Looking for direct clients? Don't put your chips on the freight industry!
Thread poster: George Trail

George Trail  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:26
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Apr 19, 2010

I think it's pretty clear in the translation industry that working for clients directly is "better" than working for translation agencies; not least because the agency will demand a fee for the person or company who is demanding a translation of something. But I keep revising my options as to what who would be most likely to consider translation services such as I offer... and remember someone taking the time to write to me in an email that English is officially the language of shipping. And I know this because it came straight from a shipping company based in Whitby. What other industries are there that have single-language policies like this?

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:26
Member (2008)
Italian to English
English only Apr 19, 2010

George Trail wrote:
What other industries are there that have single-language policies like this?


Air Traffic Control. Only English. Everywhere in the world.


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sounds Very Dangerous Apr 19, 2010

Air Traffic Control. Only English. Everywhere in the world.

With pilots and air traffic controllers who are non-native speakers of English? With poor grammar and thick accents? Or who do not speak or understand English at all?

Sounds very dangerous to me. I'll stay off the plane, thanks.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:26
Member (2008)
French to English
"Generally" expected to know a "minimum" level of English... Apr 19, 2010

Henry Hinds wrote:

Air Traffic Control. Only English. Everywhere in the world.

With pilots and air traffic controllers who are non-native speakers of English? With poor grammar and thick accents? Or who do not speak or understand English at all?

Sounds very dangerous to me. I'll stay off the plane, thanks.


From Wikipedia: "Controllers who do not speak this [English] as a first language are generally expected to show a certain minimum level of competency with the language."

I suppose that's so they can keep a maximum amount of planes up in the air???


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:26
French to German
+ ...
Standard sentences and procedures Apr 19, 2010

John Fossey wrote:
From Wikipedia: "Controllers who do not speak this [English] as a first language are generally expected to show a certain minimum level of competency with the language."

I suppose that's so they can keep a maximum amount of planes up in the air???


There are standards sentences and procedures, and the sentences in question are kept short on purpose, to avoid any ambiguity.
It is said that the Los Rodeos ground collision of 1977 was partially due to a rather broad interpretation of such sentences and procedures.

[Edited at 2010-04-19 19:01 GMT]


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:26
Member (2008)
French to English
Language and aviation Apr 19, 2010

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

It is said that the Los Rodeos ground collision of 1977 was partially due to a rather broad interpretation of such sentences and procedures.


Yes, that was very sad - and I had been through that airport two weeks before, so it had quite an impact on me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenerife_airport_disaster

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenerife_airport_disaster#Safety_response for reference to adoption of English as the universal working language for air traffic control.

[Edited at 2010-04-19 19:31 GMT]


 

John Farebrother  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
French to English
+ ...
sub-language Apr 19, 2010

Henry Hinds wrote:

Air Traffic Control. Only English. Everywhere in the world.

With pilots and air traffic controllers who are non-native speakers of English? With poor grammar and thick accents? Or who do not speak or understand English at all?

Sounds very dangerous to me. I'll stay off the plane, thanks.


Several times I've come across people from widely differing cultures in the air industry, who have no problem understanding each other in a type of English that sounds rather deficient to a native speaker, but is nevertheless functionally successful. But when the native speaker opens his/her mouth, that's when the problems start: they're not used to communicating in everyday English.


 

Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:26
English to Russian
+ ...
or maybe .. Apr 19, 2010

... those native speakers did no talk shop?

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:26
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
They have to speak some English Apr 19, 2010

Henry Hinds wrote:
With pilots and air traffic controllers who are non-native speakers of English? With poor grammar and thick accents? Or who do not speak or understand English at all?


An an English teacher, I once taught a student who had a PPL (private pilot's licence). He'd been happily flying around France for several years, but he was banned from crossing the border to nearby Spain, even though he spoke fluent Spanish.

The reason for this ban (and his English lessons)? His English wasn't good enough to pass the exam enabling him to extend his licence to flights outside of France's borders. International aviation rules state that anyone leaving their own airspace must communicate with ATC in English.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:26
Member (2008)
French to English
Mixing languages? Apr 19, 2010

Sheila Wilson wrote:

International aviation rules state that anyone leaving their own airspace must communicate with ATC in English.



Do you mean you could still get the situation where there's a mix of English speaking international flights and non-English speaking local flights in the same airspace and airport?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:26
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I don't think so, John Apr 19, 2010

John Fossey wrote:

Sheila Wilson wrote:

International aviation rules state that anyone leaving their own airspace must communicate with ATC in English.



Do you mean you could still get the situation where there's a mix of English speaking international flights and non-English speaking local flights in the same airspace and airport?


I'm not an expert in this area, but I think maybe a light aircraft can fly around quite happily in its own country without coming under ATC rules, simply by avoiding large airports and cities. Any plane entering a country's airspace automatically has to identify itself to ATC. I know our local airfield talks to pilots in French over the radio but that's not real ATC, just a man in a hangar with a radio and a grass airstrip.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Loud and clear Apr 20, 2010

Henry Hinds wrote:
Air Traffic Control. Only English. Everywhere in the world.
With pilots and air traffic controllers who are non-native speakers of English? With poor grammar and thick accents? Or who do not speak or understand English at all?
Sounds very dangerous to me. I'll stay off the plane, thanks.

Luckily pilots and controllers do not engage in long, fruitful conversations on 14th-century English literature. All their language is regulated and standardised, and even with horrible accents, bad quality of communication over the oceans, and the rush of air traffic, they get along quite well and rarely have to repeat things.

I have been lucky to be in the cabin several times while my relative communicated with control and I can tell you that where I did not understand a thing they understood everything loud and clear.


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:26
French to English
+ ...
"non-native" English Apr 20, 2010

John Farebrother wrote:
Several times I've come across people from widely differing cultures in the air industry, who have no problem understanding each other in a type of English that sounds rather deficient to a native speaker, but is nevertheless functionally successful.


Just as there are a huge number of international companies whose subsidiaries communicate daily with one another in "English", even though none of the people in question are necessarily native speakers of English, and the "English" in question may seem somewhat deficient to a native speaker. I think this is worth reflecting on because it may partially answer why some bottom-of-the-market translations are deemed acceptable to the clients in question.


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 19:26
Turkish to English
+ ...
Is English officially the language of shipping? Apr 20, 2010

I ask this question because a fair portion of the work I do involves translating into English shipping documents written in Turkish. In my experience, all official documentation to do with shipping issued in Turkey is written in Turkish.

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:26
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
ATC not a good example Apr 20, 2010

Tom in London wrote:
George Trail wrote:
What other industries are there that have single-language policies like this?

Air Traffic Control. Only English. Everywhere in the world.


Yes, but the focus of ATC is on standard phrases, not on a specific language. The pilots and air traffic controllers understand each other not because they both speak English but because they use standardised phrases for specific actions.

In our local rock climbing group we have a similar thing -- when we climb, we all speak Afrikaans, but some phrases (belay on, belay off, take!, clipping, clipped, rope below!) are standard English phrases even though we would be perfectly capable of communicating them in Afrikaans. This doesn't make rock climbing an English sport -- these are standardised phrases for the sake of clear communication in critical circumstances.

Granted, the ATC and pilots need to be able to speak English in addition to knowing the standard phrases, whereas the rock climbing club members do not need to be able to speak English at all.


 


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