Imagine signing up for a webinar where the topic is simple and self-explanatory. But when you join in, you realize that the speaker is using complex words to elaborate on the topic. You’re likely to get confused and lose interest within some time.

Similar to this situation, we can spot several language barriers examples in our lives.  It’s especially challenging to navigate and tackle various types of language barriers at work. Read on to see why it’s essential to overcome such barriers and how to successfully do so.


  1. Types Of Language Barriers In Communication

  2. Examples Of Language Barriers In Communication

  3. Tackling Language Barriers At Work

Types Of Language Barriers In Communication

Before we fast-forward to the various types of language barriers, let’s take a moment to understand their meaning. Language barriers primarily refer to the challenges faced by people or groups speaking different languages and dialects. It also includes misunderstandings and misinterpretations that come from a lack of clarity of thought and speech. Such barriers can be found across verbal, non-verbal and written types of communication.

The challenge in understanding another language, dialect or accent also refers to linguistic barriers. Some common examples of linguistic barriers include people from different countries interacting with one another, people in some countries having  a different way of greeting others and people having the same language speaking in different dialects. Culture has a significant role to play in linguistic barriers. For instance, what may be considered appropriate in one culture may come across as rude in another.

Here are the different types of language barriers that we commonly see in business communication:

  1. Language difference, where a person interacts with someone speaking a different native language
  2. Dialects and accents, where two people may share a common language but they speak it differently (based on a particular region)
  3. Lack of clear speech, where people speak too soft or too fast; either way, it’s unclear what they’re saying
  4. Use of technical words or jargon, where someone communicates using specific terms that are highly technical and subject-specific
  5. Word choice, where someone uses words with two meanings or says it sarcastically that may be misinterpreted by the listener

Examples Of Language Barriers In Communication

It’s important for businesses to consider these negative impacts likely to be caused by language barriers and find effective solutions for overcoming them. Here are some language barriers examples that’ll tell you how they play out in various scenarios:

  1. To break the ice, a professional from West Bengal may try communicating in Bengali with a colleague from Bangladesh. While there are many overlapping words and phrases, the dialects are completely different. This may put the Bengali-speaking professional in an awkward position.
  2. A professor of linguistics goes to an engineering college to deliver a lecture on language technology. They use subject-specific words that are highly technical and complex for a layman. Students are likely to lose focus and interest in the topic.
  3. Someone is pitching a business idea to their client. But the way they’re presenting their points is coming off as arrogant. Instead of using words like “I believe I can do so and so”, they say, “I know this like the back of my hand”.

It’s evident from these language barriers examples that not using the right words or communicating in an appropriate way can strain someone’s experience and lead to mistrust and dissatisfaction.


Tackling Language Barriers At Work

It’s crucial that you take mindful steps toward overcoming language barriers as they negatively impact workplace relationships and career success. Here are some effective strategies that’ll guide you in tackling such barriers:


  • Whether you’re communicating in a common language that everyone understands or not, it’s helpful to keep things simple. Avoid relying on complicating words to create an impression. Even if you throw in some technical terms, make sure to say them in the right context.
  • Language difference or not, one may not always remember what you said. Repetition is crucial for memory. If you want someone to understand your message and remember it, it’s good to remind them through repetition.
  • If someone isn’t able to follow the brief you provided them, you’re losing time. A great way to overcome this hiccup is to use visuals while explaining concepts. Make use of photos, infographics and diagrams to convey your thoughts.


Overcoming language barriers isn’t always easy but with patience and practice, you’ll be successful. If you want to make sure that you communicate with impact, you need to go above and beyond. Harappa’s Speaking Effectively course will teach you how to be an effective speaker. You’ll learn powerful frameworks that’ll help you deliver ideas with precision, use empathy and logic to connect with others and build strong communication skills. Learn ways to leave a lasting impression, with Harappa! 


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