Barbadians now has a viable solution for solving language communication challenges within various global industries and sectors, thanks to the opening of a Translation Bureau at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus.
Speaking during the launch yesterday, the Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr Esther Byer, said she strongly supported the initiative, while urging the Bureau to make its services available to all.
Dr Byer revealed that in the past, Barbados had been forced to cancel at least one international conference due to a lack of infrastructure.
However, she said with the introduction of the Bureau, it would now be possible to host future meetings.
“I know that recently Barbados lost out on hosting an Organization of American States (OAS) meeting because it was felt, not by the OAS, but by our delegation, that Barbados did not have the translation capacity. But no longer . . . our ability to provide the required services contributes to our efforts to host large events which attract large numbers of participants and results in the earning of foreign exchange gained from tourist spend,” she emphasized.
“The intention of UWI to promote its Translation Bureau to the public and private sector, and indeed to the wider civil society, is fully encouraged . . . . Like tourism, the success of our international business sector depends on our ability to attract foreign investors, and facilitate and maintain business. The availability of interpretation and translation services is a critical element in the development of these services sectors.”
Dr Byer also focused on the benefits within the area of conference tourism, saying Barbados had been promoting itself as a destination of choice in this growing niche.
The minister said additional benefits of the Translation Bureau would range from the operationalization of treaties, to facilitating discussion with delegates from countries, such as Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, China and others.
She expressed hope that Barbadians would see the relevance of learning a foreign language.
“The acquisition of a second language broadens one’s scope for jobs in every region of the world, and increasingly so here in Barbados . . . . It has also been shown that employees with another language contribute to increased profits for businesses and earn higher average salaries than those who are not so skilled.”
The Translation Bureau will be offering services in Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Mandarin.