18 Dec 2014

When it comes to assembly and production in manufacturing, everyone should be able to speak the same language. This is a critical factor in offshoring, since American manufacturers are unlikely to speak the mother tongue of the workers or management. It presents a problem when not everyone is mutually understood. No place is this a bigger issue than in China. Official news agency Xinhua reported that at least 30 percent of the Chinese population doesn't speak Mandarin, the official language. That translates to 400 million people. More importantly, however, within the 70 percent of people that do speak Mandarin, only 10 percent, or 100 million, speak it fluently. That can present problems when hiring workers who speak local dialects that are often completely different languages on their own.

However, manufacturing in Mexico doesn't have this problem. According to Ethnologue, 104 million people in the country fluently speak the local dialect of Spanish. That translates to around 90 percent of the population. This form of Spanish is also widely used as the primary dialect among Hispanics in the United States. This makes the process of learning the language a lot more accessible to manufacturers looking at expanding to Mexico.

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