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Science Essay

3676 words - 15 pages

The Role of Translators-Interpreters in Contemporary Society in the US and in Europe: Luxury or Necessity? Dr. Eduardo González University of Nebraska at Kearney Judging by appearances, the US has everything it needs in terms of meeting present-day requirements for language services in all spheres of modern life. There are immigrants from everywhere, millions of bilingual or polyglot people, excellent universities and colleges and so forth. However, the results as to having qualified translators and interpreters fall quite far from the possibilities. This work will attempt to give a general view of the problem and a brief analysis of possible solutions. The Past First England, then the US, ...view middle of the document...

However, a new world power, fresh from having disposed of the last remnants of Spanish colonialism, emerged as the potentially strongest nation in the world. This, of course, was proven during and after the Second World War, when the US became the undisputed first power in the West, with a couple of competitors in the East: the USSR and Communist China. The Cold War ended and the US has arisen as the first superpower without any serious competition in our present world. All of the above, of course, influenced business, economies, politics and even peoples’ minds in different ways, but without a doubt, everybody thought that as to learning a foreign language, English was the one. Unfortunately, this also meant that speakers of English, as a whole, never had to worry too much about foreign language learning: everyone else had to learn their language. As a result, first England, then the US, did not acknowledge for a very long time the need to learn languages other than English. French had been the language of diplomacy, but that quickly disappeared, especially so after the First World War. German was useful to “understand” the common enemy for the first 45 years of the XX century, but that was it. Russian? Well, I doubt that too many people in English-speaking countries, especially those in government, really felt the need to understand what was going on in the new Soviet state.

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Of course, there have always been “special” courses and language learning classes with specific objectives, particularly those concerning “strategic” areas and local wars of variable intensity. For those purposes, England and the US always managed to develop short, intensive, “immersion” types of courses that allowed its chosen participants to learn quite well a foreign language for very narrow frameworks of usage. But in people’s minds, English was the language everyone had to learn. The Present In Europe, however, due to its geographical nature, people can walk from a German-speaking area to a French-speaking one, perhaps bike to a Catalonian-speaking environment and then hike their way to a full Spanish-speaking region. Bored? Take a train and speak Portuguese when you arrive! Still in search of adventure? Take the Chunnel train and speak either French or English at any end station! Do not neglect Italian, Flemish, Greek or Romansch. A bit to the north there is plenty of Russian. Start turning east and you will hear Georgian, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Turkish, Pushtu, Farsi, and so on and so forth. Although French and English have historically been the languages to learn in Europe, that role has been increasingly changing. Spanish, German, Russian, Greek, Czech, Serbian, Croatian, and other languages are also becoming “useful” for business and money-making, mostly so after the foundation and development of the European Union and the adoption of the euro as the main currency in more than a dozen countries. The recent joining of former Socialist countries, formerly...

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