What is Business English and Why Do You Need To Learn It?

You’ve likely heard the term “Business English” several times, and each time you’ve probably wondered, “What makes Business English so different from general, “regular” English?”

On a technical level, Business English is part of a larger category called English for Specific Purposes or ESP for short. Other types of English that fall into this category include Simplified Technical English, English for tourism, and Scientific English. Within these categories students find:

  1. Specialized terms that only exist within a certain industry, or
  2. Everyday terms that have precise and specific meanings within that industry

English for specific purposes is actually a non-native English speaker’s best friend for language learning. These languages impose limits to increase clarity and limit ambiguity. That way, if scientists from around the world come together to conduct research, they are communicating their ideas using a controlled language instead of sprinkling their sentences with obscure slang or regional phrases.  

Business English is a bit broader, but it typically includes the kind of vocabulary vital for trade and commerce. It helps individuals pick up the vocabulary they need for business meetings, correspondence, executive summaries, sales presentations, and more.

Unlike Standard Technical English, which is a trademarked, controlled language, Business English does not have a global standard, but it’s generally expected to cover specialized terms needed to conduct business, and it can be further specialized based on industry such as oil and gas or finance.

Individuals with a solid understanding of Business English can confidently participate in business meetings, write business letters, draft executive summaries, give sales presentations, and more.

Native English Speakers Have to Learn Business English, Too

Based on that description of Business English, you’ve probably picked up on something interesting: native English speakers need to learn Business English, too. It’s not something they grow up learning since there are specialized terms that aren’t used in day-to-day conversation. So don’t be surprised if you see a fluent English speaker in your Business English class.

Business English Is Useful for Humans AND Machines

As we’ve mentioned before on the Talaera blog, non-native English speakers often have an easier time understanding each other than they do understanding native English speakers. This is because non-native English speakers learn “textbook” English, following a shared grammar and vocabulary. On the other hand, native English speakers use regional slang, funny expressions, abbreviations, and they speak quickly.

Interestingly, this doesn’t just pose a problem for non-native English speakers. It poses a problem for computers as well, and as our world becomes more connected to devices, it’s essential that we make integration seamless.

The Semantics of Business Vocabulary and RulesTM (SBVR) formalizes complex business language like compliance or operational rules. Computer systems can then interpret and apply those rules. Learning SBVRTM is not essential for learning Business English, but it’s a fascinating example of the necessity to establish specific meanings in language.

English Is The Lingua Franca of Global Commerce

Hiring choices are no longer limited by geography. Project managers set up remote teams filled with global talent while companies that have the money cover the cost of relocating desirable candidates. Communication is vital to the success of these international endeavors, and English is quickly (if not already) establishing itself as the lingua franca of global communication, innovation, and commerce.

Visit www.talaera.com to find out more and start your language journey today.