No translations please, we're British

Dennis Baron debaron at UIUC.EDU
Sat Dec 8 06:34:18 UTC 2007

There's a new post on the Web of Language:

No translations please, we're British

In a move calculated to make immigrants learn English faster, the  
British government wants everyone to translate less. Insisting that  
translation makes it too easy for newcomers to avoid learning the  
language that put the great into Great Britain, Hazel Blears,  
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, is asking  
hospitals, the police, courts, and local governments not to translate  
anything unless it’s absolutely necessary. And when they do translate  
something, Blears wants it done with pictures accompanied by English  

Pointing to Polish road signs on English streets, and all sorts of  
government reports published in 10 languages when no one even reads  
the English version, Blears complained that translation is a waste of  

But critics of the new policy complain that the Labour government  
speaks with forked tongue, because even though it hopes to save £100  
million a year on translation services, the government is also  
reducing opportunities for immigrants to enroll in free English  

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The Web of Language

Dennis Baron
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

office: 217-244-0568
fax: 217-333-4321

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