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ATC Publishes Post-Brexit Guide for Language Industry

Language Industry News and Events

In light of the looming post-Brexit immigration rules, the ATC has released a blog post describing the implications for translators and interpreters migrating to the UK for work.

As Europe braces for the final stages of Brexit, immigrants are scrambling to figure out ways to navigate travel and work with the UK’s new “points-based system.” The new rules could have a considerable impact on translators and interpreters, who have been able to travel freely under the EU’s freedom of movement. In light of the major changes to immigration, the Association of Translation Companies (ATC) released a blog post this week describing the impact on the language services industry and providing a guide for translators and interpreters hoping to continue working in the UK post-Brexit.

“The ATC and its members have actively campaigned to secure continued access to the linguistic skills of translators, interpreters and multilingual staff to language service companies and the UK’s public and private sectors,” said the post. “Our aim is to ensure that the route to these skilled roles remains accessible post-Brexit.”

Among the more obvious routes, the Skilled Worker path will likely attract a large number of translators and interpreters, especially given that the UK will not put a cap on skilled workers, nor will prospective employers need to advertise for a vacancy for a set time in the UK before opening up a position for international recruitment.

While these rules have upsides, applicants must still score 50 mandatory points from a job offer from a licensed sponsor at the required national qualifications level 3, and fulfill the English language requirements. An applicant can earn points based on factors such as salary, shortages in the occupation, and PhD completion in a subject relevant to the occupation.

“For translators and interpreters under SOC code 3412, the relevant minimum salary for the points-based system is £25,600, as is the ‘going rate’ for the profession,” the post explains. “For project coordinators under SOC code 3539, the relevant minimum salary for the points-based system is £25,600, and the ‘going rate’ for the profession is £23,300.”

Under the new rules, both undergraduates and graduates will be able to stay in the UK, but the maximum stay depends on the level of education. The rules also grant additional points for new entrants under 26 years of age who are switching from the student or graduate routes to the skilled worker route and are working toward recognized professional qualifications or moving directly into postdoctoral positions.

Even with these possible routes for translators and interpreters, the ATC is still lobbying for translators and interpreters to be included on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). For such an industry that intrinsically requires migrants, lawmakers in the UK may have to consider what type of negative impacts the new rules will have on translators and interpreters as well as those whom they serve.

“In our linguistically diverse society, translation and interpreting services also underpin the fair and equitable treatment of speakers of more than 300 different languages,” said the blog. “The services of the UK’s 1,600 language service companies ensure that the justice system, police and the national health service have access to the information they need, when they need it, and whichever language they need it in.”

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MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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SDL Tados 2021

Why US citizens should embrace Spanish

Language

The United States has no official language. While English certainly serves as the de facto language, Spanish continues to grow as a primary and secondary tongue among the nation’s inhabitants. MultiLingual’s just-released edition on Spanish details the importance of the language around the rest of the world, too.

Despite backlash from some pockets of the US population, Spanish has quadrupled in speakers over the past decades, with predictions to hit 138 million Spanish-speakers by 2050 — which would make it the largest Spanish-speaking nation on the planet.

Speaking a second language has proven social, economic and mental benefits, so perhaps now is the perfect time for North Americans to broaden their language horizons — rather than build walls designed to keep Spanish-speakers out.

The United States is a nation built upon conquests and immigration, so it should come as no surprise that there is not only one popular language within its borders. English is the most spoken language within the country; about 80% of the population speaks it as a first language. However, in total, there are more than 350 different languages used by US inhabitants, with the second-largest being español.

According to a study published by Instituto Cervantes, there are 41 million native Spanish-speakers in the United States, plus a further 11.6 million who are bilingual. This puts the US ahead of Colombia (48 million) and Spain (46 million) in terms of Spanish-speakers, and second only to Mexico (121 million). Among the sources cited in the report is the US Census Office, which estimates that the US will have 138 million Spanish speakers by 2050, making it the biggest Spanish-speaking nation on Earth, with Spanish expected to be the mother tongue of almost one-third of its citizens.

One look at the history of Spanish-speaking in the US demonstrates its ceaseless popularity. In 1980, 11 million people, or 5% of the population, were Spanish-speakers. Fast-forward to this decade and that number has quadrupled to 41 million Spanish speakers, accounting for 14% of the population.

By state, the highest concentration is in the former Spanish colonies of the south and southwest, with New Mexico at 47% of inhabitants, followed by California and Texas (both 38%) and Arizona (30%). Perhaps surprisingly, more than 6% of Alaskans are also Spanish-speakers. The language is clearly advancing with more speakers in more regions of the country, but not everyone seems to accept the increase of language diversity.

Spanish United States
County-level map of Spanish language use in the United States in 2012

Bilingual backlash

It’s safe to say these are complicated cultural and social times in the United States. People appear to be more divided than ever, overseen by an administration which still doesn’t have Spanish-language website almost two years into power. One does not need to search far to see news stories depicting a population struggling with changes brought on by the uptake of Spanish.

For example, a Spanish-speaking Houston area Walmart customer says he was discriminated against by an employee at the store. Joel Aparicio posted a video on Facebook of the employee telling him to “speak English” because “we’re in Texas.”

“This lady didn’t want to speak Spanish. She discriminated me by saying she didn’t speak Spanish,” Aparicio wrote on Facebook.

Meanwhile, in May, Aaron Schlossberg was forced to issue a public apology after being recorded in a viral video threatening to report restaurant workers to immigration officials for speaking Spanish.

“So my next call is to ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] to have each one of them kicked out of my country,” Schlossberg ranted. “If they have the balls to come here and live off my money — I pay for their welfare, I pay for their ability to live here — the least they can do is speak English,” he yelled. After the video gained online attention, the lawyer was quick to back-track and apologize. “Seeing myself online opened my eyes — the manner in which I expressed myself is unacceptable and is not the person I am,” he tweeted.

Clearly, there is some friction over the language divide. However, a review of the positives far outweigh any negatives when it comes to learning and speaking a new language — an important element to keep in mind as Spanish continues to grow within the United States.

A Spanish solution

Tens of millions of speakers present tens of millions of opportunities. Learning a new language has proven benefits in a number of areas of contemporary life, and any doubts quickly fall to the wayside when compared to the numerous positives of learning Spanish

Employees who are bilingual are simply more marketable. Increased globalization means multilingualism makes someone more attractive for varied jobs in varied locations. Meanwhile, socially, the ability to speak Spanish opens numerous cultural doors. It is an opportunity to better engage with people in the community: to embrace their culture, their music, their dance and their way of life.

The benefits are not only social, or economic, but also mental. Having to grapple with two languages makes the brain work harder, which in turn may make it more resilient in later life, say academics.

One study found that, among people who did eventually get dementia, those who were bilingual developed the disease three to four years later than those who did not. The truth is that people learn to speak languages for a variety of reasons, with professional development, personal growth and relationships regularly ranking as the biggest motivators.

Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that learning a new language comes with a variety of beneficial byproducts. Furthermore, The Index of Human Development ranks Spanish as the second most important language on earth, behind English but ahead of Mandarin. Aprender el Español arguably opens up the mind, and the world, to possibilities that are simply not available with only one language.

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Dan Berges is one of the founders of Berges Institute, a leading Spanish language school for adults in New York City and Chicago.

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