Significance of translation/interpreting sector (post-Brexit)

If the UK removes itself from common EU rules, practices and reciprocal arrangements, it is likely there will be a need to produce a higher volume of bespoke trade, contractual and legal documentation – professional translators are needed to do this quickly and accurately.

While the English language will continue to play a very important role in the EU, it is also likely that ‘doing everything in English’ will no longer be a given. This means that it will be even more important to have access to individuals who can speak the language of those with whom there is a desire or need to communicate.

As Lord Harrison pointed out recently during the debates on the EU Bill (Notification of Withdrawal), the UK has traditionally lagged behind many other countries in the ability of its citizens to speak other languages (‘Our ignorance of continental languages, people, customs, habits and especially markets has made us carelessly complacent. We idly rely on speaking English fortissimo in brokering trade deals’).

This is a weakness for the UK at a time when we need to cultivate new relationships, as well as nurture existing ones in more challenging circumstances. The UK will be looking to develop closer links with countries outside the EU to offset any detriment arising from less favourable trade conditions within Europe post-Brexit.  The fact that UK citizens are not, as a matter of course, proficient in other languages makes it all the more important that organisations, institutions and individuals have access to professional translators and interpreters when the need arises

The UK must not find itself in a situation where its competitiveness, commercial acumen and the fairness of its institutions are compromised because translators and interpreters face unreasonable difficulties, which could cause many to leave the sector for jobs that do not involve such obstacles.

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