How the Language we Speak can Shape our Lives

We all know that our place of birth and the language we speak can impact the course of our lives, but now a recent study of immigrant populations has proved it. The research looked at those who had relocated to the US and found that the language spoken by children at the age of ten had a significant effect on the career paths they took.

The research found that those who migrated to the US from non-English-speaking countries after the age of ten were more likely to pursue STEM careers, that is, those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Those who arrived in English-speaking countries before the age of ten were more likely to pursue communications-related professions.

Why is the age of ten so important?

It seems that age ten represents a significant turning point when it comes to language ability. Children arriving in an English-speaking country before that time still have the flexibility to pick up the new language and adapt. After that point, it seems children will always be trailing behind their native-language peers.

All importantly, those who arrive before the age of ten find it less of a challenge to learn the language and are able to acquire information in that new language. For older children, the ability to communicate and acquire information is more of a battle, so their tendency is to gravitate towards subjects like mathematics and science, where the ability to use language at a high level is less important.

The impact of linguistic distance

As any linguist will know, some languages are much more similar than others and this can affect the prospects of children in their new home. Linguistic distance refers to how different one language is from another. Some languages are fundamentally more different in terms of their grammar and lexicography than others and this can make the challenges of integration more severe for some immigrant populations.

The study found that as well as career paths, linguistic distance had a marked impact on the subjects children went on to study at degree level. Where the language distance between their native language and English was greater, children were more likely to study STEM subjects at university. The authors argued that this decision was the result of a cost/benefit analysis students performed that found efforts to develop an advantage in STEM subjects would ultimately be more worthwhile.

Bridging the language divide

With falling birth rates in many more developed countries and skills shortages in some markets, it is becoming increasingly important that everything is done to try to close the language divide.

Contrary to the research, some of the most highly-skilled migrants in English-speaking countries are native speakers of languages that are linguistically dissimilar. For example, the UK is heavily reliant on skilled immigrants from Asia in areas such as healthcare, engineering and technology, despite the fact that Asian languages are very different from English. Such is the reliance on these migrants that many organisations are recognising their importance and putting schemes in place to help them integrate into the country and the organisation.

To close the skills gap and get the most out of every member of society, it is important businesses and governments work to bridge language divides and ensure everyone has the skills they need to make a success of their lives.

How can we help?

At Linguistica International, our expert translation, transcreation, copywriting and telephone interpreting team work in their mother tongue and have specific experience in the industry you operate in. The result is a message that’s word perfect in any language. For more information, please call 02392 987 765 or email today.


CE Markings

CE Marking Translation in a Post-Brexit World

The UK’s decision to leave the EU poses questions for regulators and industry alike. One question many businesses will an answer to is how leaving Europe will impact the Conformité Européenne (CE) Marking Directive, which applies to EU machinery and electrical and medical products. Currently, under the CE Marking Directive, all importing countries must translate labels, instructions for use, packaging and user manuals into the designated language of the user for all products which could potentially cause harm if not used properly. Typically, sections of documentation and materials related to safety must also be translated.

But with the Brexit decision, will CE Markings still be required in the UK at all, and what will be the implications for their translation? Let’s take a look.

Does Brexit change everything?

The first important point to note is that, at the moment, nothing changes. For the next 24 months, the UK will remain a full member of the EU and it will be expected to meet every single one of the existing single market measures in full.

Even after our exit, the directives on which the CE Markings are based are the single market measures the exit campaigners wish to preserve. So, while we might have relinquished any control over how these measures are applied in the future, UK companies will still have to abide by the regulations if they want to sell to the single market.

What about CE Marked products manufactured and sold in the UK?

As a manufacturer of CE Marked products that are only sold within the UK, you may think the CE Markings will no longer apply following our exit from the EU. However, as the system has been accepted in the UK and throughout Europe for 20 years or more, the UK is likely to continue using CE Markings to maintain product safety and free trade.

What are the current CE Marking translation requirements?

CE Marking is required for 22 product categories which have specific directives. The directives state that importing countries must ensure labels, instructions for use, packaging and safety information must be translated into the language of the country the product/equipment is to be sold in. Generally, it is the manufacturer who will be responsible for the CE Marking translation, although a private labeller which presents itself as the producer can take on this responsibility.

Regardless of the party that translates the documentation, liability remains with the original producer who affixes the CE Marking. In some cases, the manufacturer will write into agreements that the distributor or agent is responsible for CE Marking translations, but that does not transfer the liability.

Failure to comply with CE Marking can lead to an investigation from a regulatory body. If the CE Marking is not translated into a specific language, the regulatory body is likely to want to know why.

The importance of using a professional CE Marking translation team

Any liability that comes from a mistranslation will remain with the manufacturer. Some companies may choose to save money by asking in-country employees or distributors to perform the translation on their behalf, but this approach can be costly, particularly where distributors lack the industry-specific knowledge and language expertise to do the job accurately. While in-country employees may be familiar with the technical specifications of the product, they are not trained translators and may not be aware of the specific CE Marking requirements that apply.

Your CE Marking translation team

At Linguistica International, we use professional mother-tongue translators with specific experience in your industry to deliver a CE Marking translation you can rely on. Call 02392 987 765 or email to find out more.