A recent study commissioned by the Department for Education in the UK has found that English pupils are among the worst performers in regards to learning a foreign language.
The report, carried out by the National Foundation for Education Research, analysed the language skills in fourteen European countries, looking at a cross-section of pupils based upon economic, social and cultural indicators.
These findings have come as no surprise to many, where to an extent it has become a national joke how poor the British are at picking up a new dialect. The report noted that the policy instituted by the Labour government to scrap compulsory language lessons helped to make a bad situation worse. This is evidenced by the dramatic decline in pupils who sat a French GCSE – 141,472 in 2011, a significantly lower number than the 295,970 in 2004.
In order to reverse this decline, recent government legislation has sought to address this problem by ensuring that children learn languages from the age of seven, a policy which many of Britain’s European neighbours instituted decades ago. Whilst experts have welcomed this policy shift, they argue that because of the British mentality towards foreign languages – and the prevalent, though incorrect belief that English is the language of the world – mere legislation will not solve this problem. Rather, this is a societal problem that needs to be tackled, starting with how Britain perceives its neighbours and, ultimately, its place in the world.
In our globalised world, the need has never been greater for workers to be able to operate across borders and quickly immerse themselves in foreign cultures, while those who are unable will fall behind. At Today Translations, our commitment is to improve Britain’s global standing through languages and giving British companies the resources and know-how to export their product to a global market. While Brits might be lacking in the knowledge of foreign languages, professional translation agencies are at hand to deliver expert foreign languages services to businesses and individuals who require them.
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