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Languages You Need to Know to Do Business in India

India is the 7th largest economy in the world in terms of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). India has also overtaken China to be the fastest growing large economy. India is facing exciting times in economic growth and has a hospitable business environment. Being a country with 22 official languages spread across its various states, overseas businesses eager to enter the Indian market are usually at a disadvantage due to the language barrier.

Here’s a list of languages we believe will offer you the advantage needed to make an entry into the Indian markets.

Hindi

Hindi is the fourth most spoken language in the world. In India, Hindi has the official language status in multiple states. Hindi is most popular in the northern states of India as they speak it as their first language. It is estimated that more than 54% of the population of the country speaks Hindi. It is also the official language of the Central Government along with English. 

Tamil

Tamil Nadu is a state in the southern part of India. Chennai, the capital city of the state is one of the fastest developing cities in the entire country.

Tamil is the official language of communication in the state government. Being the hub of information technology and education, with multiple international companies and manufacturing industries, Tamil will be an asset in increasing your business opportunities.

Marathi

Marathi is the language spoken in the state of Maharashtra. From the filmmaking industry in Mumbai to the IT parks in Pune, knowing Marathi will make you a part of 72 million natives who excel in mass media, international trade, and manufacturing. Marathi is also the co-official language in the state of Goa, one of the nations’ richest states that also has the fastest growth rates in terms of per capita GDP.

Punjabi

In the northern state of Chandigarh and the national capital of Delhi, a majority of the population speak Punjabi as a first language. It is also the working language of the state government. With 10 million native speakers in both India and the neighboring country of Pakistan, Punjabi is the 10th most spoken language in the world. Chandigarh is one of the 50 cities identified globally as ‘emerging outsourcing and IT services destinations’ beating cities like Beijing. 

Kannada

Kannada is the language spoken in the state of Karnataka in southern India. The city of Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka, is nicknamed as the Silicon Valley of India due to its’ dominance in the field of information technology. With major tech start-ups and online shopping stores such as Flipkart originating from Bengaluru, Kannada can be a very useful language to know. 

Bengali

In the eastern part of India, in the state of West Bengal is where Bengali is most popular. Apart from being the working language of the state government, Bengali is also spoken in Bangladesh, the neighboring nation known for their textile industries. People in West Bengal are known for their sharp negotiation skills and knowing Bengali will definitely help you put up a good fight.

Gujarati

Gujarat is a state in the western part of India, known for their textile mills and the IT parks in their state capital of Ahmedabad. Gujurati is the common tongue in this part of the country and is also used by certain parts of the population in the state of Maharashtra.

Telugu

Telegu is spoken in various states across India though it is most popular in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It stands alongside English, Bengali, and Hindi as a language with the official status in more than one state.

Malayalam

Malayalam is spoken in the southern state of Kerala. The state that boasts the highest literacy rate in the country and nicknamed ‘God’s own country’ for its’ paradise like backwaters, Malayalam is the official language of the state. The majority of the speakers of Malayalam are also fluent in at least two other languages. Kerala contributes to a 5th of the GDP of the country mainly due to annual remittances from migrant workers living abroad. Kerala is also looking to expand it’s services sector which is bound to open up new business opportunities. 

Urdu

Urdu is one of the languages with the official language status in five states. There are sizeable numbers of speakers throughout the country. The similarity with Hindi makes the comprehension of Urdu easier for those that speak Hindi. The writing system of Urdu is also very similar to the Arabic script. More often than not, students who learn Urdu are also able to learn Arabic with ease when compared to those who have not learned Urdu.

Oriya

Oriya is the official language in the states of Odisha and Jharkhand. Odisha is a state that is experiencing steady economic growth with statistics showing the growth rate to be above national average. Jharkhand, on the other hand, is rich in minerals and there is an abundant foreign investment for the sole purpose of mining these minerals. Oriya is used by a majority of the population in Odisha and a part of the population in Jharkhand as they share a common border.

English

Despite all the regional tongues, English continues to play an important role in the goods and services sector in India. In State governments that oppose the adoption of Hindi as an official language, English is the preferred alternative. In the southern and eastern parts of India, English has more popular support than Hindi. Major goods and services giants often outsource their customer care centers to India simply because of the amount of Indians that can communicate well in English.


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