Second language means second culture means business…
An editorial in the Guardian newspaper recently explained the importance of Netflix’s recent decision to show the Welsh-language drama Dal Y Mellt. Welsh has been through tough times as a minority language, but was made compulsory in Welsh schools in 1988, and has since been on anupward trend to be a major part of a distinct Welsh identity – modern, multicultural, independent and outward-looking. The article ends with the argument that programmes such as Dal Y Mellt also speak to a young, urban audience in cosmopolitan centres such as Cardiff – and means that the language is not insular but speaks to the world.
Basque is a similar story of a revived minority language – what is thought to be the world’s oldest language (with thanks to Biskaia Talent for the history lesson!) is now a key element in the pride and identity of the Basque country regions of Spain and France. But for those of us who live in a region that speaks one of the world’s major languages, such as English, the benefits of leaning another language are immense. Whether learnt as a child, or as a tougher journey as an adult, another language is both an intellectual challenge but also an access to another culture. Listening to people speak of their own culture in their own language, is to have a better understanding of their history, their feelings, and why they behave as they do.
Which brings us to business! Alexika MD Mark has had the pleasure recently of attending events for exporters organised by the UK’s (soon to be reorganised) Department for International Trade. Their campaign for ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ offers many very valuable services for exporters such as help with trade shows, market research and export finance. But in addition to this help for exporters, there is a pressing need for investment in languages in the UK – as explained by the Association of Translation Companies. People are more likely to buy products and services in their own language. In addition to enjoying some language learning themselves – and yes, we enjoy Duolingo too for languages that are not our professional combinations – exporters need professional language support to access those non-English speaking markets.
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