Fewer French & German translators in future?

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Fewer French and German translators in the future?

A new BBC survey suggests foreign language teaching, such as French and German is being squeezed out of timetables in Wales. Will this trend result in fewer graduate French and German translators in the future?

Some pupils who are currently studying French and German say they won’t continue with their studies as they think learning a foreign language is too difficult and won’t lead to a good job later in life. You can listen to the pupils discussing the issue on the BBC website.

Thankfully, not all pupils found learning French to be a waste of time. Using his language skills, Callum Davies for example got his dream job in football by helping French-speaking players settle into life in Cardiff.

The overall trend is worrying though. Foreign language learning is at its lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium, with German and French falling the most.

BBC analysis shows drops of between 30% and 50% since 2013 in the numbers taking GCSE language courses in the worst affected areas in England.

A separate survey of secondaries suggests a third have dropped at least one language from their GCSE options.

At Carmel College in St Helens, Merseyside, sixth formers can still study A-level French, but German is no longer on offer.

Students come to the college from 120 secondary schools and only a handful of those still offer German at GCSE, so there were not enough students to make an A-level course viable.

The principal, Mike Hill, says the college has seen the numbers of students wanting to study modern foreign languages decline sharply in recent years.

“If we have classes of 25 in other subjects, it’s really hard to justify small classes in other subjects, even though we are a big college.”

This also means cultural links are being lost, as they have had to drop a long-standing student exchange with the German city of Stuttgart.

Mr Hill believes that languages are now seen as a high-risk choice by schools and pupils, as many believe it is harder to get a high grade in exams. You can read more about this story on the BBC website.

For companies like Knockhundred and others who offer French and German translation and interpreting services, it is obviously extremely important that the students of today continue to study and become proficient in foreign languages. I don’t want to mention the “B” word, but being ready to communicate with the outside world must surely be a priority.

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