International Business Writing

There are two sides to international business writing:

  • Writing by a native English speaker for a non-native audience.
  • Writing by a non-native speaker for native or non-native audience.

No matter which group you’re part of and no matter what you’re writing, whether they’re:

the basics will be the same.

Good business writing, no matter what it’s being done for, will be clear and concise.

International Business Writing for a Non-native Audience

International business writing will help you communicate with a wide audience.

Business is international. This means that while in the past your company might have operated exclusively in English speaking countries and with English speaking suppliers or customers, this is no longer the case. Now business is international and you’ll probably be working with people from all over the world.

While these people will have good English language skills already, they won’t be as proficient as a native speaker.

This means you need to consider three things when writing:

  • Vocabulary – Choose words that don’t have several different meaning to help your readers easily understand what you mean. Also don’t use vocabulary that’s too advanced. A few ‘big’ words will be fine but try to consider clarity and ease of reading when writing.
  • Grammar – Keep your grammar simple (simple sentences and construction) as these are easier to read and understand faster. (Also many ESL learners might know the grammar rules better than you do, so be careful.)
  • Style – A simple direct style will help non-native readers understand and follow your points in your business writing for an international audience. Your readers will thank you for making the document as easy to understand as possible, and as it’s quite possible your boss might not be a native speaker you should defiantly consider this.

When writing for a non-native audience don’t make big changes but just take a little bit of time to think about the choices you make when writing.

International Business Writing for Non-native Speaker

If you aren’t a native English speaker and need to do business writing you don’t need to worry. With just a little time and practice you can write a clear and concise business document.

If you need help with English as a Second Language writing see the ESL writing section on this website. This has a page about ESL business writing.

The main way you can help your own business writing is to take time in the planning stage. If you plan the document fully, so that you know what’ll go in each section it’ll be much easier for you when you come to write as you’ll just need to concentrate on the English language rather than the contents as well.

Remember that the important part of international business writing is to convey your message as clearly and simply as possible. You don't need to use fancy and advanced sentence structures and grammar. Just use simple language to get your message to your audience: the readers of the business writing you’re doing.

International Business Writing Proofreading

No matter whether you’re a native or non-native business writer you need to get the basics correct. That means you need to spell the words correctly, use the correct word in the correct situation and use correct grammar. If you have any problems doing this the proofreading stage is where you can go back and correct any mistakes that have appeared in your writing.

See the business proofreading page or the English proofreading section for advice about this.

The two best ways to spot your mistakes and improve your writing as much as possible in the proofreading stage, are to print your business document and read it to find the mistakes rather than just using a computer screen and wait at least one day, if not more, before starting.

Using both of these methods will help you find the mistakes that you’d miss if you just did your proofreading on the computer screen as soon as you’d finished writing the document.

If you need any help with the writing or proofreading of your international business writing I can help. See the page about my proofreading service or use the contact me page to ask me any questions. Alternatively you can go to the Excellent Proofreading and Writing Facebook page and I’ll be happy to offer advice there.

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By Jolyon Dodgson, copyright © 2011-2020. - Proofreading and writing help for excellent first impressions.