The Linguist

The Linguist 56,3 – June/July 2017

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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JUNE/JULY 2017 The Linguist 21 FEATURES with passion? Can you say that you are so passionate about your line of language work that it is contagious? Do you tell the world about your passion such that you can inspire other people? If you are from another country, do you inspire others with a passion for travel, and for discovery of another way of life? Do you inspire others to learn a language (whether your children, their friends, your friends, your colleagues)? Are you passionate about something in your own locality, or could you start a town twinning or local project? What could you do to improve the cultural understanding in your corner of the world? Is there an international project on which you could take the lead and inspire other people to come with you? If you are a translator, do you inspire your clients with the need to communicate professionally with their overseas clients in other languages and to understand the other culture? What are your values, particularly with regard to your work with languages and cultures? More importantly, are they consistent every day to enable people to respect you and value your opinion? You are a role model for everyone that is around you, particularly if you are a teacher. Any inconsistencies will be seen and copied. Do you go beyond being friendly and show a real 'Love of People', wherever they come from, whatever their background? Do you have a curiosity about their culture and make them feel welcome? Do you take the time to talk to them? If you travel, do you seek to find out about the people living there? How do you nurture others? When did you last help someone with their language learning or encourage someone to learn a language? The first step to nurturing others is to nurture your own learning. People will see that you are continuing to learn and you will be a role model to others. And lastly, do you get your overalls on to help get projects moving? Business Language Champions, which promotes languages among young people, started as a national project with regional centres. The East Midlands was by far the most successful because not only did we have vision with passion, but we were prepared to get our hands dirty to make it happen. Recently I was invited to a celebration of 30 years of JET, the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme. The Japanese Ambassador spoke of how more than 10,000 English-speaking students had been to Japan to teach English to young people. This means that in the far corners of the country, the first experience that Japanese children have of someone 'blonde' from the West is one of learning and friendship. That started as someone's vision for a different future for Japan's youth, where they would embrace a global outlook. But it didn't just remain a vision: someone made it happen and inspired many others along the way. Can you make a difference? If you are wondering where to start, I shall finish with a story that some of you will have heard before. One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked: "Young man, what are you doing?" The boy replied: "Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don't, they'll die." The man laughed to himself and said, "Do you realise there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can't make any difference." After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up a starfish and threw it into the surf. Smiling, he said: "I made a difference to that one." My vision for the future is to live in a truly United Kingdom, where we embrace other languages and cultures as easily as we embrace English, so that we and our children, and our children's children, can flourish and grow economically, politically and socially in a global society. It won't be easy. There are a great many challenges. I hope you will join me in that leadership journey to promote the wonder of language learning so that others may enjoy similar fantastic experiences. The Japanese Ambassador called it the language of friendship, which is exactly what I shall now tell students is the 'best' language to learn. Notes 1 Tinsley, T and Board, K (2016) 'Language Trends Survey 2016' 2 Kelly, M (8 October 2013) The Guardian 3 CBI Survey 2014 4 Friedman, A (10 May 2015) 'America's Lacking in Language Skills' in The Atlantic MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER Leaders use their passion to inspire others © SHUTTERSTOCK

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