Applauding the Wisconsin Language Roadmap
Earlier this month (December 2018), the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation published The Wisconsin Language Roadmap: Investing in World Language Education for a World-Ready Wisconsin. This report grew out of the bipartisan Wisconsin Language Summit, January 2018. It concludes that language education is vital for Wisconsin’s culture and business. Now, The Geo Group Corporation is a Wisconsin-based language service company. And as such, we wholeheartedly support the goal of strengthening language education.
Translation helps reach more people
The report states that “over 70% of the world’s purchasing power [lies] outside the United States.” Yet, “only about 15% of people worldwide are competent speakers of English.” This matches our own arguments for avoiding English-only approaches in international trade. Likewise, the linguistic diversity in the U.S. is a fact that Wisconsin businesses and educators cannot ignore.
Language education is key for business
The Wisconsin Language Roadmap calls for increased language education. Because Wisconsin leaders recognize the value of a multilingual workforce. And we completely agree. Here are some reasons why:
- We hire staff who have studied a language. We are a language-service provider. So, it is vital for us that our own staff have at least some familiarity with a foreign language. This is true at all levels and in all job functions. We talk and write about languages all the time. Thus, it helps to have at least some basic understanding of what it means to speak a foreign language.
- Our clients hire staff with a language background. We help our clients reach foreign-language customers. This means we often talk with them about linguistic issues. If our partners have some language learning experience, we can have deeper conversations.
- We hire multilingual subcontractors. Without quality language education, we would be hard-pressed to find suitable talent.
- We work with reviewers who know a foreign language. Even the best translators cannot always hit the right tone for every single company. Every organization has its own lingo and its own style. So, it is important to involve subject-matter experts from the client side. And multilingual reviewers can give even better feedback to our translators.
Thus, we embrace and support all efforts to increase language education. For our own staffing and subcontracting needs and for fruitful collaboration with our globally oriented clients, broad language education is a fundamental building block. We are proud to live and operate in a state where documents like “The Wisconsin Language Roadmap” inform the educational policies of the future. Go Wisconsin!