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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Page 18 of 35 FEBRUARY/MARCH The Linguist 19 A TRANSLATOR'S BREXIT conferences, etc. A colleague in Germany lost two British clients immediately after the referendum because they could no longer afford to pay in euros and are now using translators in the UK. At the same time, translators in Britain are trying to increase their EU clients. In Norway, a translator who works predominantly with British agencies reported an exchange-rate-related loss of income of 30% because the agencies are not willing to pay higher prices, citing Brexit worries as a reason. British colleagues living in the EU and drawing a state pension say they will have to work longer because the value of their pension has fallen alarmingly. In terms of expectations for the future, most translators in the UK believe that the current exchange rate will not benefit them for long. Agencies relying on outsourcing to non-UK translators will have to pay more and raise their prices for end clients. This is likely to impact the workflow and rates for all translators on their books. And while the exchange rate may make the UK cheaper, additional red tape, tax and tariff implications could still make it too costly or complicated for EU clients to use British translators. It is also expected that EU clients will want to cash in on the exchange-rate-related windfall and that they will put pressure on prices for translators in the UK. In the short term, most colleagues expect a surge in Brexit-related work, with an increased need for translations of personal documents and certificates as people negotiate their immigration status. Some translators believe their workload will remain stable because many EU companies use English for internal communications, so translations will still be required. They also expect work for the international English market to be stable. This assumes that regulations will stay the same post-Brexit, and that, in the longer term, work from EU27 countries will not be increasingly given to those based within the EU. Greatest fear The biggest worry among survey participants is that no one knows what cross-border invoicing and payment arrangement between the UK and EU27 countries will be like after Brexit, whether VAT arrangements will change, what kind of proof of fiscal residency will be required and, for translators who operate through service companies, what proof will be needed of the company's incorporation and the powers of its directors. While there will be solutions, colleagues know from their experience with changes in VAT legislation that not all EU company accounting processes are set up to deal with freelancers who fall outside the norm, and that it will be easier for many small companies to look for translators within the EU, rather than adapting to rules that will be specific to Britain. Other major concerns focused on whether the UK will keep data protection laws in line with the EU, and even whether the UK will receive Article 29 equivalent status (relating to data protection). Some colleagues fear that Britain will no longer be the most important EU country for the pharmaceutical industry, which could lead to a loss of work. Others working in the same sector believe that a slight increase in medical and pharmaceutical translations is likely if drug companies have to make separate applications for marketing authorisation to the UK MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency). A bigger question is what will happen to the industries currently established in Britain which are likely to move to the EU, or which have already started to relocate. The loss of passporting rights is causing banks to set up headquarters for their EU business in EU27 better or worse? © SHUTTERSTOCK

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