‘I speak lots of languages – it’s part of life’ was the message purring out of the Sorbonne University in Paris, celebrating European Languages Day.
Brought to you by the French EU presidency, the forum cut straight to what countries are doing to get their people language-savvy.
EU Commissioner for Multilingualism Leonard Orban laid out how learning and leisure merge: “We promote subtitling films. Because we believe it’s really very important culturally. Also from a point of view of promoting foreign languages.”
Media consultant François Catala called dubbing and subtitling levers, each with their own cultural constraints, saying: “In Poland, watching the original language version is far more accepted.”
Translation was an important theme too, given its role in intercultural dialogue and European integration.
The emphasis was on language’s contribution to having fun and staying interested as well as economic development, political progress and social cohesion. The European Union has 23 official languages and around 60 regional or minority languages.