Sunday, 16 May 2010

I Can Save 120 million quid, just like that!


The New York Times has a great story in it. It's about a little town called Jackson in New York. The town only has 1,700 residents, has no schools, no post office and no churches, not even a petrol station.

"The town passed an ordinance last month that requires all Town Board meetings to be conducted exclusively in English. The measure was approved 3-1 by the Town Board and has divided the residents of this Washington County town. The new rules are merely making official what has been done for the last two centuries, said Carol Rich, a Town Board member who voted in favor of it.

"It's been done for 180 years in English, and hopefully it will continue to be done," said Rich, whose daughter is a Spanish teacher".

One nearby town, Argyle, has since passed a similar resolution. A third, Easton, is likely to consider one at its Town Board meeting in June. The law has already put Jackson at odds with the New York Civil Liberties Union, which says it violates state and federal law. But in the great American echo chamber, every mouse gets to roar, so Roger Meyer, who proposed the law, feels he is making progress toward protecting the English language from threats near and far.

Pity we don't do the same. It could save us £20million in translation costs!

The number of translators at the Milton Keynes Community Language Service has increased from 20 to 300 since 2000. A huge influx of migrants means the centre now offers services in 105 languages compared with just a dozen in 2000.

Public spending campaigners and immigration experts said the Milton Keynes example underlined the need for a requirement on immigrants to speak English to ease the burden on the public purse.

Nationally, the cost of providing translators in the police, health, education and courts systems is estimated at more than £120million as a result of mass immigration.

In Milton Keynes, Bucks, obscure tongues such as Twi, the chief language in Ghana, Telugu, which is spoken in southern India, and Yoruba, used in Nigeria, are all catered for.

The centre provides a free 24-hour service to immigrants helping them understand housing, health, police and legal matters in Milton Keynes, Luton, Bedford and Northampton.

Staff are currently in the process of recruiting a further 20 interpreters and plan to add Pashto, an Afghan language, by the end of the year.
Gloria Drew, co-ordinator for the centre, said services were in “great demand” and the nature of users had changed significantly. She said: “We have definitely seen a large increase in demand for our services and for different languages"

Just to reiterate, we, as foreigners here in Spain very rarely get help with translation. It is customary for us to engage an interpreter at our own expense if we need to communicate with officialdom here. We get no help at all!

5 comments:

  1. "Just to reiterate, we, as foreigners here in Spain very rarely get help with translation. It is customary for us to engage an interpreter at our own expense if we need to communicate with officialdom here. We get no help at all!"

    And that is exactly the way it should be.

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  2. Exactly. Considering the UK is broke, they should stop this service now.

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  3. Correct.

    I lived in Germany for nine years and

    a) I made sure I became reasonably fluent, of course,

    b) every now and then, I was offered a translation service or the English language version of a form, all of which I politely declined.

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  4. Sue,

    £120million is peanuts! How about £45million times 365? Now we talking real savings!

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  5. And this is why change is going ro be long and hard - it's not the government, it's all the progressives dug in like ticks to the civil service, that push for this sort of thing.

    We didn't elect them, and it seems we can't get rid of them...

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