The Linguist

The Linguist 57,1 – February/March 2018

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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Company 3: Cicero Translations Our own very recent experience at Cicero provides some support for the theory that many UK translation clients have been holding back in a 'waiting and watching' mode. In early December, the UK and EU negotiating teams agreed on 'divorce' terms and other matters which allow them to move to stage 2: talks about trade. The prospect of a satisfactory trade agreement appears to have given our clients some confidence. Although December is a short working month, we took orders to the value of about two average months, many of which were go- aheads from clients we quoted several weeks – or even months – previously. Notes 1 The interviewee asked to remain anonymous FEBRUARY/MARCH The Linguist 17 A TRANSLATOR'S BREXIT Nigel Wheatley I'm a British medical and pharmaceutical translator working out of French, Spanish and Catalan, and I have been based in Wakefield since 2011. After the referendum result, I didn't want to invest any more time or effort in the UK. My fiancée and I decided to find a country where we could both live and work. We know several fellow translators in Prague but it takes time to move a business. I'm glad we started relocating to the Czech Republic early on. The majority of my clients are based in EU27 countries, with 20% in the UK. So far there haven't been any major implications for my client base, but I have lost one client as a result of Brexit – a pharmaceutical distributor who decided that, because of the regulatory uncertainty, they no longer want to import into the UK and so have no need for professional translation into English. The regulatory uncertainty has other implications; I need data protection equal to that in EU27 countries and there is no guarantee of that at the moment. I cannot work without that guarantee because I translate confidential information such as people's medical records. There's not even certainty of how invoicing between the UK and EU27 countries will work; I'll be keeping a UK registered limited company for my UK clients just in case. Share your story: Company 2 1 My second interviewee explained that her company's business model consists of serving mainly UK clients, using suppliers who largely invoice in euros and US dollars. Following the referendum vote, their direct costs increased by about 13% due to the devaluation of sterling in relation to those two currencies. Since then, they have devoted a lot of time and care to 'rebalancing' their business. Like Atlas, they picked up some extra business from continental European translation companies, subcontracting work to them to take advantage of the low value of the pound. However, this is not very profitable work, with a margin of just 10% after costs, and partly taken on just to keep the business ticking over and the project managers busy. She worries that she just does not know what is going to happen and keeps wondering whether the company is going to lose all their work translating in and out of European languages, which accounts for roughly 60% of their business. They used to take on regular projects involving the translation of documents into EU27 languages, and these are simply not happening any more. Many British companies regard translation as a 'nice to have' optional extra, so under the current circumstances they have dispensed with it. The UK may benefit from trading more with the USA, Australia and other English-speaking countries after Brexit, but businesses will no longer need the same volume of translation services. This second interviewee summarised by saying that her company's British clients are currently beset by a feeling of waiting and watching. They are requesting quotes but not going ahead with the jobs. PARALYSED BY UNCERTAINTY Businesses are putting their plans on hold © SHUTTERSTOCK

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