As the UK comes to the end of the Brexit transitional period, you may be asking yourself how this change will affect the language industry? Currently, businesses across the country are still holding their breath as we wait on answers to many questions about Post-Brexit Britain. While we don’t yet know for sure what the language industry will look like after January 1st, we can make some predictions. So here is a roundup of the most likely changes to the industry Post-Brexit.
For many companies in the language industry, immigration plays a large role in their recruitment. The free movement across Europe has proven beneficial for finding native speakers of European languages. Native speakers allow language companies to ensure accuracy and we ourselves only allow translations into an individual’s mother-tongue, so we can provide the best translation possible.
Post-Brexit the UK will be moving into a points-based immigration system which will likely influence the way language companies employ staff. For those interested in short term employment Youth Mobility Scheme and Graduate Route may prove the best path. Some language companies already take advantage of the student exchange scheme Erasmus to find short term native speakers, but it is still unclear whether this will be available in 2021.
For long term employment the Skilled Worker Route will be the main avenue available. Employers will need to obtain a sponsorship license to use this method or recruitment and there will be some additional costs. For this reason it may not be suitable for some smaller companies. If you wish to learn more ATC has gone into further detail on the subject.
Finally, there will be no route for freelance translators and interpreters to enter the UK. This may sound troubling at first, but it is worth noting that there are already a good number of freelance linguists living in the UK who possess either UK passports or indefinite leave to remain.
Reduced Amount of Work?
One of the largest concerns for companies across the language industry is whether changes in trade law Post-Brexit will affect the amount of work available to them? This shouldn’t be surprising as the EU is currently the UK’s largest trading partner so any changes in the way we can trade with them are likely to have a big knock-on effect for companies all across the country.
Companies who provide translation work to clients in Europe, may have to begin charging tariffs on top of their usual translation rates. This would put companies in the difficult position of having to reduce their rates or seeing European clients go elsewhere.
Another concern is that changes to VAT and tariffs will affect other UK business that the language companies rely on. Mechanical and electrical manufacturing are two of the UK’s largest exports and these require technical translations which accounts for a good amount of translation work being done in the UK. Similarly the pharmaceutical industry which alone accounts for 8% of all UK exports requires translations for most of its products. Should these industries struggle it could greatly affect language agencies that rely on them.
Change of Impression
This change is harder to quantify, but it ties into those previously mentioned. The way that UK and UK businesses are viewed could have a serious effect on both immigration and trade. As already highlighted European clients may go elsewhere if business with the UK appears difficult or expensive. But there is also concern that there could be reduced good will towards the UK, particularly in countries that strongly opposed Brexit, or are currently in tense trade negotiations.
This was mentioned in the ATC survey that asked language companies about their concerns about Brexit, where one response described their concern that there could be “worse international standing of UK companies”. This could also ring true for those wishing to immigrate, may now view the UK in a less desirable light.
Another changing impression comes from the USA. The UK has previously been described as a gateway to Europe for the USA, but this is an attitude that is likely to change after January.
Are We Worried?
Translate UK has been providing translation and interpreting services for over 15 years and we have seen a lot change in that time. We have already learnt to adapt our services as the needs of our clients change and we cater to a range of clients meaning that we are not dependent on the success of one industry alone. These are new and potentially challenging times for all of us, but we look forward to embracing whatever challenges lie ahead.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us or leave a comment below.