خبرگزاری ایندیپندنت طی گزارشی اعلام کرد که مردم انگلستان در خصوص دانش زبان های خارجی در این کشور از کاستی های زیادی رنج می برند و این موضوع در سطوح دولتی و سازمانی نیز کاملا مشهود است؛ با این وجود دولت در این خصوص کاری انجام نمی دهد. مشروح خبر  به شرح ذیل می باشد:

When I read that the British government had humiliated itself with an incompetent translation of its Brexit white paper into German, I felt deeply embarrassed for them – but given Brits’ track record for languages, this was bound to happen sooner or later.

We Brits treat our ineptitude at languages with a sort of sheepish complacency. We know we’re terrible at them, but ultimately we don’t do much about it. It’s true that English enjoys remarkable international hegemony. Three-hundred-and-seventy-eight million people speak it as a mother tongue and the number rises to over a billion when you account for those who speak it as a second language, according to reference publication Ethnologue.

Learning another language is hard. It forces us out of our comfort zones. We worry about sounding silly and inadvertently saying something embarrassing. And it happens. An incident in high school German comes to mind: we were learning the words for furniture and one girl was struggling with the word for bookcase, “Bücherregal”. The teacher held up the flashcard and, with the whole class watching, she had a mind blank. “B… budgerigar?” she said. Of course, we all laughed.

This perennial sense of insecurity and embarrassment, combined with a conviction that everyone else speaks English, means most of us stop learning languages early. The thing is, our refusal to do the hard work means we shift the burden onto other people. That means expecting other people to step out of their comfort zones, to deal with the shyness, confusion and inadvertently hilarious errors because we don’t want to – and that shows a lack of respect.

It’s true that learning English isn’t all about speakers of other languages making concessions to us. It’s useful to have one common second language across large parts of the world, and it’s especially handy if your mother tongue is not widely spoken. Nor am I saying that Brits should learn all Europe’s languages. But we should at least make an effort, because when nuance gets lost in translation, there’s an enormous cultural price tag.

An EU survey found that only 11.5 per cent of British working-age adults saw themselves as proficient in the foreign language they were best at. So few of us speak foreign languages that we’ve lost sight entirely of what it means to actually speak one.

We think having an A-level is pretty great. We’d put that on our CVs, probably as fairly fluent. We think if you spend a year or so in a foreign country, there’d be essentially nothing left to learn by the end of it. But learning a language to fluency is the work of years. The process never really ends. And so few of us are really dedicated to learning one that, as a nation, we don’t even realise that.

It seems like that was at play with this white paper. One German reader said: “It was translated by someone who learned German in school to a decent level but who never really spoke it, and who is also not a professional translator.” Others described the language as “archaic” and “old school to the max”. When our complacent assumption that having an A-level somehow makes you fluent makes its way to the top of government, we end up an international embarrassment.

Michel Barnier: UK Brexit customs and single market plan may not be ‘legally feasible’ or in EU’s interests

This goes further than the odd diplomatic faux pas, though. An increasing number of European masters and even bachelors courses are being taught in English. I am studying for my masters in Argentina, thousands of miles away from the nearest country where English is a native language, and my course mates are still expected to read English papers and pass a language exam. What do these increasingly demanding requirements mean for talented students for whom languages are not a strong point? Can you imagine the uproar if we introduced Spanish-language bachelors degrees in the UK?

In the long run, the joke is on us. We like to say that everyone speaks English nowadays, but that’s not entirely true. Even though most high-level diplomats and business people probably can, it doesn’t mean they will. One of the reasons my language skills have been so useful throughout my career as a journalist is that there’s a huge difference between having a stilted conversation conveying the basics and someone really waxing lyrical.

If you can understand everything from snippets of overheard gossip to the quiet conversations someone has with their business partner, they can really take you seriously. Until then, you’re at the mercy of what they choose to tell you they’re saying.

Put some real time into learning another language. It’s an investment in your own education, your understanding of the world, and a basic mark of respect. Don’t take English for granted, or you’ll end up with your own “Weisspaper” moment.