Shortly after Yanukovych was ousted as Ukraine’s President, the Ukrainian Parliament repealed a recent law allowing the use of “regional languages” like Russian. Language has long been been tied up with issues of nationalism and national identity and can often be something of a “land mine” (not to be indelicate in the current, tense, situation).
If you think that these types of language sensitivities don’t apply to the medical device industry, you’re wrong. On one recent client visit, I heard a story of how the company had sent Russian instructions to a location in Estonia…not realizing the reaction that it might provoke (after the Soviet domination of the Baltic States). The result? Even though an exemption could have been written, the client demanded everything in Estonian and at a significant cost. The moral of the story? Know the political implications of your language choices when doing business abroad.