Posted: 29 May 2023

A diverse team in which many languages are spoken gives us the opportunity to see things from a different perspective.

Darshan, Leyla & Sophie, three colleagues with a foreign native language background, talk about the language diversity in their cyber team. A little teaser: the areas different languages positively impact on a daily business are countless!

Diversity is our superpower and cyber unites us!
We empower each other. We accelerate growth. We shape the future.
But how? With our common passion for topics related to cyber and, more importantly, our diversity in language!

A diverse team in which many languages are spoken gives us the opportunity to see things from a different perspective. We can get to know different cultures, exchange experiences, be more respectful, and it feeds our desire to travel and create our own experiences.

Hello everyone, you are all part of Deloitte’s cyber team and grew up speaking different languages. What is your mother tongue and which other languages do you speak?
Leyla: My native language is Spanish. Of course, I also speak English and currently, I am learning German.

Sophie: My native language is Portuguese, as I’m from Brazil, but I also speak French and English.

Darshan: As I’m from India, my first language is Marwari, but I also speak Marathi, Hindi, English, and German. Most of my team colleagues speak German, so this is usually my common working language.

As Darshan already said, most of your team colleagues speak German so your common work language usually is English. there Have you experienced any situations in which you were able to make use of your other language skills?
Leyla: Not yet. We only use English to communicate with each other, but that’s no problem at all.

Sophie: Actually, yes! Deloitte is a global firm which gives us the opportunity to work and meet colleagues from across the globe. For example, in my current project we collaborate with colleagues who are Portuguese speaking, so we sometimes have meetings and presentations in Portuguese. I’ve also met other colleagues in our German practice who speak Portuguese or French and it is always nice to have coffee chats with them to share our experiences as expats!

Darshan: Yes. The languages most frequently used in my team are English and German but given that we have many Indian colleagues at Deloitte and one of our project clients is based in India, my team prefers to communicate with me in Hindi or Marathi because it is more convenient for them.

Are you currently learning German? If so, have you experienced any difficulties so far?
Leyla: Yes, I have. The hardest thing for me is to memorize all the exceptions in the German language, which there are plenty of. The grammar is also difficult. Additionally, German words are much longer than Spanish ones!

Sophie: I do! It is very important for me to learn the language of the country I live in in order to communicate with my surroundings and to integrate myself well in my daily life here. It definitely isn’t easy! I started from scratch, but now I can understand quite a lot and can even participate in a few basic conversations! It is great to see my own progress and to be able to be part of new social circles or experiences.

Darshan: Although I no longer actively study German, I can practice the language on a daily basis as the clients and the project team frequently speak it. I originally began learning German in India, and I'm glad I did, since it made it easier for me to comprehend concepts in a manner that my clients desire.

As English is the main language you speak in your professional daily business, which isn’t your mother tongue, have you experienced any challenges so far?
Leyla: I don’t think we will ever feel 100% comfortable speaking a foreign language. There will be situations where we will struggle to find the perfect word to express ourselves, but it’s all a matter of practice. Sometimes, it has been difficult for me to explain certain terms, basically because there are words that I didn’t know or was unfamiliar with, but these situations are exactly the ones you need in order to improve your vocabulary and grow.

Sophie: Even though we are all speaking English, there are different sayings, expressions and sentiments that always come from your native language or culture. In this case, it is important to develop empathy towards colleagues who are perhaps not fully fluent in your language yet. In my opinion, overcoming these language challenges is a very enriching experience.

Darshan: Thankfully, I never ran into any kind of misapprehension problems. Occasionally, I have trouble with accents, but this has never been a major problem.

What are the keys to success for a good collaboration and the advice you wish to share with anyone working in an international environment?
Leyla: I believe that the members of your team are a fundamental element in facing any challenge, whether it is language or knowledge of a specific subject. If you have a supportive team, you will feel more confident, and everything will flow in the best way. We must keep in mind that we are all making an effort to communicate in a second language, but we do it with the aim of working as a team, learning from each other and getting the best results from teamwork.

Sophie: From my perspective, embracing the differences, being enthusiastic to learn about each other’s cultures and expressing our thoughts is the best way to get through the daily challenges of language differences. It creates a fun environment and inclusiveness for everyone. For example, in one of my projects, every day we used to teach each other a saying in our native language! It was a great way to embrace our differences, overcome the challenges and get to know our teammates better.

Darshan: For non-native speakers, learning German will always be challenging, but it’s also a necessity since we work in a consulting world where clients are generally local. I really appreciate if German colleagues compromise by speaking a little more slowly because it allows us to improve our language skills and understand the culture. I believe that understanding the intercultural variety within the team and giving each other the chance to actively learn from one another are success factors for a productive collaboration.

What kind of positive effects does diversity in language bring to your team?
Leyla: A language-diverse team gives us the opportunity to see things from a different perspective. We can get to know different cultures, exchange experiences, be more respectful, and it feeds our desire to travel and create our own experiences.

Sophie: Having diversity in language is our superpower! Language influences the way we think and mediate our thoughts. So, speaking a foreign language, even to a basic degree, can help you understand how certain people came to their thoughts. Above that, relationship-building is a core aspect of our business. For sure, it’s easier to build a relationship with someone that speaks your native language, but diversity in language gives us the opportunity to make connections and build our networks in different ways. This broadens the horizons of all of us!

Darshan: The variety of languages gives you the adaptability to work on different projects and boosts team morale. You get to see many approaches concerning the same assignment which is super inspiring!

They say that one has a different personality based on the language they speak. Do you feel the same way and which language makes you feel the most comfortable? What do you like most about being able to speak different languages?
Leyla: Obviously, I feel most comfortable with speaking Spanish. In Latin America and even in Spain, people are very friendly, and we also tend to be noisy, especially in bars. What I like the most about speaking different languages is that I am able to communicate with people from all over the world. That gives me the feeling that the world has no borders, and I can go wherever I want to.

Sophie: Definitely! I feel the same way. For instance, in my case, English is my “business” language. Therefore, in business contexts, I feel more comfortable speaking in English than in my mother tongue, Portuguese – although I speak it on a daily basis on a personal level. What I love most about being able to speak different languages, is the relationship-building and emotional intelligence we develop with it.

Darshan: Language undoubtedly affects personality. When I speak a certain language, I take the perspective of a native speaker. Since I have been exposed to English and other Indian languages since I was young, I feel most comfortable with people who speak these languages. However, I prefer different languages in different areas of life. For instance, I like to speak in English if something is very technical, Indian languages if I want to talk about something unrelated to my job, and German if I speak with my project team and the client. Languages give you the freedom and comfort to communicate with anyone, regardless of cultural barriers.

Despite or even because of different languages within your cyber team, there is one thing that unites you all: your passion for cyber topics! In what way does this passion express itself in you?
Leyla: That passion is expressed by researching the latest trends, helping clients achieve their goals and working as a team to achieve the best version of ourselves.

Sophie: Cyber is an extremely interesting field where a mix of domains need to interact with each other so that we can find actionable solutions to the current and future threat landscape. In this sense, diversity in expertise and background is always present, no matter what topic or project. That means that we are learning from one another every day. I’m passionate about this vivid exchange and always excited to see how we overcome these very complex situations in an innovative way!

Darshan: I enjoy discovering and actively applying new trends in the automotive industry with a focus on cyber, so that I can learn from it as well as offer this service to our clients. Recently, I just had the opportunity to receive a training for Automotive SPICE. While taking the training, I constantly related everything to cyber and thought about how we could use it for our clients. I noticed that most of my Deloitte cyber colleagues share this passion of constantly striving to give our clients the newest, finest and most innovative cyber services. This passion unites us!

We are happy to share a lot more inspiring stories of our colleagues about the diversity in Deloitte’s cyber team with you – check it out!

Furthermore, you’re very welcome to get to know more about your career opportunities in the cyber team and to learn more about our cyber services.

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Sven Schulz

Sven Schulz

Employer Branding Manager

Sven ist seit 2018 im Team Employer Branding & Personalmarketing bei Deloitte Deutschland tätig. Dort verantwortet er unter anderem Employer Branding Kampagnen mit Fokus auf berufserfahrene Talente.  Im Deloitte Karriere Blog berichtet Sven über aktuelle Karrierethemen und relevante Business Entwicklungen, die Karrieremöglichkeiten für die unterschiedlichsten Profile bereithalten.

Jennifer Koschel

Jennifer Koschel

Associate Manager | Employer Branding

Jennifer ist seit 2019 Teil des Teams Employer Branding & Talent Attraction von Deloitte in Deutschland. Sie verantwortet nicht nur den Karriere-Blog, sondern auch Employer Branding-Kampagnen für verschiedene Businesses und Zielgruppen.