Do you speak Desperanto?

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Vi si dice una cosa molto semplice. Chi usa l’inglese per lavoro, anche se preparato, lo parla male, e con grossi rischi di (non) comprensione. Insomma, diciamolo chiaramente, l'”Inglese per tutti” è un mito!

D’altra parte anche l’esperanto per tutti è un mito, nel senso che qualcuno che parla male c’è sempre. Ma il punto è un altro. Non dobbiamo aspirare all’eguaglianza dei risultati nell’apprendimento linguistico (ci sarà sempre chi è più bravo e ci sarà sempre il somaro), dobbiamo guardare ma all’uguaglianza delle opportunità di apprendimento, nel senso alla partenza tutti devono avere le stesse possibilità di padroneggiare la lingua franca, mentre ciò non accade se per qualche popolo questa lingua è anche lingua madre.

Senza considerare che a questi ultimi è anche dato il monopolio legittimo della correttezza linguistica, nel senso che possono decidere chi sbaglia e chi no, quello che è corretto e quello che non lo è. Inaccettabile quando si tratta di scrivere le leggi europee o vincere un dibattito politico.

Michele Gazzola


Staff Exchanges

Do you speak Desperanto?

Claude Colomer, senior French translator, reviser, and interpreter at the European Investment Bank , spent the last week of November at DG SCIC in the framework of the IAMLADP staff exchanges . He talks to SCICNEWS about his background, his experience of 20-20 meetings and the quality of multilingual communication with full interpretation.

Claude ColomerClaude Colomer: I have been at the EIB for almost 12 years, hired as a reviser after many years of experience as an interpreter and a translator in the Asia-Pacific area. Before the Bank I worked for the South Pacific Commission in New Caledonia , which brings together 22 small island States plus five big ones: the US , Australia , New Zealand , France – and the UK (because of Pitcairn Islands ). I have freelanced for the UN in the area and worked for ESCAP in Bangkok .

I was originally trained as an interpreter/translator in Adelaide and I must say I enjoyed the work in the Pacific area. We could see the immediate benefit of interpretation, for example for farmers or fishermen receiving technical assistance or aid. It was hard work and it also led to a lot of contacts with fairly isolated tribes in places like New Caledonia or PNG.

Working for the UN is a lot like working for the Bank: it is more oriented toward defining policies and implementing large programmes or projects. But the attitude to languages is different, something I felt clearly when I moved to Luxembourg . The UN six languages are simply not an issue while there are always discussions in the EU in general and of course also at the Bank about language regimes and so on. The Bank has about 50 linguists and everything above their capacity is outsourced.

Listening to a 20-20 team at work is really something. I am very impressed by the skills and talents of colleagues. 60 interpreters in a team is a lot but everything appears so well organised what with the back offices, the computers, and so on. The situation at the Bank is quite different. Most meeting participants are forced to speak a foreign language: Desperanto, as I call it. This means messages can come out somewhat abrupt or awkward or could even lead to misunderstandings. What I have seen here seems to work much better and I have noticed that some delegations, which in Luxembourg , because of the 3-language regime, run the risk of appearing rather simplistic, come across as more natural and complete in Brussels with full interpretation.

I have really enjoyed my week at SCIC. Coming from the Bank, it had already taken time to persuade my management that it would be useful to put my interpreting skills to good use – and now I am back in action 25 days a year with SCIC colleagues (the only mixed teams accepted by SCIC ia). After all, we have provided an “exchange opportunity” for SCIC for 30 years, so it’s high time to turn the tables and have the Bank come to Brussels . I will be coming back in January to help train colleagues in EIB operations in order to help those going on mission to the Bank – and I hope I might have further opportunities also to interpret in Brussels.

Source: Claude Colomer – interviewed by Ian Andersen (SCIC 02) [addsig]

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