Home Tech Disadvantages of global outsourcing: Overcoming language barriers

Disadvantages of global outsourcing: Overcoming language barriers

Don’t know how language affects an outsourcing technology project? Here’s a guide so you don’t get blindsided.

Outsourcing comes with advantages, but it can also create language barriers.  Consider the following when looking to outsource so you don’t fall prey to the wrong partner company.

Globalized outsourcing affects communication

One way to minimize language barriers is to keep your work within North America. Proper communication is hard enough even when everyone speaks the language fluently. It’s vital that your needs are understood the first time. From defining the scope, to any changes you want made, communication is vital throughout a project.

Written correspondence means that issues such as grammar become increasingly important. A simple misunderstanding of the tense of a word or the order of a sentence can lead to huge inefficiencies. A misunderstanding could occur with something as simple as one of the employees overseas saying “This is done” when they meant to ask “Is this done?”. Although the difference in wording between these two sentences is minuscule, the meanings of the two vary significantly. Imagine if you were lead to believe something was completed when in reality, work had not even begun!

Global outsourcing problems

Overseas companies often have their best English speaker on the initial call with you to make you feel at ease. The language issue may not even become apparent until it is too late and you have already signed onto the project. Once work begins, your initial contact may pass your project on to a team who speak little English. This can then lead to hidden costs such as hiring a translator, or constant back and forth reviews that waste your time and money.

Software development outsourcing doesn’t need to be complicated

A company based in Canada or the US will use a lot of the same slang and terminology, so language can be used freely in discussions without fears of being misunderstood. A company abroad will not have had the same access to media and therefore wouldn’t have the same level of fluency. Nearshore outsourcing makes communication simpler, so you can focus on the project, rather than whether or not you have been understood. It is often difficult to create a precise, well-defined scope in any project. Don’t make your life harder by adding a language barrier as well.

Outsourcing to other countries may be tempting due to cheap initial project costs but this is often not the case. Costs of missed deadlines or (LINK TO SCOPE CREEP BLOG)scope creep (/LINK) mean that these projects can be equally as expensive, but come with a far greater headache because of the language barrier. Make outsourcing simple by ensuring the company you work with understands what you are looking for.

The software development team should challenge you

You should also be looking for a development team that challenges some of the assumptions you make. This will help to develop a better project with a combination of your vision and their expertise.  If they don’t have any questions or comments, that should immediately raise a red flag. You don’t know all of the technical requirements needed to bring your vision to life, and it isn’t your job to. Imagine you are hiring an architect to build a house. It is their job to know what is needed for a secure, fully-functioning building. If your house is impossible to build in a structurally viable way, you would expect them to inform you before they build it. You should look for a company that questions your idea to understand it, and makes suggestions you hadn’t thought of. Otherwise, they may build you a house that will come crashing down after a year.

Another thing to consider is that if they don’t understand your vision, they can’t deliver what you are looking for. Make sure the outsourcing company fully grasps your project and isn’t just placating you while not truly understanding the work.

Venuiti is a company which prides itself on understanding your vision and making it a reality.  Our offices in Canada and the US make communication simple, ensuring any uncertainties are addressed quickly and efficiently. We strive to understand your vision and will question what you are looking for until we find a way to ensure your satisfaction. We have over 16 years experience with hundreds of satisfied clients. Make the right choice when looking at what company to outsource to. Talk to us today and fulfill your outsourcing needs.

 With any business relationship, Your outsourcing company is your partner – not your enemy, and it helps to work with, not against each other. Based on our experiences at Venuiti, maintaining a well-communicated project ensures a healthy business relationship. Make sure you apply these tips in your next project and you’ll ensure a smooth and successful outcome.