Tuesday, 26 March 2013

"Losses in translation"

Private Eye (no 1335 8th March 2013) comments on the adverse effects of the purchase of Applied Language Solutions by Capita (or 'Crapita' as the Eye puts it).

Far from achieving the 40 per cent savings on court interpreting promised at the outset, one police authority (West Midlands) is estimated to be paying well over £2m compared to £1.8m spent before outsourcing to Capita.

Moral of this sorry tale? Cheapest is not always the most cost-effective, perhaps?

Translation and interpreting outsourcers, take note.

Language Barrier

Read a fascinating article (Business à la française) by Simon Kuper in the Financial Times weekend magazine (9th March 2013), in which he reviews various explanations for the differences between the French and British/American way of doing business.

We find out that the only obstacle to communication is in fact language, or lack of it. Real bonds and trust are built by people who share a language they speak perfectly.

The author cites a study by Zürich based economists who concluded that 'on average a common language "increases trade flows directly by 44 per cent"'.

A very good reason to leap over the language barrier. And great encouragement to linguists, who will always have a major part to play in the development of trade and commerce.