Online Portal Contact News Clients Team Approach
  Approach   Team   Clients   News   Contact   Online Portal

We are now WBE Canada Certified!

Language Advantage Inc. proudly announces that effective December 14th, 2023 we are now WBE Canada Certified. As such, Language Advantage Inc has successfully met the eligibility criteria for certification as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE) as required by corporate and government supplier diversity programs.


Five “human touches” help us learn language in ways apps and technology cannot

By Catherine Jodar, Founder, Language Advantage

There is an old adage that says something like, “If you want to really master something, teach it.” There is much wisdom and experience in those words. My own case was a little different, because I wanted to learn how to teach new languages to people. While my knowledge of the subject matter—the new language—continued to grow as I taught it, I think I learned most about how to teach people new languages by being a student/learner of language myself.

Raised in Europe, I was fluent in French and Spanish, and had provided instruction in these languages. When I came to Canada, I wanted to perfect my English. I needed to become more comfortable using it and adapt to the Canadian version of English, too. Many Language Advantage coach-teachers have similar experiences. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds and know many different languages, so they too are experienced, continuous language learners.

My personal experience truly enables me to empathize with our class participants as they begin their language training. I remember the feelings and identify with the psychological challenges and barriers they face. I understand how students—adults especially—approach the task of learning a new language, and how this experience can bring anxieties, doubts and fears to the surface. We need to clear these roadblocks to learning, or at least find ways to work around them. Until we do, all the good grammar and proper punctuation in the world will not give learners the confidence they need to communicate effectively in the new language.

One of Language Advantage’s most appreciative class participants said, “I didn’t realize that I had a lot of past negative experiences…. My anxiety was having an impact on my ability to learn…and we came up with strategies that really helped.”

Now, a few decades since my student days, we are entrenched in the age of information, big data and artificial intelligence (AI). It was inevitable that robotics and digitization would start to automate language learning. With new tools that look, sound and perform more like human beings every day, are language teachers becoming obsolete?

Not likely.

University of Toronto’s Gillian Hadfield says that language is also a tool for communicating culture, a crucial aspect of humanity that artificial intelligence has not (yet) mastered. “These…are the systems on which we rely to solve the challenge of ensuring that people behave the way we want them to in our communities, workplaces and social environments. Only with confidence about how everyone around us is likely to behave are we all willing to trust and live and invest with one another.”

In the article Can Robots Replace Human Teachers?, Maahir Mehta says bots can definitely help teach certain factual things about language, like grammar, spelling and syntax. Now, with ChatGPT, technology can even compose written content on any subject, to any specifications we like. AI tools are now being programmed to read human facial expressions for emotional reactions in real time. But this is where a major divide emerges between machine and human capability. Because human emotions are subjective, emotional AI is prone to bias, especially when cultural differences are considered. Machines cannot always recognize speech difficulties or show empathy and encouragement to someone feeling timid about speaking in a new language. Mehta says, “Humans are social animals and inherently prefer to learn from other humans. Robots… cannot practice skills like sharing and teaching from life experiences.”

Until machines actually acquire some of these human abilities, your best bet is to work with language-learning experts who can also equip you with the thinking, history and culture that support that new language. Because these contextual aspects of language—the things the bots cannot teach you—will give you the most confidence and comfort socially as your knowledge grows.

Here are five tips that helped me learn language more fully and easily, and kept me in the game when I felt discouraged or frustrated with my progress. Use these, along with any technology, apps or programs you want to try. You will find more enjoyment, fulfillment, and well-deserved pride in your own language-learning capabilities and accomplishments.

  1. Find a coach-teacher you can trust and confide in.

Learning a new language is really all about you. Everyone learns differently and at different rates. We all have different expectations and apprehensions. The relationship with your coach-teacher is completely confidential, supportive, and totally personalized. The more they know about you, your journey, goals and anxieties, the more they can adapt things and smooth the route for you.

At Language Advantage, our programs are flexible and adaptable, both in subject matter and the approach to learning. All our coach-teachers are experienced language tutors and language learners, so they remember how it feels to be a “beginner.”  They are friendly, patient, accommodating, and interested in making learning easier, less stressful and even enjoyable for you.

  1. Set small, achievable goals for your progress.

The key is “achievable.” Confidence grows when you see progress. Maybe you want to be able to read the entire business section of the Globe & Mail in a year’s time. Start with short articles. Choose four or five new words or idioms each time and look-up their meanings. Try using anything you learn in different, simple, daily-life conversations—asking for directions, ordering coffee or buying items at the grocery store.

Share your objectives with us. Your coach-teacher will gladly help adjust the program to include some of your out-of-class learning. Maybe even suggest new tips or ideas that can boost your progress and accomplishments.

  1. Find opportunities to engage in the new language and culture.

Another wonderful feature of information technology is the endless ways it gives us to enrich ourselves. Podcasts, videos and talk shows supplement radio or television programs that already exist in every language on an infinite number of subjects.

Try attending (live or virtually) concerts or cultural events related to the language you are learning. Research the history, art, cuisine and geography. Understanding more about the context of the language makes it more engaging and interesting.

  1. Accept that learning takes time and you will not be perfect.

Be kind to yourself. Mistakes and misunderstandings will happen, but it is not the end of the world. Build your skills, step-by-step, and avoid comparing yourself to others whose experience will never be the same as yours.

The professional coach-teachers at Language Advantage are experts. They know how people learn languages. They will remind you that everyone faces the same challenges when they begin, and give you encouragement to keep going.

  1. Take risks. Be courageous and able to laugh at yourself.

People who are willing to take risks are more likely to participate in class situations. More participation is associated with greater levels of oral correctness. Taking risks, even small, measured ones, makes it more likely that you will get involved in activities, practise more, talk with peers, and learn by correcting mistakes and reinforcing knowledge. Better language proficiency naturally follows.

Your coach-teacher at Language Advantage can work with you to take “safe” risks with your language learning. They can be a wonderful aide and audience, a place to experiment, make mistakes and learn without risking offence or judgement. Maybe even share a laugh or two!

There have never been more ways to improve your language skills. Today, people need fulsome communication, not just words and phrases. Learning another language, with an appreciation and knowledge of the culture and lifestyle that goes with it, can only enhance your overall experience.

Use all the wonderful technology and automated tools to help you learn. They continue to improve all the time. But never forget that language and human communication are skill sets that are best acquired with the help of other human experts, like the experienced coach-teachers at Language Advantage.



The Secret to Successfully Launching Language Learning in Your Company

language learning strategy

In our globalized world, deciding to develop new language skills is the first, most important step on the road to new abilities, greater confidence, and a better understanding of others’ lives and views of the world.  It is what allows organizations to communicate efficiently, diplomatically, and confidently, both internally and externally. It can take you to new markets. Improve your relationships with international customers and employees. Help you share new ideas about collaboration and global partnerships. In short, proficiency in one or several foreign languages is invaluable in today’s business world, and it is something all sorts of companies can benefit from.
If you’ve recently decided to implement a language training solution in your organization’s workflow or are interested in doing so in the near future, here are a few things you should consider:

 The specific needs of your organization

Before choosing which language training provider or app to learn with, you should conduct a detailed assessment of your business needs. Ask yourself or your management team why you feel the need to implement a language learning solution in the first place, what problem you are trying to solve. Then, ask other key questions such as:

  • What language or languages do you need your employees to learn?
  • Are you looking for sector-specific language training?
  • Are your employees new language learners?
  • Who will participate in these training sessions?
  • How much time do the employees have to dedicate?
  • What’s your company’s budget?

Answering these questions is the first step toward developing a plan that will help you find the language learning provider that best suits your needs and expectations.

The most suitable strategy

Once you’ve gathered information on the needs of your company, you should select a strategy that prioritizes your team’s learning goals without negatively impacting their productivity. Moreover, it is essential to adopt a learning strategy that relates to your employees’ day-to-day lives and workflows, while also keeping them motivated. To that end, you can gather insights directly from your employees about their learning goals and preferences.

Selecting the right provider

Finding the language training provider that’s right for your company is key – but it often isn’t as straightforward as one might wish. To find the right match, you must have your goals and needs clearly defined. Then, it’s equally important to consider several factors to recognize if a provider is suited for your company, such as:

  • Does the provider offer customization options?
  • Do their coaches have experience teaching to professionals??
  • Can you choose between live lessons or asynchronous learning?
  • How flexible are the programs?
  • Does the provider adapt to your changing needs?
  • What support does the provider offer during the language learning program?
  • Does the provider understand your industry and day-to-day reality?

In this phase, it’s also recommendable to ask for references. Speaking to other companies can be quite valuable, as you can learn more about the provider’s team, style of teaching, and programs. It’s also valuable to find out if the provider has helped the client reach his language learning goals. Additionally, to better understand if a provider is a good fit for your team, you can also ask to run a pilot program with a subset of employees to 1/address the most immediate communication needs and 2/ensure it will meet business goals and add value to your workflow.

Learning as part of your company’s culture

Once you’ve selected your provider, it’s time to embed learning in your corporate culture. To do so, you must sustainably communicate how development relates to the corporate mission and values. Make sure your company’s leadership team visibly supports language training in order to motivate those involved. Successful corporate language learning encourages learners to keep going, so be sure to build enthusiasm and engagement by communicating the learning benefits along the way.

Measuring the success and the ROI of the program

As with every investment, it’s important to monitor the language program’s effectiveness. Track what truly matters by measuring acquired skills (how the employees are starting to apply their new language skills, what tasks are they able to perform in the language) and engagement (attendance, homework, activities completed, etc.) . By frequently measuring the actual developments and comparing them to the anticipated outcomes, you will be better equipped to decide if the program should be continued, modified, or dropped altogether. Choosing a provider that will help you in this task and support you by adapting the program or offering extra help is key to achieving the intended results.

Overall, language learning in the workforce is beneficial for more reasons than one. If you’re seeking customizable programs, coaches with relevant experience in the corporate world, and able to adapt nimbly to changing needs, you should get in touch with Language Advantage. For over 20 years, our team has been helping people like you transform their businesses with tailored language-learning programs. Learn more about our unique approach and don’t hesitate to contact us for a quote!

Why Language Skills Are So Important For Your Company’s Reputation


Companies of all sectors invest vast sums of money on corporate branding. Having a recognizable logo, a nice color pallet, and the most dignified values to shout at the world is extremely important. However, what many organizations often fail to understand is that having good language skills is just as essential as all that. Language penetrates every aspect of organizational life. It is crucial for everything: be it negotiating, forging trusty relationships, or simply communicating a novelty. So before you start working on a new logo or developing some fashionable brochures, ask yourself: what is your company’s language strategy? Does it need to be reviewed?
These two questions alone will give you lots of clues on how to improve your business’s reputation.

The importance of language

Empowered by social networks and digital devices, today’s consumers are more informed, more connected, and more demanding than ever before. In order to give your clients what they want and grow your reputation, you must acknowledge that language plays a vital role in every operation. Yes, it is essential to have a user-friendly website, fast and efficient customer service, and be active on social media. But what kind of value can these elements give if the content is poorly written and untranslated? Practically none. Findings from Common Sense Advisory worldwide studies show that a vast majority of consumers prefer to shop in their native language. Moreover, with evidence showing that 85% of online consumers require information in their native tongue to buy a product or request a service, it is quite evident that, nowadays, focusing on a single language is not enough. Further than that, it is also crucial to have excellent business writing skills. More than knowing a language, you have to know who your client is. Connecting with your audience requires impeccable spelling, but it also requires the ability to develop relationships based on mutual benefit and trust. For that, you need to know how to amaze your audience with words.

The impacts of poor language skills

If your target audience doesn’t understand the message or doesn’t trust your company because of poorly written materials, your reputation is at risk. What you write directly affects the way your business is perceived, so don’t leave it to chance!
Writing a speech, a news release, or a clever 140 character tweet can mean a great deal to the way your customers (and potential customers) regard your business. Poor grammar can lead the reader to draw wrong conclusions. Deplorable translation quality can lead to losing credibility and, as a result, business opportunities.
In essence, being fluent in your target languages and capable of writing professionally and appealingly can be a risk mitigation factor for your company.

Tips to manage your company’s reputation through language

Google translator isn’t enough.
If you want to expand your business and connect with customers from all over the globe, you need a more robust translation alternative. In short, you either need to hire a professional native translator or a specialist who can help you adapt your brand to the local market but also consider enhancing your employees’ language proficiency. Besides, you must get your websites and marketing materials adeptly translated. Establishing a social media presence in each language is also a great way to increase your exposure to your foreign language customers, just like developing blogs or targeted advertising for specific countries. Finally, you should also focus on building a cohesive and attractive tone for your company. Like we’ve already stated, when it comes to communication and writing skills, it is not just grammar that matters – it is also essential that you find the right voice to represent your brand personality and values and relate to your diverse audience.

Bottom line…

A reputable international brand image increases the perception of quality and industry leadership. It leads to a stronger customer base and greater business opportunities across the globe. Yet, to reach such nirvana, a beautiful visual design isn’t enough. Like we’ve shown, enhancing your company’s language
and writing skills is the ultimate key to success.

To do so, you may wish to consider language training, and if that’s the case, Language Advantage is here for you!

Helping your company thrive is our ultimate goal. If you aspire to improve your company’s reputation, we can prepare a language program tailored to your business needs. From focusing on your industry’s jargon to developing the best exercises to enhance your writing skills, we can help you transform your
company to the core and make your customers fall in love with your business.

How to improve your business English writing skills

english writing skills

One of the undisputed keys to success in today’s globalized world is fluency in English.

While other languages continue to be vital, English is unequivocally the most important for business, regardless of the sector. From mining to health care, it is crucial to have good English skills to thrive in our global economy.

However, when it comes to communication skills, people tend to give more weight to verbal/oral communication over other forms.

Although speech might seem like our primary form of expression, the truth is that written communication is just as essential – and, in today’s digitalized world, absolutely crucial for prospering as a corporation. From communicating with clients to developing essential paperwork, such as memos or catalogues, knowing how to write in English professionally and effectively can define a company’s success.

I. Benefits of good writing skills in business

Effective written communication makes companies run smoothly and enhances productivity. While becoming proficient in English might not be as easy as people tend to believe, especially when it comes to writing, it is something worth striving for.

Writing is the primary way business gets done in today’s collaborative world. It doesn’t matter if you are communicating your services or products through video, blog, advertising, or email marketing: all these require good writing skills to succeed.

The reason is quite simple: good writing is fundamentally good thinking. By communicating efficiently and effectively, your business grows and profits, mainly because:

● it gets perceived as more reliable and trustworthy;
● it develops better persuasion mechanisms;
● it builds a substantial presence on the market;
● it helps saving time (and money) throughout the operations;
● it boosts the confidence of both management teams and employees;
● it uplifts work relationships, both with co-workers, peers, and clients;
● … and so much more!

II. Tips to improve your writing skills

Companies spend a tremendous amount of time, money, and resources to help their employees develop new skills in areas like management, customer service, or marketing.

But what about writing?

As we have mentioned before, having good writing skills is key in every sector, especially nowadays, when making business involves less conversation and more electronic interactions.

Unfortunately, many good business people are very poor writers, which can surprisingly damage a company’s reputation, reliability, and daily operations.

You might not realize it, but this can be a huge obstacle between you and the success you are striving for.

Improving your writing will make you better at anything you do, whether you are an intern or the CEO. So if you are interested in expanding your expertise, here are some tips on how to improve your English writing skills:

● Be aware of what you are writing, why, and for whom.
All business writing has a goal, so you must understand it and plan for it before rushing to the keyboard (or pen). You need to be conscious of what you need to communicate and, very importantly, of who your audience is. As you can imagine, selling a product to young-adults at the beginning of their career is quite different than selling it to people in retirement. In short, a message aimed at everyone often appeals to no one. The audience is what determines the content to be written, be it in terms of style or even the information itself.

● Strive for brevity and clarity
When it comes to business, there is often the idea that the more extensive and filled with industry-specific buzzwords, the better. Yet, the truth is that everyone prefers a message that it’s both quick and easy to read. So while writing, keep this in mind: the best communication conveys your message in a way that is easily understood and absorbed by your targeted audience. Short sentences and short paragraphs have a better chance of capturing the reader’s attention. Clear writing means clear thinking. Bet on it! After all, there is a reason why people keep preaching “less is more”!

● Proofread what you write.
Whatever it is you write in a business context, you need to proofread it. Always. Even if it is a short email or copy for an online ad. Before finalizing the task, take some time to ensure consistency and accuracy in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and even formatting. All these little ingredients can mean a great deal in the way your message is understood and appraised. And here is a little tip: whenever possible, read your text aloud. Doing so can help you spot places for better word choice or improve sentence structure effectively.

● Take advantage of new technologies
Nowadays, there is an endless array of apps and programs you can use to assist you with your writing. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of them?
Whenever you are proofreading or editing a message, use these new technologies for some additional insights into your writing skills. You can use readability checkers (calculators that identify how easy it is to read your text, jargon graders (apps that recognize and remove excessive jargon), and also dictionaries and thesauruses.

● Enrol in a business writing program
Spell checkers are useful tools, but they are still far from perfect. You can use them to polish your texts, but they cannot do the hard work for you. If you feel like you need to improve your English writing skills in a broad and efficient way, you should consider language training.
At Language Advantage, we offer in-person and online English writing courses for people that, just like you, want their business to excel.
To help you achieve that goal, we start by identifying your struggles and the type of environment you usually communicate in. After gathering all the information, we prepared a personalized training program to meet your needs and goals without losing sight of your business sector. For us, a good program isn’t just about enhancing your language skills – it is also about giving you the tools and inspiration to communicate with confidence!

Case Study #1 :

Language Advantage helps a multinational mining corporation that explores, develops, processes, and markets metals and minerals in different countries. Given that in Canada it operates in bilingual environments, it was clear that investing in language training should be a priority.

After gathering with representatives to understand the company’s needs, we prepared a customized program to enhance the employee’s level of both French and English.

For those who needed to take French exams to work in Quebec (mainly geologist’s permits and engineer’s permit), we designed a program based on the exam requirements and the teams’ daily tasks.

And because our services are tailored both for groups or singular individuals, we have also developed a six-month business English program for one employee who was new to this sector.

The program’s focus was to improve his ability to write professional-level summaries and essays, enhance his comprehension of industry-specific terminology, and develop his listening skills.

By the end of the course, his growth was evident. Not only could he engage in conversations with ease and prepare documentation more efficiently, as he also reported feeling more confident and satisfied with his role.
As we have seen at Language Advantage endless times, a self-confident attitude leads to solid work relationships, an enhanced ability to negotiate, and improved management skills.

Case Study #2 : High-impact business communication

The Procurement Department at the Federal Level relies on their communications skills to deliver a good service.

As many of their employees don’t have English as a first language, the department decided to help them upgrade their business language skills.

Considering that business English serves different purposes than general English, needing to be tailored in a proficient, comprehensive, and informative way, we gathered with the representatives to understand these professionals’ challenges and needs.

Following the assessment, we developed a training course to refine their business English and communications abilities, mainly focusing on presentation skills, negotiation skills, and writing skills.

For the native English speakers, we also designed a program to enhance specific communication abilities required for the roles (such as tools to communicate in a corporate setting and business writing methods).

When the training period ended, the employees reported feeling more confident and positive about their communication skills. Those who weren’t native English speakers reached a higher proficiency level, which led to enhanced productivity and results.

Let us help you improve your English writing skills!

At Language Advantage, helping your company thrive is our ultimate goal. To that end, we design the programs your business needs, focusing on the unique dynamics, daily tasks, and the industry in which you operate.

If you aspire to improve your business English writing skills, we can present you with the best solutions for your specific goals. From focusing on your industry’s jargon to developing the best exercises to enhance your negotiation skills, we can help you transform your business to the core.

If you have any questions or wish to ask for a quote, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of native instructors will be delighted to design a customized plan for you and your team!

5 Tips to Make Your Employees Commit to Language Learning


It is undeniable that having a multilingual workforce brings endless benefits to every business. It translates into better communication and problem-solving skills, enhanced creativity, confidence, and, ultimately, more opportunities to forge partnerships and build a solid customer base. Our clients are often asking how to make their employees commit to language learning and enhance their motivation.

If your workforce is not already multilingual, it can be challenging to change the circumstances. Yet, challenging does not mean impossible!

Considering that foreign language skills are vital in today’s global economy, this is an ability in which you should invest – mainly if your company operates globally or aims to do so in the future. By promoting the learning of a new language, you will be opening new doors into better business opportunities while also enhancing your employee’s confidence, dedication, and loyalty.

So many perks, right?

The big question now is: how can you make your employees feel motivated and committed to learning a new language?

There are many ways to stimulate your team and make the learning experience positive and profitable for everyone. Here are five unmissable tips that will help you optimize your employees’ language learning:

1.Find a program that fits the company

Every company is unique. From daily operations to work culture, every business has its own strengths and weaknesses, which also translates into different needs. Considering that, you must find a language training program that fulfills said needs while also meeting your employees’ learning preferences (and availability).

Nowadays, there are endless teaching techniques, materials, and programs to choose from. To make the right decision, you must assess the company’s corporate needs while acknowledging your team’s diversity and the different learning styles. In the end, the more personalized the training program, the better.

2.Give your employees the time they need to study

Expecting employees to work hard throughout the week on their daily tasks and still find the extra time and energy to engage in language training can lead you to disappointing outcomes. The best strategy is to give them the time they need to study.

Time is, very often, one of the biggest obstacles to motivation. Thus, it is crucial to integrate new learning activities into the work schedule in a way that everyone feels comfortable with. It might seem challenging, but there are many solutions you can look into, like reducing the typical corporate hour-long meetings or taking advantage of periods when business is low.

Further than that, make sure you engage your employees by explaining the program and its goals in detail. If people don’t know what resources will be available or how the language training will benefit them, they won’t be excited about it.

3.Make it fun!

It can be hard to keep your employees engaged and motivated to learn a new language, but there are many strategies you can implement for that end. One of the most popular ones is to appeal to their competitive spirit. With this approach, you can easily turn language learning into the week’s most expected moment!

For instance, you can organize small competitions within teams or even create a “Language Learner of the Month” prize, which could be a restaurant voucher, a discount card, or something funny to lighten up the mood, like a spot on the company’s Wall of Fame. Each business has its unique culture and values, so be creative and make sure that your awards reflect them!

4.Reward your employees’ efforts

Students, regardless of their age, study harder and get better results when they feel supported. Positive feedback and verbal encouragement are key to stay on track and, as research[1] finds, often way more important than cold hard cash.

Employee recognition is a cornerstone of effective management, and it is also a great tool to make teams feel motivated when challenged to learn a new skill. Beyond a bonus or award (as we mentioned in the previous paragraph), small daily gestures that show your appreciation, like a friendly thank-you email or some additional office perks, will boost everyone’s morale. When the students hit a milestone on the program, reward them with a group dinner or a team-building activity. With these gestures, your employees will view learning new skills as something valued in the company.

5.Organize events to celebrate a culture

Here is a fact: a learner who understands and admires a culture is more inspired to learn the language. And to understand a culture, further than textbooks, movies, or even movies, it is essential to experience it first-hand!

With this in mind, you can inspire your employees by organizing weekend or after-hours social gathers that involve attendance at cultural events. Something as simple as a Mexican cooking class or a Japanese origami workshop held by native instructors can mean a great deal in the process.

In this type of event, employees can enjoy the festivities, learn new skills, and initiate personal relationships with speakers of the target language. In the end, it is a fun activity for everyone involved, and that will have a significant impact on the way employees approach the new language.

Contact us for a personalized language training program!

The biggest benefit of language training is that it provides employees with the opportunity to work and interact with speakers of other languages. But learning a new language also has many other perks that will profit the whole company, from a greater sense of loyalty and satisfaction to better management and negotiation skills.

If this is something you want to invest in, let us help you find the most suitable program for your team!

Over the years, Language Advantage has transformed businesses of all sectors into more profitable, globalized, and happier organizations – and we believe yours also deserves that!

To meet your business demands, we start by assessing your needs and goals and, accordingly, we proceed to design a learning program that fits your company’s identity and expectations. And yes, that can even include social events and boot camps!

If you wish to know more, do not hesitate to contact us. Our highly qualified and dedicated instructors will be happy to walk you through our programs and present you with a quote.

[1] Does Money Motivate? Employee Engagement & Compensation (

CELPIP or IELTS: Which Language Test Should you Choose?


Moving to a new country isn’t easy. It requires a lot of organization and, as such, an immeasurable amount of paperwork. Canada is no exception, and when it comes to immigration, the process can be quite challenging and lengthy. Each work/study permit has its list of requirements, making it quite laborious to deliver a successful application.

Luckily, the online world offers all sorts of resources on the matter, making it easier for newcomers to find the answers they seek. So, if you plan to move to the True North or become an official citizen, we’re here to help with one of the most important requirements: your language proficiency level.

By now, you are probably familiar with these two acronyms: CELPIP and IELTS. These exams can mean a great deal to your application, which is why you should devote some time to understand how they work. These are some of the things you need to know:

What are the language requirements to immigrate to Canada?

Unless you come to Canada with a Working Holiday Visa (known as IEC), you must prove language ability in one of Canada’s two official languages: French and/or English.

For instance, if you want to be eligible for Express Entry, you must prove your English or French language abilities by taking an approved language test and getting the minimum results required by the program.

Currently, the approved tests are the following:

For English

CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program.

IELTS: International English Language Testing System.

For French

TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français.

As you probably know by now, to have a successful application, you need to have a good rank (and that means: many points). Each immigration program has a different score, which is why you must determine which category you are qualifying for in advance.

Amongst several other factors, language ability is key to provide you points. That is why all applicants must include their test results with their application to claim points under the language skills selection. Said test must showcase your writing, speaking, listening, and reading skills.

Being able to communicate effectively in one or both of Canada’s official languages is key to the application process, but also for your integration in the country. As such, we strongly recommend you to try to get a good score instead of just aiming to pass with minimum effort.

CELPIP and IELTS: how different are these exams?

Right now, you are probably wondering: but should I take a CELPIP or IELTS test? Do both of them serve the same purpose?

Like we have already mentioned, both tests are designed to test your language proficiency through reading, writing, speaking, and listening exercises. The main difference between the two exams is that CELPIP is an entirely computer-based test, while IELTS is only partially made on the PC. In this exam, the reading, writing, and listening sections are usually paper-based, while the speaking test is done in person.

It is also important to note that the CELPIP was specifically conceived for Canadian English assessment (in fact, CELPIP stands for Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program). Considering that, if you are a working immigrant that wants to apply for permanent residency or citizenship, it might be a good idea to take the CELPIP exam.

On the other hand, if you wish to use the results to immigrate to other countries in the future (outside of the US and Canada), the IELTS exam is known for being widely accepted. Besides, IELTS is also more advisable for students. As such, if your goal is to study in a Canadian university, the IELTS test is probably the smartest choice.

Quick Comparison Table:


Choosing the right test

At Language Advantage, we usually advise our clients to prepare for the CELPIP exam, as the structure is less intense than the IELTS exam. In any case, the final decision is up to you depending on your particular situation, and these are the main factor you should take into account:

1.Location and Price

Both CELPIP and IELTS are very accessible in Canada. CELPIP has over 30 locations across Canada, while IELTS has more than 100. In fact, you can even take the desired exam in Whitehorse, Yukon. In short, location will hardly be a problem for a newcomer!

The availability for both tests is given months in advance, which allows you to plan ahead and get adequately prepared. If you want to have a better idea of availability, you can check the CELPIP and IELTS schedule pages and compare them.

As for the price, both tests cost about the same. The CELPIP is around $280, while the IELTS costs between 300$ and 320$, depending on the location.

2. Test Duration and Structure

Both IELTS and CELPIP have different versions. Depending on your goals, language skills, and desired immigration program, you might find that an exam is more suitable than the others. In either case, the most popular and generally accepted for immigration purposes are the IELTS General Training and the CELPIP General.

While they are both similar in terms of tasks, there are a couple of differences that might be determinant in your choosing. While CELPIP is conducted in one 3-hour sitting, IELTS might require you to be tested on more than one day. Generally, the IELTS speaking section is done separately at a different time, day, and possibly location.

As for the results, both exam centers take about 10-15 days to share the outcome. If you need the results urgently, CELPIP offers an express rating system in which the score is available in three business days for an extra $100 fee.

3. Difficulty

The truth is, both tests can be somewhat difficult if you are not properly prepared. The tasks are quite similar, as they encompass sections of reading, writing, listening, and talking. In both, you must meet or exceed Canada’s minimum threshold for language proficiency.

Still, there are a few differences worth contemplating. For example, in the writing section of the CELPIP exam, you will be asked to write an email. On the other hand, if you take the IELTS Academic exam, you will have to write a report about a diagram and an essay. Needless to say, if you are not feeling confident about your writing skills, CELPIP might be the most suitable option for you.

How to prepare for the exam

 Regardless of your choice, one thing is for granted: you need to study a lot. Both exams are reasonably expensive and represent a unique opportunity to get the required points for your application.

Considering that, it is advisable that you dedicate at least three weeks to study. Depending on your English skills, you might even need a few extra weeks to feel adequately comfortable with your listening, reading, writing, and speaking abilities.

While it is possible to find all sorts of resources online (from YouTube Videos to free apps and manuals), we recommend you to seek professional guidance to get adequately prepared.

Think about it. You need to familiarize yourself with all the test sections, practice your writing, listening, talking, and reading skills throughout the right type of exercises, and find reliable feedback on your progress. How easy would it be to go through all of this with an experienced language instructor?

That is what we can do for you at Language Advantage. We have many years of experience preparing students for all language levels for their CELPIP and IELTS exams. We know perfectly well how these tests work and what you need to practice to achieve a good result.

Regardless of your needs and language abilities, our team can provide you with the materials and support you require for this crucial step in your application process.

If you want to know more about our customized plans, prices, and schedules, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of instructors will be more than happy to design a program to fit your needs!

How to achieve effective communication in a diverse workplace

effective communication

Nowadays, nearly every business in Canada – and potentially all over the globe – has some diversity level in the workplace. It is a great asset – diversity brings fresh ideas and a multicultural view of the work environment while also stimulating creativity and innovation.
However, a multilingual workforce also presents unique challenges. With multilingual teams, miscommunication can happen frequently, and employees may have preconceived ideas about co-workers from different countries and cultures. Likewise, unclear or inadequate communication can also lead to dangerous situations, where employees have, for instance, difficulties understanding security protocols.

In short, diversity in a workforce is a good thing when it is managed well. So if you are leading multicultural and multilingual teams, you must assess if you can communicate effectively with your employees and if they manage to communicate effectively to one another. Cultural diversity creates well-rounded teams that can better meet overall business goals. However, if they are not handled properly, you will likely never achieve a positive work environment – and, as a consequence, neither a successful business.

In this article, we will explore the importance of having (and celebrating) a multicultural workforce and how you can stimulate effective communication among co-workers.

How to improve communication in a diverse workplace?

Here are five important steps that will help you overcome language barriers in your organization:

Investing in translation resources and interpreters

In international business environments, linguistic barriers can be a significant issue. If you are working with global teams, you might have noticed that, sometimes, language can step in the way and create all sorts of misunderstandings. To avoid major issues and create a healthier and safer workplace, there are a few basic steps you can take. Start by translating all essential documents, such as security protocols or training manuals. Ideally, these materials should be translated for every language spoken at your organization, so that no one feels left behind. Then, it is also worth considering hiring an interpreter. Having a skilled translator to help you maintain effective communication in the workplace can be a great investment, especially if you regularly work with teams from different backgrounds. By promoting a harmonious, unified approach to working, this professional could deeply change your organization for the better.

Offering language training to managers and/or employees

To improve your multilingual workplace’s overall communication, you should start by examining how effectively your staffing and managing teams communicate within themselves and to each other. If you determine that language is a significant barrier preventing everyone from reaching a better, safer, and most productive workplace, you should consider language training.
Even if English is the standard language used in your organization, you have to recognize that many of your non-English speakers’ employees can feel unnoticed and unappreciated in the workplace. Besides, if you work in the international arena and regularly collaborate with foreign peers and clients, having impeccable communication skills is even more crucial.
Language training schools/services, like Language Advantage, recognize multicultural and multilingual companies’ challenges and have the perfect methods to answer their needs.
Our programs, for instance, are designed to adapt to every corporation’s goals, availability, and type of business. As we understand that every organization has its own challenges and aspirations, we have developed programs that focus on real-life needs for each industry and team. If you believe that your organization could benefit from language training, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Emphasizing the importance of listening

Communication is, as experts say, a two-way street. This means that, besides talking, workers also need to enhance their listening skills. Developing this ability improves the overall communication in the organization, ultimately benefiting the business as a whole. Active listening may seem simple, even passive, but it requires patience and focus, along with new habits.
Remember: in the workplace, the cost of poor listening skills plus language barriers can add up to a significant loss of money and time.
As many studies suggest, most cultural disputes and misunderstandings can be prevented if people take time to listen and make an effort to connect.
And how can you stimulate this essential skill? Easy: by setting the example. Give your workers space to communicate fully and openly. Show that you care about what they have to say. Make a conscious effort to clear your mind of distractions when you need to listen actively. With these simple gestures, you will inspire all your teams to be more open and supportive while also setting the grounds for better and deeper understanding.

Respecting the cultural diversity

In simple terms, cultural diversity is about respecting and accepting people’s differences and understanding that everyone is unique. In Canadian workplaces, employees with limited English proficiency often feel isolated and unappreciated on a team. To avoid negative feelings and solitude (which often translates into an unsatisfactory work environment and low productivity), it is essential to set ground rules that focus on mutual respect and tolerance. Emotional barriers, taboos, and prejudices must be recognized and settled, as they constitute a barrier to communication and, consequently, relationships.
Ensure that all employees understand the company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. If everyone understands those principles, it will be easier to recognize and enjoy all the advantages of a culturally diverse workplace.

Making the most of a diverse workplace

Like we have already mentioned, a diverse workplace has a lot of benefits. Different perspectives, backgrounds, and opinions contribute a lot to any type of business. As such, an organization that embraces and values difference is on the right path to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and, consequently, overall productivity.
Effective communication isn’t just about understanding colleagues – it is also about making them feel welcome and integrated. So our advice is very simple: make all your workers feel welcome and appreciated, regardless of their background. One way to do so is to sponsor events where team members can introduce their peers to their culture and lifestyle. It is a great way to make team building while also fomenting cohesion, tolerance, and acceptance.

Research has shown that workforce diversity is a source of innovation. It allows you to access new markets, develop better work relationships, and explore new ideas and perspectives when it comes to making business. However, it can also bring many challenges to the workplace, especially when it comes to effective communication.
This is why you need to analyze if you are doing everything to promote top-notch communication. Simple decisions, like translating essential documents or investing in a language training program for managers, can make a tremendous difference in your organization.

Once again, if you think that language training could help you expand and improve your business relationships, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of native instructors will be delighted to design a customized plan for your teams!

How to learn a new language while in lockdown

learning language lockdown

The world never felt as uncertain and strange as now. The coronavirus pandemic has put our daily routines on hold as we wait for release from our temporary imprisonment.
We feel devastated by not being able to hug our loved ones, join big events, or simply end a working day with a couple of colleagues in a bar.
But one thing is also sure: due to coronavirus, most of us have more free time than ever. And that free time can either be wasted or invested in learning a new skill.

If you have been thinking about that, we have good news for you. As research finds, keeping your mind and brain active by learning something new can help cure potential boredom (and even despair) during a lockdown. It gives you a sense of purpose, makes you feel more active and, consequently, more optimistic and balanced.
Besides, devoting some quarantine time to self-education can never go wrong, especially if you consider how competitive the job market is nowadays – and how worse it can get from now on.

With just a mobile phone and an internet connection, you can obtain all sorts of skills, upgrade your curriculum, and make an immediate impact on your business and career.
From a first aid course to a 101 on accounting, there are endless options for you to choose. Nonetheless, we all have to agree on this: learning or improving a second language is the number one choice for most people. And the reasons are quite easy to grasp.

Mastering the art of communicating in more than one language can make you stand out in an uncertain employment market and facilitate the way you do business and relate to customers and peers. Besides, as many studies have shown, people with more than one language make better multi-taskers, forge stronger relationships, and have better decision-making skills. Who wouldn’t want that?

But how can you – or anyone – learn new skills successfully in these unusual and unpredictable circumstances?
While the answer might differ for each person, we have collected a list of tips to make learning from home more comfortable and enjoyable. Take note:

1. Set your goals proactively

Setting goals gives us direction and boosts motivation, which is something we all need during these unprecedented times. But setting smart goals isn’t as easy as it seems; in fact, there’s a whole “recipe” to it. First of all, you must avoid setting bland, vague, or dream-like goals. Be realistic about what you want, and be even more realistic about what you can do. Then, think of goals you can easily measure and keep track of. This way, you will be able to recognize your progress and celebrate every small victory. Finally, focus on using your time and resources productively. No goal can be met if you don’t have a results and time-based strategy.

2. Create a study zone and a schedule

If you want to learn a new language as efficiently as possible, start with your environment. Now that you are probably spending more time at home than ever before, it is essential to organize your spaces and set up a comfortable working/studying zone. If you are trying to study a new language on the kitchen table and during a schedule where your housemates/family members usually go to prepare meals or eat, you won’t succeed. You need a quiet and organized space that signals your brain that you are in for a “serious” time. Apart from that, setting a studying routine, dedicating, for example, half an hour per day to language learning, is also an essential step.

3. Find the course/learning material most suited for you

Depending on your specific needs and goals, there are endless websites, apps, and learning materials for you to choose from. Besides courses and exercises, you can also immerse yourself in the desired language by watching movies, TV shows, reading, or listening to podcasts and youtube videos. Needless to say, putting theory into practice is immensely important. Linguist experts and educators agree that the best way to learn a new language is to converse directly with a language instructor or a native speaker. So, even if you decide to use an app or free course, it is always recommendable to find an online tutor or native speaker to practice with.

4. Stay motivated!

Given the circumstances, staying motivated might be the hardest part. But keep this in mind: with or without pandemics, if there’s a skill that will always be in high demand, is excellence in language and communication. So in order to keep the inspiration flowing during the learning process, you need several ingredients: routine, consistency, structure, and, very importantly, a reward system. Every time you accomplish a task or goal, reward yourself with a ten-minute break, a fresh drink, a youtube video, or a special take-out dinner from your favorite restaurant.

Language Advantage can help you on your learning journey

When it comes to learning a language, nothing compares to the in-person experience. However, given the unprecedented times we find ourselves living in, the online world can be a great ally for you to learn a new language or improve your communication skills.
At Language Advantage, we have years of experience delivering online classes for clients that can’t commit to in-person lessons and/or need flexible solutions, which is why we feel that we are remarkably adapted to the new reality. Our instructors are accustomed to online teaching methods and have developed the best tools and learning materials to give every student the best learning experience.
If you wish to know more about our online courses and individual classes, feel free to write to us at or call at 647-343-5368. Our team will be delighted to walk you through your options and design a tailor-made program for you.

Learning Portuguese language

portuguese language

 Portuguese is a fascinating language that evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin. As part of the Ibero-Romance groups, it is quite similar to Spanish, but full of charms that are quite unique to the lusophone people. Would you like to know more about this beautiful Romance language and start learning?

Here is a quick walkthrough:

Where does the Portuguese language come from?

Portuguese roots were established when the Romans introduced Latin as the official language in the Iberian Peninsula. During that period, the territory was invaded several times by the so-called barbarian tribes, but the Vulgar Latin managed to survive and prosper. With time, along the Atlantic coast, it gradually evolved into Galician-Portuguese, which was a mix of local dialects and Latin. It was only after the incorporation of Galicia into Spain and the independent development of Portugal that these languages were split into Galician and Portuguese.

Decades down in history, Portugal’s colonial and commercial empire spread the Portuguese language across the globe, from Brazil to Timor-Leste, in what became known as the “Great Discoveries”. As expected, the language evolved quite differently in each territory. Nowadays, Portuguese has many dialects and accents, from the African creoles to Macanese Portuguese, and they are all connected within the Lusophone group.

Is Portuguese similar to Spanish?

As history suggests, Portuguese and Spanish are very similar. For a long time, the Iberian countries had the same language that evolved differently but kept a lot of resemblances. In fact, the two languages share a lexical similarity of almost 90%, which means that, on paper, they look quite alike. But do not get your hopes too high: spoken Spanish and Portuguese are way less mutually intelligible than their written forms.

While the two languages share a lot of cognates, they also share a lot of false friends that can lead to confusion. For instance, while rato in Spanish refers to a period of time, it means mouse in Portuguese.

In short, though being native or fluent in one helps with learning the other, you will always have to actually learn. For instance, you can’t visit Brazil speaking Spanish and expect people to understand you.

What about Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese? How different are they?

Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese might seem the same to a non-speaker, but there are many differences between both countries. The main one is definitely pronunciation. Brazilians speak vowels longer and wider, while Portuguese people pronounce the words with a more closed mouth. As a result, Brazilian Portuguese is often considered more melodic and even easier to learn.
Then, just like it happens with American and British English, there are some differences in vocabulary. For example, a teacup in Portugal is called chávena, while in Brazil is xícara.
Finally, there are also remarkable differences when it comes to formal and informal speech. For instance, Brazilians use você (you) in informal and formal settings, while Portuguese people use tu (you) in informal conversations. In Portugal, the pronoun você is only used in formal contexts.

In any case, it is important to make clear that both languages are virtually the same and that most Portuguese and Brazilians have no trouble understanding each other. Only a strong accent could make a conversation somewhat difficult.

Should you invest in learning Portuguese?

Saying that Portuguese is a beautiful language might not be enough to convince you to learn it. So here is some data: as statistics conclude, there are over 236 million Portuguese speakers across the continents, which makes it the 7th most spoken language on the planet, right after Arabic and Bengali. Brazil and Portugal are most known as Portuguese speaking countries but you can expect to hear people communicate in Portuguese in Mozambique or Macau.

And it doesn’t end here! According to UNESCO’s estimations, Portuguese is the fastest-growing European language after English, and it has the highest potential for growth as an international language in southern Africa and South America. Needless to say, for studying, traveling, and working abroad, knowing Portuguese can be a great advantage, especially considering that it is a growing language in two continents.

Is Portuguese hard to learn?

It depends. If you already speak a Romance language (ideally Spanish), it will be way easier for you to learn Portuguese, as they all share the same Latin root. However, if this is going to be your first Romance language, be ready to face some challenges! Like its Romance language counterparts, Portuguese has different verb conjugations for each person, which can be considerably difficult for a native English speaker, just like the gendered nouns. However, the biggest challenge is probably the tricky pronunciation, which is, like we have mentioned, a lot harder than its sister language, Spanish. To facilitate the process, you can opt to learn Brazilian Portuguese, since it is way easier to replicate.

In any case, learning a new language is always faster (and considerably easier) if you join a course. If you are interested in learning Portuguese and hope to do so through immersion, it is worth considering doing classroom education alongside or before.

Learning Portuguese at Language Advantage

If you are interested in learning Portuguese for business or for personal needs, Language Advantage might be the right choice for you! Our native teachers, experts in all levels of language training, can help you achieve your goals by offering you personalized programs. No matter your needs, we can design a language training program to fit your availability, so that you can start talking in Portuguese as soon as possible.

To receive more information, please feel free to contact us at We will be more than happy to tell you more about our programs and methods!