The news is not new in itself (the post is from February), but it was new to me – even though the content of it wasn’t. (Have I confused you yet?)
What am I talking about? The fact that the interpreters of the European Parliament have asked its Members to speak slowly and use their mother tongue when saying something (read the article here).
Anyone who has ever interpreted knows how difficult it is to render the spoken word accurately when the speaker is going at as much as 180 words per minute. Add to that an accent or not-quite-correct grammar and vocabulary and you soon have the interpreters tearing out their hair in frustration by the fistful. And if it’s both… well, need I say more?
While there are situations where people using a common language is expedient for one reason or another, for example in smaller companies, at international conventions etc., there should be truly no reason for this in any of the bodies of the EU. As the article says, there are sufficient interpreters available.
Besides, I think being able to say what you really mean, especially when it comes to politics or business, should be worth the price – and the time – of (good and proper) interpretation.
So the advice to “speak slowly and in your mother tongue” applies not only in the European Parliament, but really to all important communication, wouldn’t you agree? After all, that’s what we professionals are for…