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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6 The Linguist APRIL/MAY NEW & EDITORIAL Philip Harding-Esch on putting the languages industry in the spotlight Inside Parliament one of the great preoccupations of this Parliament has been to create an export-led economy and promote international trade. Language skills are key and, at its last meeting, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modern Languages considered the languages industry itself: translation, interpreting, localisation and transcreation. The languages industry is changing quickly as it reacts to fundamental shifts in the global economy. Gary Muddyman, cEo of conversis, a Uk-based provider of globalisation, internationalisation, localisation and translation services, reported the most growth for Brazilian Portuguese, Asian languages and Eastern European languages. Latin American Spanish will soon overtake castilian Spanish, while the fastest growing language in social media is Arabic. More fundamental, perhaps, is the changing nature of the work. Translators are increasingly dealing with online texts (websites and blogs), social media (Twitter and Facebook), audio and video – which he described as 'a content explosion'. As companies increasingly communicate with their customers in real time – and publicly – through social media, they need to do so in customers' own languages and contexts. This is a real challenge for the localisation industry, which is increasingly competing with machine translation as clients demand 'faster, cheaper' results. There are more than 27,000 companies like conversis across the world, with a combined annual worth of more than $30 billion (rising at 4 percent a year). The great majority have fewer than 10 employees but use many more freelancers on a project-by-project basis. The typically short supply chain in the translation and localisation business can be a source of uncertainty with regard to quality, and may perpetuate the view that translation is a cost rather than a competitive advantage. Professional linguists have often called for more regulation of the industry, pointing out that highly regulated professions (medicine, law) hire from an unregulated professional workforce: translators. Paul Wilson, chief Executive of the institute of Translation and interpreting (iTi), envisioned a body that could support freelancers with ways of guaranteeing quality and cPD (continuing professional development) – perhaps with a kitemark. Parliamentarians were left in no doubt that the languages industry is central to the Uk's future success, and that the nation must improve its language skills. As Baroness coussins, the chair, put it: 'Speaking English is a huge advantage, vital even, but speaking only English is a serious drawback.' Philip Harding-Esch works on behalf of the British Council to support the APPG. Contact to attend future meetings. Although English is now borrowing from other languages with a worldwide range, the number of new borrowed words finding their way into the shared international vocabulary is on a long downward trend. one big reason for this is the success of English as an international language of science, scholarship, business, and many other fields […] new borrowings into English today tend to cluster much more closely in a few subject areas, especially names of food and drink. 'Does English Still Borrow Words from Other Languages?', 3/2/14 What the papers say… news reached me that the Equatorial Guinean government was planning to arrest [author] Ávila Laurel… it's the translator's job to translate a book's words, but of course you also have to translate cultures. You become a bridge between author and publisher, for they will not typically speak one another's language. You become informed about the author's country and circumstances, and you become well acquainted with the author, especially if you've had to ask him a lot of questions for your translation. You become a source of hope in times of crisis. 'Translating the Dangers Faced by an Author Under Threat', 27/2/14 i am working at the Metropolitan opera directing Werther by Massenet and am constantly made aware of language differences. Minims, crotchets and quavers become half, quarter and eighth notes, a bar becomes a measure and, since the text of the opera is French, it's what we speak in much of our rehearsals. i describe an unspoken element in a scene as 'the elephant in the room' only to discover that there is no equivalent phrase in French. 'Richard Eyre: In America, Language, Like Opera, is Open to Interpretation', 25/2/14 © ThinkSTock

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