The Government has clearly articulated its desire for British citizens to speak English. However it is very important for people as they arrive in the UK to either access the labour market or to find safety and asylum to have the means to access essential information within their community and from their employers to keep them safe in their own language A large percentage of new migrants into the UK rapidly acquire improved levels of English through ESOL programmes. However these programmes are no longer being funded by the Government and in some towns and Cities there is a paucity of language programmes being delivered at times when employees working to an oscillating shift pattern can access them. Moreover English is a highly complex language with a tough grammatical structure and an extensive vocabulary to master. This means that there are many people in need of linguistic support to enable newcomers to understand their legal rights, their access to medical advice, to open up financial help in banking, insurance and in tax implications as well as numerous other areas entailed in citizenship and in safe participation in a community. The following five reasons have been outlined by the UK Government as to why Local Authorities should translate their material into languages which are present in substantial numbers in an area.

  • 1. To ensure that non-English speaking residents are able to access essential services such, e.g. the police, education services and safety campaigns.
  • 2. To enable people to take part in the democratic process, e.g. registering to vote or to take part in local consultations.
  • 3. To support local community groups or intermediaries working directly with new migrants or non-English speaking communities.
  • 4. To enable people to function effectively as citizens in society and be able to get along with others, by ensuring that they understand local rules and appreciate local customs eg, rubbish disposal, parking restrictions and common courtesies.
  • 5. To ensure compliance with the Race Relations Amendment Act, ensuring that no one is disadvantaged in accessing services because of their inability to communicate verbally or non-verbally.

IbixTranslate is a market leader in the development of innovative solutions for communication across language barriers. Our Translate solution is currently attracting the interest of an international array of service providers ranging from Interpol to humanitarian relief organisations. However for the humble library at local authority level Translate can still be a highly effective and economical solution to the challenges of mis-understanding and lack of information sharing due to a paucity of bilingual assistants and volunteers.