Tuesday, May 18, 2004

How (some) Americans see it

In a thoughtful leader the Wall Street Journal Europe gives a different slant on the growing problem of languages and translations that bedevils EU negotiations. Gleefully, it points out that because of the need to have everything produced in twenty languages and the shortage of translators some of the never-ending regulations and legislation are being held up.

The EU has announced that directives on financial regulation and transparency of securities information will be delayed for six months because of translation problems. A step in the right direction but we on this blog would have been happier if the whole bang-shoot had simply not happened.

The newspaper cannot help being optimistic: “Is it too much to hope that, someday [sic], lawmakers, aggravated by the process of having everything trnaslated, will sense how frustrating their rules are for the rest of us and begin to understand the hidden costs of regulation?” I very much fear that it is too much to hope for. Those lawmakers may be frustrated by the lack of translators but that is not the same as being able to understand what all that legislation does to the rest of us.

Still, adding yet more languages, up to and including esperanto to the official EU ones just to gum up the works is a very attractive notion.

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