The Linguist

The Linguist 55,4

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 4 of 35 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2016 The Linguist 5 The latest from the languages world Brexit vote: language organisations respond UK-based bodies representing professional linguists have reacted to the result of the referendum on 23 June, in which 51.9% voted to leave the European Union. The Association of Translation Companies (ATC) warned the decision would have a "direct impact" on the sector. "As an organisation whose members are focused on supporting companies internationally with their language service needs, we are concerned and disappointed by the results of yesterday's referendum," said ATC General Secretary Geoffrey Bowden. In a recent survey, more than 60% of translation companies said business with EU-based enterprises would be compromised. The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) issued a statement acknowledging that the result was likely to have disappointed many of its members. According to an internal survey, nearly 84% of CIOL members wanted to remain in the EU. Sharing the CIOL's apolitical stance, the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) stated: "We are certain that the EU referendum decision will mark our sector in ways we may or may not have anticipated for many years to come." CIOL and ITI pledged to work together to support language professionals. "[We] look NEWS & EDITORIAL forward to building on the efforts made in recent years to work together in areas where our members' interests coincide, for the good of the sector as a whole," said CIOL Chair Karen Stokes and ITI Chair Sarah Griffin-Mason. Both organisations sought to reassure members. The statement from CIOL continued: "CIOL believes that languages will continue to play a vital role in promoting the sale of UK goods and services both to EU countries and to other parts of the world. CIOL will be actively monitoring the impact of the referendum result on professional linguists and the Institute's future plans… as well as offering advice and support on any changes that may affect their professional interests. The response from Speak to the Future, the campaign for languages, supported this view: "The ability to speak each other's languages and to understand each other's cultures is of critical importance to social cohesion, and to economic growth, as we build and renew our relationships with others." The referendum was held just before this issue went to press. For initial comment, see page 26. A more detailed analysis will appear in subsequent issues. Scotland gains BSL interpreters Scotland has made important steps in addressing its shortage of sign language interpreters, with the first graduates of a new MA in British Sign Language at Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh, increasing the number of qualified BSL interpreters by 20%. The British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill was passed in September 2015, giving BSL and deafblind tactile BSL the status of languages in their own right. At the time, there were just 70 interpreters for a BSL community of 6,000. Hate abuse on the rise A rise in abuse directed at people whose first language isn't English was reported following the UK referendum on membership of the European Union. After the vote on 23 June, in which a small majority voted to leave the EU, Baroness Warsi reported: "I've spent most of the weekend talking to organisations, individuals and activists who work in the area of race hate crime, who monitor hate crime, and they have shown some really disturbing early results from people being stopped in the street and saying look, we voted Leave, it's time for you to leave." Evidence of abuse aimed at people speaking another language, or with a foreign accent, was shared in the national press and on social media. In one incident, a young tourist in London was told to "Leave, leave!" after being heard speaking in French; in another, a Polish woman was told to get off a bus and "get packing". The Polish Embassy in London issued a statement, saying: "We are shocked and deeply concerned by the recent incidents of xenophobic abuse directed against the Polish community and other UK residents of migrant heritage." A campaign to chart the increase in xenophobia was started on Twitter using the hashtag #PostRefRacism. The London-based Metro newspaper commented, "Most Leave voters would be disgusted with the abuse – but many who do hold racist views appear to feel the referendum result backs them up." © SHUTTERSTOCK

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Linguist - The Linguist 55,4