Have you ever found yourself in a foreign country trying to deal with an issue but being unable to speak the language?
It's an all too often occurrence for people and highlights the kind of problems they can face if, for whatever reason, they cannot use and/or express themselves in their native language.
This is why the International Federation of Translators (FIT) is looking to raise awareness of the issue of language rights. It has highlighted a number of situations where individuals, including people working abroad, immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and tourists, are not able to exercise their language rights.
"What happens if they fall ill and need to consult a medical specialist, unwittingly break a law, need to apply for social services or are involved in a dispute with an employer?," the FIT asked.
Central to the whole issue is the need to be able to communicate effectively, and this is where the organization thinks translators and interpreters have a role to play.
"These professionals ensure that individuals who do not speak the dominant language are able to understand and be understood, and access these services, so that effective communication takes place and their basic human rights are protected," the group stated.
The issue of language rights was the theme of the recent International Translation Day, which took place on September 30th. The annual event seeks to encourage solidarity among the translation community to promote the translation profession in different countries.
Here at EQHO we think that any event or cause that reflects positively on the translation community can only be a good thing.
We can appreciate just how important it is to be comfortable in your cultural and linguistic surroundings, and this is why we feel that governments should look closely at their provision of language services to ensure that no one is left without access to high-quality translation assistance.