Translation and interpretation services in English unaffected by Brexit

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Daniel Frisano
Local time: 15:22
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
External lingua franca Jun 29

Funny that once the UK is out, no EU member State will have English as its official language (Ireland opted for Irish).


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
Facepalm icon... Jul 1

Thank goodness these statements are only po-faced predictions of what might happen. "The Europeans might also decide to adopt American spelling"... If so, they might as well go the whole dumbing-down hog and abolish the apostrophe too, as few people seem to be able to handle that either.

When non-natives say things like “I am coming from Spain” instead of “I'm from Spain”, or “we were five people at the party” when they mean “there were five of us”, most of us will understand what they are trying to say, but to go from there to enshrining it as "official" and teaching it in schools seems an absurd quantum leap and a shocking waste of time, space and energies.

Having struggled to obtain residence and work permits in pre-EU Spain, I already hated Brexit and all who sail in her. Having read the article, I now also loathe and despise it.

PS: Some of the below-the-line comments to the article are hilarious. My favourite so far is "Great, finally a foreign language the English have some chance of learning..."

[Edited at 2018-07-01 07:38 GMT]


Teresa Borges
Local time: 14:22
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Unaffected? Jul 1

Of course translation and interpretation services will be affected when English will no longer be an official EU language, at least within the EU institutions as English translation units will no longer be in place. Around 35,000 permanent and contract employees work in the European Commission and only 1,000 are British. I don’t know if a final decision has been made regarding these employees but as EU citizenship is a precondition for employment of EU staff this is probably one of the many things that are being discussed (not the most difficult challenge by any means). Allowing retirement in the interests of the service appears a possible approach (what is called Article 50 of the Staff Regulations). I know of some UK nationals who have requested Belgian nationality to keep their employment.

P.S. I was an EU official for 20 years until I retired in 2006.

On the subject:

Josephine Cassar

Ricardo Suin  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:22
Member (Jun 2018)
English to Spanish
+ ...
English is here to stay Jul 1

If you have ever been in one of the several conferences of the European institutions you can clearly see that in most cases everyone speaks English, and the UK is (was) one of the members that speaks the least (I know it is arguable), so that is why everyone is saying that English will continue to be the main language of the institutions. It will be a change, that's true, but people will not start speaking French overnight, or even their own language during meetings.

Kaspars Melkis
Paul Malone

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:22
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Malta uses English Jul 2

The Maltese and the Irish cannot actually manage without English.
According to Wikipedia 98 % of the population of Malta speak Maltese, but all higher education is conducted in English.

I suspect many Irish people do not speak enough Gaelic to get by without English, and English is in practice their first language. If English were really to be threatened in the EU, the Irish would have to revise their choice. Because English was so predominant everywhere else, they chose Gaelic to strengthen that language, which IMHO was a wise choice in the circumstances.

The British have to defend their language in the face of all the other versions. My parents used to laugh at a sign in a shop they knew in Bombay/Mumbai: 'English spoken, American understood.' My father's comment was that they probably should have written 'Anglo-Indian spoken, American understood.'

EUglish is not always the same as English spoken in the UK, and many expressions clearly show the influence of other languages.

As translators, we have to be aware of the different varieties of English, EUglish or Globish (or whatever you choose to call it), and what the target reader will understand from the words we write. It is no use being irritated over it; we are fighting windmills.

I think it is a disaster that other languages are taught so little in British schools. Here in Denmark English is an absolute necessity, and older people bewail the decline of German, French, Spanish... and other languages. (Not to mention the way the younger generations ill-treat and misunderstand Danish, but that is nothing new.)

How can anyone consider themselves cultured or properly educated with only one language? Back in the day we had to have French and Latin if we wanted to contemplate a higher education. Some took German as well, or instead of Latin if they were not expected to attempt to go to university… It was a cultural thing like learning a sport, or to draw and paint or play a musical instrument. We all complained, but a lot of us also enjoyed languages, the books we could read and the pen-friends we wrote to in other countries. The younger generations are being denied those privileges, and will end up, not in splendid isolation, but in pitiful insularity.

And don't get me started on Brexit. If we ex-pats had been able to vote, and the EU citizens resident in the UK, who are really seriously affected by it had been allowed to vote, the referendum might very possibly have gone the other way. Either way, half the population at least will be dissatisfied, and I am in the (highly) dissatisfied contingent now.

If the French want their language messed up and ill-treated as English has been, they're welcome. Then perhaps we can let the EU work out its lingua franca and we Brits can have English back on our own terms.


Ricardo Suin

mariealpilles  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:22
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
English and Malta Jul 2

What Wikipedia writes is the theory. A lot of Maltese do not speak English properly and the level of English amongst the University staff is also far from being what it should be. In Malta, more specifically, there is a huge gap between the actual laws and constitution and the reality. As for the level of its translators and interpreters, it lags behind all the other countries. 18 months is all they need to "qualify" and then the Institute only trains them in Maltese and English; all the other languages are very passive languages Indeed!


Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:22
Member (2008)
Italian to English
What is it? Jul 2

neilmac wrote:

Having struggled.... I already hated Brexit and all who sail in her. Having read the article, I now also loathe and despise it.

You're the only person in the world who knows what it is. Not even Theresa May and her Cabinet know. They're going to decide on Friday. I am NOT making this up.


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