Global Lingo was recently awarded ISO 14001, demonstrating that it conformed to environmental policies. This is a significant achievement for the company.
The language industry has an important role to play more generally in tackling climate change. International cooperation is the only way to create meaningful and effective policies in this sphere. Governments need to talk to each other, and, this time, they cannot rely entirely on the English language.
Many political figures speak excellent English, but the negotiations on climate change will involve developed and developing countries. The leaders of these countries will feel that it is their right to speak in their own language. What’s more, there is a need for them to do so, because if they are not comfortable speaking in English, they will not be able to express themselves clearly and coherently. In this case, everyone will suffer.
All of the most important politicians – from, for instance, Brazil, Russia, India and China – need to be able to state their desires, hopes and needs in their own languages. They need to feel comfortable expressing themselves, and they need to feel that they have the same opportunities to communicate as, say, their American counterparts. In the climate change discussions, America and China must lead, but the issue is a truly global one. It is perhaps unlike anything that we have seen before in this sense.
However, nothing is gained if all the leaders express themselves perfectly yet cannot understand each other. Top-class interpreters are needed. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of interpreters, but their importance was clear at the World Economic Forum in Davos recently. When languages are interpreted into accented, poorly-formulated or hesitant English, all the power of the original speech is lost.
Sometimes it may be impossible to find an unaccented interpreter, and accuracy should be the priority. However, the benefit of finding and using a truly outstanding interpreter is enormous. It may be the difference between a binding agreement and a failure.
Governments do not have time to scour the interpreting community, nor can they build up experience and knowledge of the market. They need agencies that they can trust with their interpreting requirements. They need to use the expertise that language agencies have acquired through years of work.
The best language agencies know where to find the best interpreters. Often, they will have connections with many of the best and most reliable interpreters. Their services are crucial. It might seem like an easy task, to find a qualified and able interpreter, but there is no substitute for experience and expertise – whether in interpreters themselves, or in the agencies who find, negotiate with and manage the interpreters.