Breaking down language barriers is crucial for harnessing the full potential of non-native English speakers in the field of science. Unfortunately, the dominance of English as the universal language of science presents a significant challenge. Surprisingly, very few studies have explored how language barriers affect the career advancement of non-native English-speaking researchers.To address this gap, our research team surveyed 908 scientists in environmental sciences. We set out to quantify and compare the extra effort required for non-native English speakers, hailing from various countries and linguistic backgrounds, to carry out their scientific activities in English. The results were eye-opening.Our findings revealed that non-native English speakers, particularly those in the early stages of their careers, invest more effort compared to their native English-speaking counterparts. This extra effort is needed for tasks like reading and writing papers, crafting presentations, and disseminating research in English and other languages. Moreover, language barriers often prevent these researchers from attending or presenting at international conferences conducted solely in English.To unlock the untapped potential of non-native English speakers in science, it is crucial for the scientific community to acknowledge and tackle these disadvantages. We call upon individuals, institutions, journals, funders, and conference organizers to take action.Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for major overhauls. Simple yet effective solutions can be implemented right away. Supportive measures such as language training programs, dedicated translation services, and increased inclusivity in conference language policies can make a tangible difference. By embracing these solutions, we can empower non-native English speakers to thrive in their scientific careers and foster a truly global and collaborative scientific community. Let’s work together to create a more inclusive and impactful future for science.