Economist believe that international trade is key to rescuing the British economy. But how important are translation services?

The UK government is encouraging businesses to reduce dependency on domestic sales, with the belief that boosting international exports will reduce the trade deficit and rescue the British economy.

Last week it was revealed that the gap between Britain’s export and import sales is much bigger than previously estimated, with imports totalling £8.8bn more than exports. This is very bad news for the British economy, especially on the back of Chancellor George Osborne’s rallying cries at the Budget announcement last month. If Britain is to avoid a double-dip recession, it needs to rectify the widening trade deficit, taking advantage of emerging markets in countries such as China, Russia, India and Brazil. The question is, how?

Experts now believe that translation services might be the answer. Research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has shown that a startlingly low number of British diplomats are actually able to speak the language of the country in which they are based. 1690 out of 1900 diplomats, or 90%, have no recognised language abilities for the country in which they are posted. Although a BCC survey has shown that the number of firms exporting has increased to 32% from 22% in January 2011, almost 61% of the 8,000 businesses surveyed identified a lack of language skills as a barrier to trading internationally. As a result, the BCC has advised the government to introduce mandatory language studies for schoolchildren up until AS level.

BCC director-general, John Longworth, said. “Re-establishing foreign languages as core subjects within the national curriculum and in workplace training would mean that the next generation of business owners are ‘born global’ with language skills”.

“We are already the sixth-largest trading nation on Earth, and the third-largest service exporter, but to really secure our future as a leading exporter we need to help companies take advantage of new markets.”

Whilst it is crucially important for British kids to be learning foreign languages until they leave school, the BCC should also be raising the profile of companies that provide translation services, most of whom are also already trading successfully abroad. As a translation services provider ourselves, we work with many organisations across the globe. As such, we are not only able to help businesses overcome the language barrier that may be preventing them from exporting, we can also offer practical tips and advice to avoiding the possible pitfalls that may arise, based on our own experience.

If you would like to talk to us about the transition to international trade, or if you have any questions about the translation services we offer, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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