UK Overseas Trade Statistics have recently announced a continued reduction in UK exports. The ATC comments on how poor language skills are costing the UK economy £48 billion a year in lost export sales.
Geoffrey Bowden, General Secretary for the Association of Translation Companies (ATC), has said: “As an organisation whose members are focused on helping UK companies from all sectors maximise international trade opportunities, we are concerned to see a continued reduction in the value of UK exports for December 2015.
“Recent research shows that poor language skills are costing the UK economy £48 billion a year in lost export sales* and that organisations which have made the conscious decision to invest in professional language services achieve a far higher export to turnover ratio**.
“With current uncertainty around the economic impact of a potential Brexit, maximising export opportunities in the first half of 2016 appears more crucial than ever.
“Rather than viewing language services as a cost and perceiving the language barrier as too large to overcome, we are therefore campaigning to raise awareness amongst SMEs about the importance of foreign language skills for targeting overseas markets and the role Language Service Providers can play in supporting companies to become effective exporters.”
* Department of Business, Innovation and Skills
** Volume 62, Issue 4 of the Scottish Journal of Political Economics, autumn 2015