Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
No deal Brexit and effect for translators of European languages in the UK
Thread poster: Laura McCarthy

Laura McCarthy
United Kingdom
Feb 21

Hi there,

My apologies if this is the wrong forum to post this in - I couldn't spot any that looked suitable, this was probably the closest as it relates to business and the ability to earn a living from translation.

I am planning a career as a French to English translator working in the UK. I have spoken with language teachers and they assure me that they don't think that Brexit will affect our industry that much.

However as a no deal Brexit is looking increasingly likely I don't see how it won't affect our level of work (in the UK at least).

If the UK effectively stops trading with France, will there be enough work online that I could effectively make a career of it in the UK, or as I am still quite young, do you think I may need to strongly consider moving to France at some point (as French to English translation will almost certainly still be required over there)?

Your advice is much appreciated,
Laura


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:11
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
France and the UK will not stop trading Feb 22

France is the UK's third biggest trade partner for its exports, and the UK is France's sixth biggest trade partner. With or without a Brexit deal, trade will still continue.

What MAY happen in the worst case scenario (which would involve big tariffs or other additional border control and import/export costs) is that certain industries may decide to stop exporting/importing between the two countries.

For example, the wine industry is likely to continue exporting to the UK. French wines may suddenly become way more expensive in the UK because of taxes and tariffs but there will still be a market here of people who are partial to a Bordeaux red and are willing to pay the increased price. But maybe there's some other industry where the UK only accounts for say 2% of their exports and the tariffs etc would cost them way more than it's worth, or the UK market can source those products elsewhere for cheaper and the increased prices will cause the market to switch suppliers and stop using French brands. So these companies stop expanding their operations on the UK market or simply withdraw completely from the UK market.

But who can say what will happen? In any case, I think you don't have to worry about work drying up completely.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
I wouldn't worry Feb 22

Trade can't just dry up, and the beautiful Queen's English I produce is mainly consumed outside the UK anyway.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:11
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Translators should be well travelled if at all possible Feb 22

Laura McCarthy wrote:
If the UK effectively stops trading with France, will there be enough work online that I could effectively make a career of it in the UK

The US, Australia and other English-speaking countries trade with France so there's no reason to suppose that everything will grind to a halt. But I personally imagine a hard Brexit will be pretty catastrophic for the UK. Mind you, my daughter works for an aerospace company there and they're thinking in terms of expanding because of Brexit (though not necessarily a no-deal one). They say that the UK will become a cheap location (much like India is today) as the pound will suffer so much. There's always a silver lining, I suppose.

do you think I may need to strongly consider moving to France at some point (as French to English translation will almost certainly still be required over there)?

I think it's an extremely good idea for a translator to spend some time - several years - in a country where their source language is spoken. So if you haven't already done that I think it would be a fine idea. I arrived in France with quite a bit more than the A-level under my belt but found my French woefully inadequate for buying a house and coping with the Midi vernacular. Remember that you can move to France extremely easily at the moment, and setting up initially as an Autoentrepreneur is both cheap and easy for EU citizens. And they can never stop you going back to the UK - in theory at any rate. Not that many of us would ever contemplate going back; not when they didn't even have the decency to give us a vote on our future icon_mad.gif!


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
No crystal ball Feb 22

None of us has a crystal ball, but nearly all the dramatic claims in the press appear to be wildly exaggerated.

It's true there will need to be a practical customs solution between the UK and the EU, but right now the negotiating partners seem more occupied with threatening doom and disaster for each other, so as to extract the best deal possible. The French in particular are experts in taking others to the cleaners in political negotiations, and the Germans aren’t too bad at it either, so if they could make the UK pay billions a year to the EU for being allowed to trade while blocking financial markets for the UK, they wouldn't flinch from do it.

I don’t think we can use all the noise in the press for real-life business planning.

The EU would shoot themselves in the foot if they went ahead and blocked trade, and many of their businesses would suffer.

There will certainly be changes, possibly less trade here, more trade there. Presently African farmers find themselves on the wrong side of the EU's customs wall, and many African countries are French-speaking, so if the EU no longer wants to sell agricultural produce to the UK, I'm sure the UK could import it from Africa at advantageous prices instead. That may happen regardless of what the EU does. There is no reason why the UK should not trade more with African nations once Brexit makes it possible. Opening this market could very well increase the need for translations from French into English.

As Sheila said, it’s always a good idea for a translator to live for a while in a country where the source language is spoken.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:11
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Trade will exist, as it did for the 2000 years preceding the EU Feb 22

Laura McCarthy wrote:
If the UK effectively stops trading with France

Laura, just to put this in perspective, the inhabitants of Britain have been trading with the inhabitants of mainland Europe since long before the birth of Christ.

Trade is not going to stop just because Britain is no longer part of the EU which, in its current form is no more than a couple of decades old. Do younger people really believe that, for example, British people simply didn't drink French wine before 1993, because there was no trade with France?

Remember also that the rest of the world - China, the US, Australia et alia - do not have the treaties we have with Europe, and yet we enjoy plenty of trade with those. There will be difficulties, there will be opportunities. There will be problems, there will be successes. Nobody knows exactly what will happen, but I very much doubt it will have a significant impact on the flow of documentation.

For what it's worth, my standing advice to beginners is to work in another industry first, then come back to translation once you have some specialised knowledge. I also agree with Sheila, in that a period of a few years spent living and working in the country of source language is time very well spent. Nothing beats immersion.

Regards,
Dan


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:11
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Excellent post Feb 22

Thomas T. Frost wrote:
I don’t think we can use all the noise in the press for real-life business planning.

Thomas, this line in particular struck a chord, but your entire post is thoughtful and useful. There is far too much hysteria on both sides at the moment.

Dan


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:11
German to English
positive side Feb 23

At least it will finally put an end to the issues surrounding many UK translators not having VAT numbers.

If English were somehow no longer an official language of the EU, that would have major repercussions for people working in some fields and contexts. However, it would probably be more reasonable to spend time worrying about life on Earth being wiped out by an asteroid or the Second Coming or getting murdered by Islamic or radical-right terrorists...

If you were hoping to work directly for the EU, then that is obviously a problem. However, if you also have an Irish passport (it seems like half the people I know from the UK have one), then Brexit could be great for your career chances.

I can't think of any other ways in which a Brexit or non-Brexit of any sort might realistically have a substantial impact on your ability to find (or fail to find) enough work for yourself.


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:11
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Ireland Feb 23

While the Republic of Ireland remains a member state of the EU, English will surely remain one of the EU's languages, and I see no signs that Ireland wants to leave the EU.
In any case, English is a major world language, whether the UK belongs to the EU or not. I can't see why the UK's departure should reduce the amount of translation needed from European languages to English.
Don't PANIC !!


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:11
German to English
Irish Feb 23

The rule was that every EU country only gets to pick one language. Ireland chose Irish and Malta chose Maltese. However, as irrational as almost everyone involved in this process seems to be and as sensational as the press tries to make things sound, I think they'll manage to figure out a way to solve this issue.

 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:11
Member (2004)
English to Italian
My thoughts... Feb 23

Thomas T. Frost wrote:


The EU would shoot themselves in the foot if they went ahead and blocked trade, and many of their businesses would suffer.


They wouldn't block trade, but impose tariffs... big difference. Also, I believe the EU will be prepared to sacrifice some trade to keep the Union, well, united. That's their main objective and they cannot show any weaknesses or give concessions, otherwise everybody will want to leave the Union or have special deals.

I can understand not being part of the single market, but the opting out of the customs union is total madness and will create endless problems for the UK, with part of Kent transformed into a massive lorry park... let alone the Irish border...

[Edited at 2018-02-23 13:05 GMT]


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Union Feb 23

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

The EU would shoot themselves in the foot if they went ahead and blocked trade, and many of their businesses would suffer.


They wouldn't block trade, but impose tariffs... big difference. Also, I believe the EU will be prepared to sacrifice some trade to keep the Union, well, united. That's their main objective and they cannot show any weaknesses or give concessions, otherwise everybody will want to leave the Union or have special deals.

I can understand not being part of the single market, but the opting out of the customs union is total madness and will create endless problems for the UK, with part of Kent transformed into a massive lorry park... let alone the Irish border...


Who says you have to impose tariffs to keep your country or union together? You could also just trade without (with possible exceptions for abusive practices). It's only because of the EU's protectionist tendencies this could be a problem. The EU has made a semi-closed trade bastion out of itself, whereas most trade in the world takes place outside the EU, and the EU represents a steadily smaller part of the world economy. Because of these practices, people in the EU pay far more for food than elsewhere. Whether or not trade is "blocked" depends on how such tariffs are implemented, and if actual customs services are fit to handle them. Sometimes practical obstacles can have much the same effect as legally blocking trade.

I don't know much about the customs union, but I think it could be an obstacle to be part of it if you want to trade freely with the rest of the world.

As for "otherwise everybody will want to leave the Union": And so what if they did? Who is anybody to tell the people of a free nation that they must stay in some union against their will? They wouldn’t be a free nation then. Democracy means that people decide. I'm not saying that either staying in or leaving is the right thing, only that the people of each nation should decide these things.


 

2G Trad  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:11
Member (2000)
English to Italian
+ ...
Brexit payout Feb 23

Thomas T. Frost wrote:
As for "otherwise everybody will want to leave the Union": And so what if they did? Who is anybody to tell the people of a free nation that they must stay in some union against their will? They wouldn’t be a free nation then. Democracy means that people decide. I'm not saying that either staying in or leaving is the right thing, only that the people of each nation should decide these things.


This principle is carved in stone.
But each free nation leaving the Union must be prepared to pay the bill.

Cheers
Gianni


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
The bill Feb 23

2G Trad wrote:

Thomas T. Frost wrote:
As for "otherwise everybody will want to leave the Union": And so what if they did? Who is anybody to tell the people of a free nation that they must stay in some union against their will? They wouldn’t be a free nation then. Democracy means that people decide. I'm not saying that either staying in or leaving is the right thing, only that the people of each nation should decide these things.


This principle is carved in stone.
But each free nation leaving the Union must be prepared to pay the bill.


Indeed. The legal difficulty is that the Treaty contains no concrete provisions for what "the bill" is, which is why we're witnessing this almighty row.


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:11
Member (2004)
English to Italian
The point... Feb 23

Thomas T. Frost wrote:


Who says you have to impose tariffs to keep your country or union together? You could also just trade without (with possible exceptions for abusive practices). It's only because of the EU's protectionist tendencies this could be a problem. The EU has made a semi-closed trade bastion out of itself, whereas most trade in the world takes place outside the EU, and the EU represents a steadily smaller part of the world economy. Because of these practices, people in the EU pay far more for food than elsewhere. Whether or not trade is "blocked" depends on how such tariffs are implemented, and if actual customs services are fit to handle them. Sometimes practical obstacles can have much the same effect as legally blocking trade.

I don't know much about the customs union, but I think it could be an obstacle to be part of it if you want to trade freely with the rest of the world.

As for "otherwise everybody will want to leave the Union": And so what if they did? Who is anybody to tell the people of a free nation that they must stay in some union against their will? They wouldn’t be a free nation then. Democracy means that people decide. I'm not saying that either staying in or leaving is the right thing, only that the people of each nation should decide these things.


of having a Union is to trade freely within the Union and impose tariffs to those outside the Union... otherwise, there would be no point in having a Union... if you could be out of the Union and trade freely with it, and move freely within, there would be no point in being in the Union. That's why whoever decides to leave the Union must pay a hefty price... and suffer...icon_smile.gif Nations stay in the Union because it's a massive commercial advantage... if you take that advantage away, you kill the Union. It's 27 states and 650 millions of people trading together as one block and that gives you enormous commercial and financial leverage. If you are stupid enough to leave, then you only have to blame yourself. Or blame whoever gave the nation the choice.


 
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 »

No deal Brexit and effect for translators of European languages in the UK

Advanced search







WordFinder Unlimited
For clarity and excellence

WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

More info »
TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »



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