News – Public-sector Translation

The government has urged local authorities and public-sector bodies to cut expenditure on ‘unnecessary’ translations. Hazel Blears, the communities secretary, has written that ‘In the past I think we have, in however well-meaning a way, translated things that need not have been translated.’ The BBC has estimated that spending on translation by local authorities has grown to £100 million a year, although the Department of Communities and Local Government has stated that the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 did not impose a legal duty to translate all material published. Anecdotal examples of ‘unnecessary’ translations cited included the translation of councils’ annual reports, despite low demand even in English, and translating standard road signs.