Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Better language skills in Ireland than in the UK - according to Amazon
Thread poster: Stephanie Wloch

Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:18
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
Mar 10, 2006

"Cork offers the ability to provide our customers with multilingual support," said Jim Adkins, director of European customer services for Amazon.com."

"In a 2005 European Commission poll conducted by Eurobarometer, 30% of UK inhabitants surveyed said they could speak a second language at conversational level.
In Ireland, this figure was about a third higher at 41%."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/4785060.stm

Is this true, that you find so many people in Northern Ireland, speaking a second language?
If yes : how come?
And is this really the only lure for Amazon moving from Slough to Cork?

Best regards from Steffi
looking for "an fhírinne iomlán agus an fhírinne amháin"

[Edited at 2006-03-10 10:31]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:18
Dutch to English
+ ...
Republic of Ireland not Northern Ireland Mar 10, 2006

Don't know the reason for the discrepancy mentioned in the report but when the report refers to Ireland it refers to the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the UK.


Debs

Seriously though could be a host of reasons - the Republic of Ireland being on the euro, cheaper labour in Cork, cheaper real estate in Cork, managing directors who love rain etc, etc.

[Edited at 2006-03-10 11:28]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Aisling O'Callaghan
English to Irish
+ ...
Local view point... Mar 10, 2006

I agree with many of the points mentioned in the previous comment, and yes they must love the rain

However, repeated studies have shown that the workforce in Ireland is one of the highest skilled in Europe, is this so hard to believe... ?

Of course this along with many of the incentives offered by the Irish government make the Republic an ideal place to locate a business...

Aisling

aisling@amctranslation.com
http://www.amctranslation.com


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:18
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
TOPIC STARTER
Oops - BBC not aware of Cork belonging to the Republic of Ireland? Mar 10, 2006

Thank you Deborah!
Unfortunately I dont know the either the UK nor the Republic of Ireland.
But Cork should be very well known to the British Broadcasting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cork#Industry
"Cork (Corcaigh in Irish) is the second city of the Republic of Ireland.(..)
The City of Cork is home to one university and a few colleges, providing a skilled and trained workforce. Also, Cork's suburbs have a number of modern industrial estates, with reasonably good road links and relatively modern telecommunications to attract both local and foreign investment from Europe, the United States, and Japan.(..)


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:18
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
TOPIC STARTER
Highest skilled in Ireland NOT hard to believe Mar 10, 2006

Hello Aisling,
Aisling O Callaghan wrote:
However, repeated studies have shown that the workforce in Ireland is one of the highest skilled in Europe, is this so hard to believe... ?

No, not at all! Of course I am glad to hear that and I am very interested why it is so. I really would like to know what other countries can learn from the Irish way especially regarding language skills.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:18
German to English
BBC well aware Mar 10, 2006

Tuliparola wrote: But Cork should be very well known to the British Broadcasting.


I think the BBC's very well aware of the difference between Ireland (which accounts for quite a large proportion of the BBC's viewers) and Northern Ireland. In fact, Northern Ireland isn't even mentioned in the BBC report, so I don't know where this discrepancy arose.

It is certainly true that a higher proportion of Irish school-leavers and graduates have a reasonable command of one or more foreign languages than their counterparts in the UK. This is due in part to the active policy of successive Irish governments to promote language learning, and in part to the general dumbing-down of the UK education system. Compulsory language learning now ends at age 14(?) in the UK, and the number of young people going on to study language-related degrees is plummeting. I imagine that most UK translation degree courses will have closed by 2015, unless they shift to offering degrees to non-native speakers.

Robin


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:18
French to English
Oops - I think you'll find the BBC is fully aware Mar 10, 2006

Tuliparola wrote:

Thank you Deborah!
Unfortunately I dont know the either the UK nor the Republic of Ireland.
But Cork should be very well known to the British Broadcasting.


The article quite clearly refers to the Irish Republic. I guess you got confused by the fact the article is in the Northern Ireland news section

As for the stats, it should not be overlooked that Irish is also spoken in the Republic. The article doesn't make it clear whether the "second language" is supposed to mean "a language other than English" or "a language other than your mother tongue", but either way, according to this http://www.uoc.edu/euromosaic/web/document/irlandes/an/i1/i1.html
about 1/3 of the population speak Irish, and since the vast majority also speak English, it's no surprise that 40% claim to be able to hold a conversation in a second language, whichever way you look at it

What surprises me is that the 30% figure claimed for the UK is so high


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ingo Dierkschnieder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:18
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
A matter of attractiveness Mar 10, 2006

The real reason why Amazon moves from Slough to Cork is not that the language skills are better in Ireland than in the UK, but that Amazon was unable to find foreign language speakers in Slough for their helpdesks.
The reason for that is that Slough is one of the ugliest towns in England and doesn't offer much to convince people to move there. Slough has always been the butt of jokes for being a typically dull town and the TV series "The Office" which was about an office in Slough with a rather weird boss and rather dull employees hasn't done anything to improve this image.
In contrary, Cork is an attractive town, is the home of a big translation agency and has a lot more to offer in terms of entertainment.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Aisling O'Callaghan
English to Irish
+ ...
Yes, the article is a litte vague... Mar 10, 2006

... but speaking from personal experience, all Irish students are required to take both English and Gaelic (at primary school level), in addition to a foreign language at secondary school level, to qualify for university. This has changed slightly over the past few years, but generally speaking all students have had the opportunity to learn at least three languages while in the school system. I think this can only be a good thing

Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxIanW
Local time: 13:18
German to English
+ ...
A few points Mar 10, 2006

Charlie Bavington wrote:
As for the stats, it should not be overlooked that Irish is also spoken in the Republic. The article doesn't make it clear whether the "second language" is supposed to mean "a language other than English" or "a language other than your mother tongue", but either way, according to this http://www.uoc.edu/euromosaic/web/document/irlandes/an/i1/i1.html
about 1/3 of the population speak Irish, and since the vast majority also speak English, it's no surprise that 40% claim to be able to hold a conversation in a second language, whichever way you look at it


As someone who has been through the Irish education system - including a language-based degree - I would like to make a few points.

(1) I have never noticed that Irish students have a better command of foreign languages than their English counterparts. What I have noticed is that, whereas French, Italian and Spanish students all seemed to have a passable smattering of English (or other languages), the Irish and UK students were either hopeless or very good. Very little middle ground, at least in my opinion.

(2) It might be true that 1/3 of the population speak Irish, but certainly not fluently. The language is compulsory at school, but (in my experience) is taught in a different way to foreign languages - my grammar was good, but it was all instinct, and there was no way that I could have explained it to someone else. And I would replace the statement "most people speak English" with "virtually everyone speaks English as a native language" - there are "Gaeltacht" areas where Irish is the first spoken language, but I really cannot imagine that there are still people who don't speak English equally well.

(3) The Irish education system is a lot more practical than the UK one, more geared towards the needs of industry. I remember going for a job interview at Guinness, where there were three Irish and three English candidates. I had studied "International Marketing, French and German" and the English girl next to me had studied "Greek and Roman civilisation".

She got the job, but my point is still valid ...


PS: The BBC are certainly aware of the definitions regarding Northern Ireland, but my Duden defines Great Britain as including England, Wales, Scotland and ... wait for it ... Northern Ireland. It is actually the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) that includes NI. Ho hum.

[Edited at 2006-03-10 15:18]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:18
French to English
I'm sure you're absolutely correct Mar 10, 2006

but (since you appear to be replying to me )

Ian Winick wrote:

(2) It might be true that 1/3 of the population speak Irish, but certainly not fluently. The language is compulsory at school, but (in my experience) is taught in a different way to foreign languages - my grammar was good, but it was all instinct, and there was no way that I could have explained it to someone else. And I would replace the statement "most people speak English" with "virtually everyone speaks English as a native language" ]


a) the key word was "claim", and the yardstick was merely "holding a conversation". Fluency was not mentioned (by me, at any rate). My point really is that in a country with 2 official languages, why would anyone be surprised if 40% of the populace claim they can batter their way through small talk at the bar in a (any) second language (even if many of them quite probably wouldn't claim it to be the case for Irish)?

b) I actually said "the vast majority", not merely "most", so I think we can agree there

I hasten to add I have no axe to grind here. My grandfather was from near Cork, and the vast majority of Irish folk I've met have been pretty articulate, and if I was running a call centre, I'd probably choose Cork over Slough as well

PS: I response to your Duden point - I recently translated a French text that said that Dublin was in "Angleterre". Even allowing for Angleterre being no different from GB in most French minds, it's still oh so very wrong



[Edited at 2006-03-10 15:34]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxIanW
Local time: 13:18
German to English
+ ...
To Charlie Mar 10, 2006

Hi Charlie,

Sorry - my post wasn't meant to be aimed at you at all.

All the best


Ian


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:18
Spanish to English
Another point on this issue Mar 10, 2006

Another reason I think is that the Irish in general love talking. It is very hard if you are Irish to stay quiet for a long time. That, combined with many years of having to go abroad to find work, means that you have to learn the language, because otherwise you couldn't talk and that would never do.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Aisling O'Callaghan
English to Irish
+ ...
Hmmmm... I'm not so sure Mar 10, 2006

Yes, it's true, some Irish people do love to talk ( depending on the situation, for example, at public meetings in Ireland the front row is always empty while a large proportion of those attending the meeting hover around the exits. When a question is posed the hall falls silent ), but then there are people like me. We prefer to just listen

You really can learn alot more


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:18
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
UK schoolchildren don't learn grammar Mar 10, 2006

Further to RobinB's point about the general dumbing-down of the UK education system, English grammar has not been taught in state schools in the UK since about 1960.
In 1986, I went on a two-month Spanish course in Malaga. One of the teachers told me that English students were the hardest to teach, because they knew nothing about grammar, not even that of their own language, so it was very difficult to teach them Spanish in the conventional manner.
This did not apply to me, as in the 1940s, I was given a thorough grounding in English grammar in a state school.
I don't know if grammar is taught in Irish schools, but if it is, then this could be a factor in the Irish coming out so far ahead of the English.

[Edited at 2006-03-10 17:04]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Better language skills in Ireland than in the UK - according to Amazon

Advanced search






Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs