Global Lingo Blog

£17 billion a year lost to poor communication

Britain’s deficit of foreign language speakers is costing the economy £17 billion a year according to research by the Education and Employers Taskforce for Collins Language.

An article by Oliver Moody in The Times, (behind paywall) highlights the consequences of fewer people learning foreign languages. Employers grumble that recruits are either inexperienced in working with languages or vacancies are failing to be filled due to unsuitable candidates not reaching the necessary language skills required.

A worrying prospect in Britain’s climate of rising unemployment!

As business deals between the UK and far-flung countries are becoming ever more vital, the problem needs to be tackled by equipping future generations with skills that bring our language standards on par with the rest of the world.

This drive to provide Britons with language proficiency contrasts to the isolationist perspective from David Thomas’ in The Daily Mail. David asked: ‘Why do the English need to speak a foreign language when all foreigners speak English?’. He reasoned that school pupils learning foreign languages is inefficient when there are large numbers of people globally learning English.

If this language shortfall in the UK’s workforce can be resolved, exports could increase by 8 percent, bringing a more uplifting outlook to our economy.

Moody’s lost in translation statement draws attention to the importance the role professional translation companies play in providing the services necessary to ensure professional communication in business.

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