The Linguist

The Linguist 55,5

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 2016 The Linguist 7 NEWS & EDITORIAL What does Brexit mean for the language professions? Members shared their hopes and fears in a recent survey Before the referendum was held on 23 June, CIOL had already canvassed members' opinions on whether or not they thought the UK should remain in the European Union. The response rate was more than 20%, representing over 1,000 CIOL members. A very significant majority – 85% – thought the UK should remain in the EU. They cited trade, investment in the UK, jobs and freedom to live and work in other EU countries as the most important factors. Around 15% of members were in favour of the UK leaving the EU. Sovereignty and greater control of immigration were their most important reasons. Clearly a large number of CIOL members were disappointed with the result, and many feel they are facing an uncertain future. In July, we carried out a post-referendum survey, mainly to find out what concerns our members had for the future. Just over 1,100 people responded to the survey, 95% of whom were CIOL members. 50% of respondents were British nationals living in the UK, 18% were EU nationals living in the UK, and 12% were British nationals living in other EU countries. Just over half (51%) of respondents were translators, with interpreters and language teachers representing 10% and 11% respectively. Smaller numbers were in business, education or retirement. 70% were self-employed, and 20% employed by a company. Participants were asked how concerned they were about a list of issues. Those that cause most concern were economic uncertainty, retaining the right to live and work in their country of choice, a further decline in language-learning in the UK, a loss Brexit: your say of freedom for students to take up university places in EU countries, and a possible loss of the Erasmus scheme. These top concerns did not necessarily relate directly to participants' work, although work-related fears were important. They included potential changes to the amount of work offered, maintaining rates of pay, international recognition of language qualifications, tax and VAT implications, the need for work permits, and opening and maintaining a Euro bank account. Respondents had the opportunity to list other potential problems. Over 200 people entered their individual concerns, and common emerging themes included the loss of EU citizenship (in the broadest sense), a possible break-up of the UK, and a decline in the status of the UK in Europe and around the world – related to which is the possible loss of funding for research projects. People cited the status of ex-pats in other EU countries, and racism and xenophobia as concerns. Some expressed a desire to leave post-Brexit UK, and many were considering applying for dual nationality. While the impact Brexit has on the professions won't be clear for some time, the issues expressed in the CIOL survey raise many topics for discussion within the language industry. It is vital that organisations such as CIOL continue to promote languages and language study, and take a positive stance on the UK's new status, as an opportunity to trade around the world. This should lead to a greater necessity for translators and interpreters, and indeed teachers, working in non-EU languages, alongside the continued need for European languages. © SHUTTERSTOCK

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