What Happens to the English Language Now?

For native English translators and language undergraduates, one of the main points of concern in the aftermath of Brexit has been the prospect that English will now cease to be an official EU language. It is claimed that this scenario would result in English becoming far less in-demand, reducing the overall status of the English language in terms of business, culture and international relations.

What happens to the English language now?

For native English translators and language undergraduates, one of the main points of concern in the aftermath of Brexit has been the prospect that English will now cease to be an official EU language. It is claimed that this scenario would result in English becoming far less in-demand for European institutions, putting the jobs of language graduates in danger and reducing the overall status of the English language in terms of business, culture and international relations. This would all seem to make sense, given the fact that Ireland and Malta will be the only remaining countries in the EU with English as an official language. However, there’s reason to believe that things may not be so simple.

La Langue Universelle?

A quick scan of history shows that it wasn’t the presence of the UK which gave English its status as Europe’s lingua franca in the first place. When the British joined the EEC along with Ireland back in 1973, the official language of communication within the EU institutions was French. This was partly for historical reasons, and partly because the institutions were located in predominantly French-speaking cities: Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg. The priority given to French was therefore justified, and the incoming UK and Irish officials alone were not numerous enough to make a difference to the language arrangement.

Native English Translators| BigTranslation
Native English Translators| BigTranslation

Things started to change about 20 years later. With the arrival of Sweden, Finland and Austria in 1995, English was used increasingly and was used to draft legislation, as it was the first foreign language of a growing number of new officials who required a common language for consultation purposes.
The 2004 enlargement of the European Union was its largest single expansion to date. 10 new countries became members, nearly all of whose national education systems offered English as first foreign language, not French. As a result, English became the most obvious common language of communication of new member states and therefore, by extension, the European Union as a whole. Now the EU works with 24 official languages.

Native English Translators still in High Demand

This is why even without Britain’s continued membership of the EU, one would suspect that English will continue to have a central role in communication between member states – at least for the considerable future. The Lithuanian official will still have to use English to communicate with her Dutch colleague, who will then be required to relay the information in English to his Czech boss. For English speaking language graduates, the image of this very common scenario may represent some light at the end of the tunnel.

In terms of translation post-Brexit, it is still the case that English-speaking officials, both administrators and clerical assistants, are in great demand. This puts translators from the Republic of Ireland, Europe’s largest remaining English speakers, in a rather advantageous position. Future selection competitions for recruitment, without competition from British nationals, should therefore favour Irish nationals slightly more than in the past.

7 Curious Facts About the Native Professional Translator

The mind of a Bigtranslator is an intricate maze, but it is an organised maze, and the intricacies of this mental labyrinth allow the native translator to hit on the central nerve and true meaning of a text to be translated.

The internal workings of the professional native translator’s mind are a thing of wonder…

The mind of a BigTranslator is an intricate maze, but it is an organised maze, and the intricacies of this mental labyrinth allow the native professional translator to hit on the central nerve and true meaning of a text to be translated. The mental switch made by a native professional translator is something incredible, like the work of the synapses, passing small electrical impulses from one to the other. Translation, in the mind of a native translator, is exactly like this: an electrical storm.

 

professionals translators

 

Among the interesting facts that, perhaps, you didn’t know about native translators:

1. A translator never stops translating. Their brain is in translation mode continuously. A translator translates EVERYTHING around them, everything they hear in another language, they translate. A continual ‘hearing-mental translation-understanding-reworking-final translation’ circuit without an off switch.

2. A native professional translator counts in their own language, regardless of where they are in the world. Counting literally anything usually takes place in their native language. 1,2,3…

3. The organisation of their life plans is done strictly an ‘according to future translations’ basis.

4. A native professional translator can find the right nuance for every word or cultural expression, so that the message is passed from one language to another without losing ‘too much’ of its true meaning.

5. Each piece of information that a translator’s brain processes is dissected piece by piece. No part of the information is left un-interpreted in the translator’s mind. And if they don’t understand the exact meaning of something, their mind stays there and thinks it over, and thinks some more, and thinks a little bit more still until, suddenly, ‘eureka’! That perfect translation makes its light bulb appearance.

6. A native professional translator feels the weight of the cultural importance that goes hand in hand with being an important representative of their language on their shoulders. Translation is treated with the utmost respect.

7. Finally, something you’d never believe… The native professional translator lives on coffee! Native translators barely sleep when they are busy with their translation projects and they become a kind of nocturnal species, which manages to stay awake solely by the power of that modern nectar known as coffee!

Translation: a demanding profession

Moving on from this last humorous note, one thing that we are sure will indeed make your hairs stand on end, is the dedication and sense of vocation of the native professional translator. They demand a lot from their mind, and invest a lot of their time in their work. When you entrust your project to a native professional translator, you can be sure that whatever quality you demand from their work, they will demand double from themselves.