Brexit means Brexit!

How do you translate Brexiteer? Remoaner? Irish Backstop? As interpreters, we often have to make sense of seemingly nonsensical things.

Brexit means brexit

Photo credits: Tumisu / Pixabay

Our challenge is to make sense of Brexit. We share that challenge with 67 million Britons. And with some 450 million other EU citizens. So we won’t be alone.

Boyd McCleary, a veteran of the British diplomatic service, will be at the PRIMS interregional meeting to help make sense of it all. Mr McCleary, now retired after a career including diplomatic postings to Bonn, Seoul, Ankara, Ottawa, Düsseldorf, Kuala Lumpur and the British Virgin Islands, will offer his insights into the political background and reasons for Brexit, and its implications for the UK and the rest of Europe.

Impacts on professional interpreters

A second speaker (to be announced, so watch this space!) will talk us through the commercial impacts and opportunities that Brexit presents.

We may find more work, with a flurry of negotiations needing interpreting as businesses and stakeholders rush to position themselves in the new order. But there may be more competition for work, as EU institutions may have less need of English interpreters, and more EU interpreters may shift to the private market.

Then there is the Brexodus effect: Numerous European and international institutions are relocating to outside of the UK. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is a case in point, moving from London to Amsterdam. The likely result: less work in the UK, more work in the new EU host countries.

Restricted movement

The ability to easily travel and work in the region is certainly vital to a profession that mediates between different nations. Restrictions on our movement – both for UK nationals who wish to work on the continent, or EU nationals working in Britain – will have profound effects.

An economic slump

Even the most rose-tinted forecasts see a dive in the economy, and a weaker pound is almost inevitable. On the one hand, cut-price UK-based interpreters may be more attractive to foreign clients. On the other hand, the UK market may be less attractive to interpreters who can earn more on the other side of the channel. Could this set off a race to the bottom, with quality being the ultimate loser?

Insulation of education

The EU – including the UK – has long enjoyed and profited from a vibrant cultural exchange. The education of professional interpreters has certainly benefited from intercultural cross-pollination. We need to anticipate a post-Brexit scenario with fewer overseas students enrolling in British interpreting programmes (and fewer British students in EU programmes). And, as a result, fewer interpreters for English language booths.

Register now!

The AIIC PRIMS meeting in London is on Saturday 12 – Sunday 13 January, with welcome drinks on the Friday evening before, and a presentation on latest developments in the meeting, incentive, conference and events (MICE) industry by Rob Davidson.   

Please note – this event is for AIIC members, candidates and pre-candidates only.

Space is limited, and only a few of the 120 places remain.

So get in early and register now!

Recommended citation format:
Communications officer. "Brexit means Brexit!". December 7, 2018. Accessed April 8, 2020. <>.

There are no comments to display