< Back

ITI responds on translations of Brexit White Paper

ITI has expressed disappointment at the poor perception of UK language and cultural skills created by the translations of the UK Brexit White Paper published last week.

EU Brexit flagFollowing negative comments in the media, the Institute asked some of its own assessors – the individuals who assess professionals for admission as Qualified Members to the Institute – to give their verdict, and the results were highly variable. Some of the translations were of reasonable quality, while others were judged to be imprecise and containing too many errors, or a long way from sounding like a native speaker.

The Institute is concerned at the apparently haphazard way in which the document was initially translated, and that revision and approval processes did not pick up the problems.

ITI Chair Sarah Bawa Mason comments: “We appreciate the time pressures and volume of work associated with the project, and we would not wish to criticise the work of individuals without understanding all the circumstances. However, the translation failings do indicate a process problem – both in terms of procurement and quality assurance procedures from project start to finish. This would be a concern at any time, but particularly in relation to a document that is so important for international diplomacy.

“Traditionally, expectations in other countries about the ability and willingness of the UK to communicate effectively in other languages have not been particularly high, and, unfortunately, the White Paper will not have helped to modify this view.

“Hopefully, this will be something of a wake-up-call that gets everyone behind communicating as effectively as possible for Brexit, and in our post-Brexit dealings for diplomacy and trade when language skills and cultural empathy will be more important than ever.”

ITI believes that key requirements for the translation and interpreting sector to be able to work as effectively as possible include: use of appropriately qualified and experienced professionals for the job; translators preferably translating into their own native language; freedom of movement of practitioners so clients can readily use the most suitable person for the assignment.

The Institute has offered to assist the Department for Exiting the European Union and the Department for International Trade in ensuring a strong and professional language services sector after Brexit, for the long-term benefit of the economy.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Scroll to Top
The Institute of Translation and Interpreting website would like to use cookies to store information on your computer, to improve our website. One of the cookies we use is essential for parts of the site to operate and has already been set. By your continued use of the ITI website you indicate your consent to our use of cookies on your computer. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.