The Linguist

The Linguist 59,5 - October/November 2020

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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OCTOBER/NOVEMBER The Linguist 7 @Linguist_CIOL FEATURES reports such as 'Lost for Words: The need for languages in UK Diplomacy and Security' (2013) and 'Born Global' (2016) from the British Academy; 'Languages for the Future' (2017) from the British Council; and 'The Value of Languages' (2016) from the University of Cambridge. There are many more. As the Chartered professional body for languages, CIOL has a leading and multi-faceted role to play in helping to reverse the alarming decline in languages and the inevitable future gap between language demand and supply. Across schools, following the removal of languages as a compulsory subject from the post-14 curriculum in 2004, the numbers studying languages have fallen dramatically, not only across state education but also within the privileged context of private education. The diminishing pipeline of language learners emerging from schools, combined with increasing economic imperatives for universities, has led to specialist language departments reducing in number from over 90 at the end of the 1990s to just over 60 by 2019. The number will very likely drop further. In contrast, a shift has taken place in language centres, which have attracted rising numbers of students from other disciplines. They see the addition of a language as value added to their qualification in subjects as far ranging as engineering, law, sports science and marketing. With Brexit just around the corner and Covid impacting on the home jobs market, it's easy to understand why students are looking for skills that they can market beyond the formal boundaries of the UK and that will set them apart from their professional peers as they embark on their career journeys. Pace of change Much the most significant change has come from advances in technology and no more so than in the field of translation, where desk- working, traditional practices and dictionaries have been swapped for alternative translation- related activities and innovative technologies. Talk is now of terminology tools, post-editing, localisation, file transfers and workflows. Even machine translation sounds a little passé, and long gone are the Mondays I'd spend translating referees' reports from international football matches, formatted in Word, printed and mailed back to the Football Association! Interpreting technology is a game-changer but takes something important away from what is essentially a people profession, particularly as the pace of change intensifies as a result of the pandemic. Matching demand to supply no longer relies on geography, benefiting those that require fast access to rare languages, and interpreters who seek same- day assignments in different locations. The move from individual to corporate activity has facilitated the creation of mega-suppliers who now dominate the market, but pay, as well as terms and conditions, has suffered. Outsourcing is a fact of 21st-century life and another change the profession must adapt to. The major UK framework providers have experienced a difficult learning curve, but there are positive signs that qualifications are once again being recognised and that the professionalism of our practitioners is being valued. The new national police framework for language services is significant in this respect and CIOL is proud to have been part of their engagement profile. I feel immensely honoured to have finished my career leading the chartered body for the profession and representing such a talented body of linguists and language practitioners. Eurostar chose to 'take a driver and teach them French'. I never encountered a more motivated group of learners, who saw acquiring the language as the route to their own career pinnacle – carrying passengers under the Channel and safely across French and Belgian rail networks to Paris and Brussels. Ann Carlisle considers developments to languages in the career, and what they mean for the present and future cades in languages CHUNNEL VISION Ann prepares to board the Eurostar cab in 1996

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