Language Show Live 2017: A New Venue, Fewer Visitors & Some Unhappy Exhibitors – So Back To Olympia Next Year:

IMG_1488Would you like to become an interpreter or translator? If this idea appeals to you, then now might be the ideal moment to consider making a career in this sector. As the Financial Times columnist, Michael Skapinker, pointed out on March 22nd, British companies will need to recruit many more linguists if they wish to expand their global trading links after the UK leaves the European Union in March 2019. He cited the results of a survey conducted last year by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the education group Pearson, which indicated that French, German and Spanish are most in demand by British businesses.

But where, he asks, will they find people who speak them? According to a British Council report, the number of students at UK schools learning French has fallen by around 33% and German by nearly 50% – with Spanish being the only one of these three showing an increase. Hence, there are extensive employment opportunities at the disposal of anyone from abroad currently resident in the UK and who is fluent in one or more of these languages. The Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) website highlights what it describes as the three main options in this profession: Interpreting at conferences, political events and trade fairs; Translating for business people at company meetings or during negotiations; Working in the public sector – such as translating at police interviews, attending court cases, interpreting for hospital patients or helping people with a limited knowledge of English to access essential educational and housing services.

Because many airports function 24 hours a day,the UK Visas & Immigration Department is “in constant need of interpreting services”. The majority of the work is “face-to-face”, freelance and with no minimum or maximum requirement in terms of hours. The fees (Monday to Friday) are £48 for the first hour then £16 per hour from 8.01 am – 6 pm and £20 ph 6.01 pm – 8 am; Saturdays: £72 first hour and then £26 ph; Sundays: £72 first hour and then £32 ph. Training for all these types of employment is available in both London and other cities such as Manchester and Birmingham. South Thames College in Wandsworth, for example, runs a 13-week Community Interpreting course (£275 / £380 for international students) and a 15-week part-time Diploma in Police Interpreting course (£450 / £650 for international students).

It was thus no coincidence that this topic provided the main theme for the Seminar Programme during the Language Show Live (LSL) 2017 at the Business Design Centre in Islington from 13th – 15th October. Among the speakers featured were Karen Stokes of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL): “Becoming a Professional Translator – Qualifications, support Network and Success”; Eulalia Pessoa-White, a freelancer with the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) – “What It Takes to be a Public Service Interpreter”; Pamela Mayorcas, Chairperson of ITI – “A Day In The Life Of A Translator: Find Out What They Do, How They Spend Their Day, What Helps Them To Be Successful”; Sue Leschen (CIOL) – “Terms & Conditions for Freelance Language Professionals”; Dr Lindsay Bywood (University of Westminster) – “What can I do with my translation qualification?”. Other relevant issues covered were: “Why is it good to learn languages?” (Professors Ludovic Serratrice and Theo Marinis, University of Reading) and “Embracing Brexit and Language Learning for Business” (Michelle Ogbonna, Chief Executive Officer, Museum of Knowledge).

A total of 100 exhibitors had booked stands at this year’s LSL. Although a very wide range of languages, such as Cantonese & Mandarin, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Gujarati, Nepalese, Persian, Vietnamese and Welsh were on offer, 40 of the stands were promoting Spanish courses – either in Spain or Latin America (for example,Don Quijote, Learn Spanish in Mallorca, Sevilla Language Center) or in the UK (including the Universities of Hertfordshire, Portsmouth, Surrey, Kent & Manchester Metropolitan and the Instituto Cervantes London). Not all the exhibitors, however, were convinced by the choice of the Business Design Centre as the location for this year’s event or happy with the position they had been allocated for their stand: It was noticeable that there were far fewer visitors on the Saturday than on the equivalent day in 2016 at Olympia in Kensington, the traditional venue for LSL. A new company called “Evolved Events Ltd” has come to the same conclusion: They have just bought LSL from the previous organisers, Upper Street Events, and will be transferring it back to Olympia in 2018 (9-11 November to avoid coinciding with the Frankfurt Book Fair and Expolingua Berlin): All parts of the Show – stands, seminars and classes – will be on the same floor, which they believe will “work best for exhibitors and visitors alike”.

Aspect Exhibitions, based in Ashton, Northampton, advise anyone thinking of booking a stand at a trade fair to first “obtain a floor plan of the venue, assess the likely flow of visitors, the places they are more likely to gather and the spaces best avoided”. Anecdotal evidence (they say) suggests that the majority of visitors instinctively turn left when they first enter an exhibition hall – in which case, having your stand somewhere to the left of the entrance will “automatically be in a good position to attract customers”. However, being too close to the entrance is not a good idea as it tends to be congested and visitors “are liable to walk straight past your stand” when they come in – and similarly when they head for the exit “as they’ve already seen enough and are ready to leave”. The most beneficial place (asserts Aspect) is probably adjacent to the exhibition’s cafe or restaurant “as long as your stand does nothing to disturb people relaxing or enjoying refreshments” – so no loud multimedia demonstrations, blaring music or light-shows.IMG_1486IMG_1497IMG_1493IMG_1487IMG_1506IMG_1504IMG_1502

Filed under: Society, Travel | Posted on November 1st, 2017 by Colin D Gordon

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