The heading should really be expanded to ‘AS A UK EXPORTER DO I NEED TO SPEAK ANY FOREIGN LANGUAGES? A decade or more ago the answer would almost certainly have been “Yes, for most exporters.”
I was lucky and never did have to learn any more than a few courtesy words or phrases in very few languages. That is because I chose to work in the marine industry, which has English as its business language. Lucky me and everyone else who works in the industry and speaks English as their main language.
Over the last decade things have moved on rapidly in this direction thanks to the Internet and organisations that have applied a lot of time, effort and money into creating technology that instantly translates written or spoken words in one language, into another language of choice.
It’s a miracle. Well not these days it’s not but a couple of decades ago it would have been.
I see these sorts of forward leaps in technology as a definite reason for government education departments to review if some subjects they currently teach can be done away with.
I have to admit to being a luddite when it came to the argument about doing away with mental arithmetic, maths, algebra when hand held calculators were invented. That’s because I enjoy those subjects.
As far as foreign languages are concerned after eventually mastering my language of birth, English, two years late and a tiny little bit of French after 3 years of being forced to study it at school, I have to admit I am not a fan.
So imagine my delight when electronic foreign language translators appeared. They are brilliant. We use them extensively in our day-to-day trading with customers world-wide and on the solasolv.com website. Long may technology reign.