Charlie Bavington

Professional French to English Translator - Business and I.T.

Bringing a pragmatic eye to meeting your needs

Event: UKTI webinar

November 6th, 2013 | Categories: business

I’m not sure how much general awareness there is of this crew, but somehow or other, I have ended up following @UKTIFrance on Twitter, being the French arm of UK Trade and Industry (UKTI). There are any number of UKTIxxxx accounts for various countries and regions. And, by happy coincidence, UKTI appear to be about to kick off an export week (see with events and whatnot around the UK.

UKTI isn’t just for those of us whose lives have been blessed with the opportunity to reside in this earthly corner of paradise, these happy islands so benevolently safeguarded by a public-spirited bunch of awfully decent chaps from one school. No, they deal with both the export and the import side (so potentially of interest to anyone translating into or out of English, in case anyone needs the point hammering home!).

Anyway, yesterday (5 November), they ran a webinar on blowing up your local elected house of representatives The French Economy: What UK companies need to know, run by the British Embassy Paris. An hour long, and probably the most professionally produced and organised webinar I have ever seen, entirely free of technical hitches. Briefly, they looked at:
1. The economy, with an overview of the French economy (GDP figures, trade deficit, and so on and so forth) of the kind you could glean from the business pages or The Economist, say; then a swift summary of economic policy of late.
2. French Financial Services: Paris as a financial centre, the services on offer (everything!), blah blah. The “lending climate” (low demand; majority of requests agreed to by banks, if you’re interested, and just to prove I was paying attention).
3. France and the eurozone crisis. As with the policy overview section, there were some politically-tinged remarks about what France “could and should” have done in terms of using the crisis as cover for deeper reforms which I felt betrayed a lack of the neutrality I was expecting, but otherwise a useful review/reminder of how things are.

Then we had “questions from the floor”, as it were. The general thrust of a typical answer was “make sure you understand the regulatory environment”. In this case, France has no shortage of Codes governing all aspects of life, and they’re constantly being updated and revised so it seemed fair comment.

So, are similar things likely to be worth listening to for other countries? On the basis of yesterday’s webinar, I would venture to suggest that if you’re already translating business-related material and keep half an eye on the news in general, you’re unlikely to learn much that is new. It never hurts to be reminded, though.

At no point did anyone mention the French language or translation. Hmmmm. OK, so it was ostensibly about “the French Economy” but the underlying interest is surely in doing business with French people, who are famous for speaking French? Does that reflect the legendary British attitude to foreign languages? Is it considered too obvious to mention? Was the webinar so high-level it didn’t warrant a mention (see also, e.g. French VAT registration once turnover reaches a certain level)? Is five the right number of questions with which to end a blog post?

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