The Linguist

The Linguist 55,6

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 Vol/55 No/6 2016 NEWS & EDITORIAL Baroness Coussins raises some important concerns Brexit plea to the Lords As a Vice-President of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL), Baroness Coussins takes a great interest in issues relating to translation and interpreting. On 14 July she gave a speech in the House of Lords on the risks Brexit poses to the existing right to court interpreters and translators. These rights are enshrined in the 2010 European Directive on the Right to Interpretation and Translation in Criminal Proceedings. Leaving the European Union with a "bonfire" of EU regulations could leave the UK with no legal provision for these rights. Armed with key facts and figures from both the CIOL and the NRPSI (National Register of Public Service Interpreters), Baroness Coussins impressed upon the government that these are not only important human rights, but that their dilution or abandonment risks serious miscarriages of justice, quite apart from creating unnecessary costs to the courts, as proven in cases where current arrangements fall short. The Minister replying for government stated that these issues would "be taken into account". It is vital that such concerns are aired in Parliament; part of the role of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modern Languages is to identify and raise them. This particular issue was one of four key points made by the APPG in its 'Brexit and Languages' checklist for government negotiators and officials, launched on 17 October. The document also calls for guaranteed residency status for EU nationals now and in the future; continued participation in Erasmus+; and a post-Brexit plan in education, business and the civil service, to ensure the UK produces sufficient linguists to meet its future requirements as a leader in global free trade and on the international stage. The prospect of Brexit naturally worries many linguists who have active links with European countries, and it certainly threatens crucial activities, as listed in the document. However the APPG is trying to show that Brexit doesn't necessarily mean bad news for languages. In many ways there is a unique opportunity now for the UK to take languages seriously. There is new pressure to produce home- grown linguists (for instance if the UK can no longer depend on EU officials for multilingual negotiations, or seeks to expand its exports markets) and legal issues, such as the EU Directive discussed above, are bringing language policy into relief. The APPG will be using 'Brexit and Languages' to highlight language policy across government departments. To read 'Brexit and Languages', see Watch Baroness Coussins's speech at Philip Harding-Esch works on behalf of the British Council to support the APPG on Modern Languages. TL

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