<br /><br />Language Translation - Everybody speaks English in Europe – right?<br /><br />
Europe is a vast multilingual and multicultural patchwork; so dont assume that English is always enough to do business there.
Americans travelling in Europe are often impressed by how well the population speaks English.
Or if they aren't well, they should be. For travelling purposes, monolingual English speakers can almost always get by in all the typical tourist venues: restaurants, hotels, cultural sites, and most forms of public transport.
In many business situations, you may well be lucky enough to work with English speakers as well.
But it would be a mistake to think that English is a true lingua franca in Europe especially if your business aims to reach out directly to potential clients through social networking or websites.
The most recent (2005) official European Union Eurobarometer study of language use shows that while many Europeans speak English, others do better with different major European languages.
First, one must remember that English is an official language in only 3 European countries: the UK, Ireland and Malta.
As far as foreign languages go, "English (34%) is the most widely known language besides the mother tongue followed by German (12%) and French (11%). Spanish and Russian are spoken as a foreign language by 5% of respondents."
Despite the dominance of English that these statistics imply, German and French, especially combined, still pack a punch as far as widely mastered foreign languages.
And of course, companies cannot ignore the number of Europeans who speak these languages as native languages: in France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxemburg.