News – EU Interpreting Shortage

In the Observer today, there is a report that the European Commission is facing such a severe shortage of native English-speaking interpreters that meetings are being cancelled. The Commission has also warned that it does not have enough translators working into English from French and German. Fiona Harris, the multilingual officer at the EU’s offices in London, claimed: ‘Already some meetings are being cancelled because they haven’t got interpreters. It’s not all doom and gloom because we are seeing an increased take-up of Mandarin and Arabic, but that doesn’t help us because we need people speaking English, French and German, the three procedural languages.’

Furthermore, Brian Fox, the EU’s director of interpretation, has found that UK graduates who do have a command of French and German are not always suitable for work as interpreters because of their poor knowledge of English grammar and wide use of slang. ‘Many of the youngsters coming in now speak as if they were talking to their friends when they should be moving up a register. Their command of the English language isn’t there any more’, he remarked.

Marco Benedetti, the EU’s director-general for interpretation, explained that a generation of interpreters are about to retire and that young people are not coming out of universities to replace them. ‘If we don’t do something very soon, there will be more and more non-native English speakers obliged to interpret into English’, he said.

Of course, Global Lingo – London’s leading provider of interpreting services – only ever uses interpreters native in the target language. And as our success in providing interpreters for the 12-week inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes shows, we have no problem providing interpreters for highly complex and sensitive meetings at short notice. If you would like to know more about interpreting, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.