Internationalization of Business English communication at university: A threefold needs analysis
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This paper provides an example of a thorough needs analysis previous to the syllabus planning of a Business English (BE) course at a Catalan university. Three types of sources for linguistic needs are considered. Firstly, the institutional foreign language (FL) policy of the university, which requires a CEFR level B1 for all graduates. Secondly, students’ needs, collected through an entry test and a self-report questionnaire, which provide statistical evidence of the effect of experience abroad and number of years studying English on results of the entry test and perceptions of their own reading skills. Lastly, the opinions of six local business people representing the main sectors with international activity in the area of influence of the university. These business representatives, gathered in a focus-group discussion session, emphasize the importance of comprehension skills and accuracy in BE lexical selection for international business. The triangulation of these data reveals the need to enhance communicative efficiency in business routine tasks in the BE syllabus, instead of promoting approaches oriented towards native-speaker models. Finally, inconsistencies are revealed between institutional and business representatives’ expectations regarding students’ FL target level.