Government must protect language experts at UKTI warns Association of Translation Companies (ATC)

British export performance must improve as latest report from OECD reports continuing deterioration.

The government has ordered an overhaul of how it supports British businesses to export, with the risk that UK Trade and Investment could be fragmented into different departments, according to a report in the Financial Times. With the possibility that further details may emerge in the Budget this week, the ATC has stated that a lack of focus on language is one of the key reasons for the UK’s lacklustre export performance.

Former president of the British Chambers of Commerce, director of Comtec Translations and council member of the ATC, Isabella Moore CBE comments:

“The OECD has recently reported that Britain’s export performance continues to deteriorate so it is unsurprising that the government is questioning the effectiveness of its current policies. A good place to start would be to tackle the £48bn a year – 3.5 per cent of GDP – that is currently being lost each year because businesses are not deploying adequate language strategies when moving into international markets.

“Efforts by the government to close the language gap appear to be way down the list of priorities. The potential move by the government to fragment support for exporters across a number of departments risks pushing the issue of language skills even further down the list of priorities.”

Foreign companies consistently beat their British competitors because they are more likely to take the time and effort to understand their target markets and to communicate in the language of their customers. British companies continue to report a language skills shortage and large numbers of business leaders are not aware of the steps that they need to take to deploy an effective language strategy.

“Our fear is, that if you effectively have half a dozen mini-UKTIs in operation in central government, they will start to act in silos and make it even harder to build a coherent language policy to support UK PLC. If the government is serious about hitting its target to achieve £1tn in annual exports by 2020 than closing the language gap is an essential part of this.” Concluded Isabella.

About The Association of Translation Companies

The Association of Translation Companies (ATC) was established in 1976 by a group of leading translation companies to ensure the quality assurance and accreditation of translation and interpreting companies in Britain. It is one of the world’s oldest organisations representing the interests of translation companies and currently has 170 members. For those seeking to source translations, the ATC acts as an impartial guide to assist in sourcing those members most suited to their requirements. ATC members must carry professional indemnity insurance cover and adhere to an agreed Code of Professional Conduct, which has now become the profession’s standard. The ATC is a founding member of the European Union of Association of Translation Companies – a pan European grouping of translation company associations.

About Comtec

An award-winning, full service translation agency, Comtec has over 30 years’ experience in providing fast, accurate and high quality translations in more than 200 languages . We’re the trusted language translation partner for many companies who call on our knowledge of international business and expert translation services to help them expand into new markets overseas. If you’re a UK-based SME considering expanding your business abroad and would like some advice on translating and localising your business materials, please get in touch on or call us on + 44 (0) 1926 335 681. We’re here ready and waiting to help.

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