The Linguist

The Linguist 53,2

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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Page 27 of 35

28 The Linguist APRIL/MAY OPINION & COMMENT In my opinion… It is self-evident that those working in the public service context, in any professional capacity, need to possess both intellectual and emotional intelligence. The latter always used to be assumed. Discreet steps were taken to ensure both its existence during selection for training, and its cultivation during training and practice. There wasn't a name for it really. The ability to understand, express and control one's own emotions and to understand, interpret and respond to the emotions of others seemed pretty basic and obvious. Then came managerialism, with its attendant targets, and this crucial element no longer seemed to be on anyone's list. From the fringes, I have been helping former NHS colleagues prepare submissions aimed at reinstating what this necessary element nurses. In a quest for status, nurses may have extended their intellectual intelligence through university degrees, at the expense of developing their emotional intelligence. There is a debate on terminology here. Some say 'emotional intelligence' is a contradiction in terms because what is being described is not what is usually meant by 'intelligence'. There are discussions about whether it can be taught (although some medical faculties do teach it) or whether it might be a matter of recognising and nurturing innate abilities. Who might do the teaching then arises, because they would have to know and practise what they were teaching, as well as understanding how to pass on those skills. Through this process, I learnt that individuals have emotional capital and what they can give out depends on what has been ANN CORSELLIS 'Speak English or lose benefits,' David Cameron was reported as saying in The Daily Mail, announcing the latest in a series of policies linking immigration and welfare. Meanwhile, with figures from the latest English school census in the public domain, The Daily Express reported that English is now a second language in one in nine schools, where more than half of pupils speak another language at home. Sticking with the theme of immigration, The Mirror reported that the high street chain Hobbycraft has told its foreign workers to speak to each other in English or face disciplinary action. But linguistic intolerance is not a purely UK phenomenon. In the US, a new advert by Coca-Cola, which showed Americans from diverse communities singing 'America the Beautiful' in seven (some coverage said nine) different languages provoked 'xenophobic outrage' on Twitter. It also sparked a spoof version, with singing in Klingon, Morse code and 'hieroglyphics'. Back home, we learned from The Independent and The Mirror that Further Education and Sixth-Form colleges are axing A-level language courses because of funding cuts, and that the Welsh Government has reduced funding for CILT Cymru – the organisation that supports foreign language teachers and learners in Wales – by two thirds. At the same time, The Mirror reported that 16 percent of jobseekers have falsely claimed that they can speak another language on their CV. But among all the grim news for languages there was also some high-profile support: German President Joachim Glauck, on a visit to India, urged young people to 'open new horizons' by learning languages, while our own Royal family showed off their linguistic skills in a video campaign against wildlife poaching. Prince Charles is heard saying 'Let's unite for wildlife' in Mandarin, Arabic and Spanish, while William does the same in Swahili and Vietnamese. Let's hope they won't get their benefits cut! Teresa Tinsley is Director of Alcantara Communications; TERESA TINSLEY put in. John Kennedy, Director of Care Services at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and others have suggested that those looking after the elderly are likely to do their tasks better, and with greater job satisfaction, if they have been afforded professional courtesy, understanding, encouragement and support. This includes adequate training, respectful salaries and working conditions. Twelve hour shifts, zero hour contracts, inadequate CPD (continuing professional development) and minimum wage salaries damage carers and do not promote good care of the elderly. It took me a disgraceful couple of days to recognise the connections to public service interpreters (PSIs). The successful PSIs I know have huge amounts of both emotional and intellectual intelligence, even though they work in one of the least cared for professions in the public services. Between 1983 and 1990, there were four successive development projects that piloted selection, training, assessments, training of trainers, codes, good practice and registration of public service interpreters. They were conducted under the auspices of the Institute of Linguists and mainly funded by the Nuffield Foundation (for a brief history, see my Public Service Interpreting: The first steps, Palgrave Macmillan). The pilot recommendations included: 1 Selection criteria for training, encompassing a range of factors such as interpersonal skills and personal and professional aptitudes. 2 Personal and Professional Continuous Development. Later pilot courses had sessions on how to care for one's psychological wellbeing, how to recognise when help was needed, and where to find help within the circle of informed confidentiality. Local public services often made their own facilities available to interpreters if support was needed after deaths and disasters. Talking things through The need to build emotional capital is vital for public service interpreters

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