The presence of multinationals and the increasing importance of international business bring about an internal multilingualism in international companies located in Belgium, meaning that not all employees share the same native language. In order to cope with this situation and to encourage the collaboration between the different language groups, companies tend to recruit multilingual staff, on the one hand, and adopt multilingual policy solutions, on the other.

At this respect, companies have the following questions:
– What are our language policy needs?
– What is the legal frame?
– How should we test the language competences of our staff? How are we to differentiate between proficiency levels?
– What are the different language policy options? What are their implications?

Lieve Vangehuchten and Dieter Vermandere, both from the University of Antwerp, investigate language management in international companies. They are currently reviewing the recent international research literature on this topic, focusing on both evidence- and practice-based research. More concretely, they examine the experimental, survey-based and evidence-based (by means of depth-interviews and focus groups) studies that have been conducted on international companies, with the aim of monitoring the possible language policy solutions, and examining the possibility to implement them in a Belgian context.

Their poster-presentation invites anyone who’s interested in language policy solutions in a multilingual professional context, to reflect upon the matter and exchange ideas and knowhow.

Dieter Vermandere is a university professor in, amongst other subjects, ‘Language planning and policy’ at the University of Antwerp.
Lieve Vangehuchten is a member of the Institute for Professional and Academic Communication at the University of Antwerp, and her research interests include intercultural and multilingual communication in a professional context.


(Picture: Fernando Audibert)