A recent article mesmerized readers by suggesting that people will soon be able to purchase enlightenment in pill form. The author making this claim is Nicholas Negroponte, who accurately predicted the large-scale replacement of the computer mouse by touchscreens and dreamed up a predecessor to Google’s Street View approximately 40 years ago. According to Negroponte, in 30 years’ time, we will be able to gain knowledge, including the ability to understand multiple languages by taking a pill, which will be able to navigate the bloodstream and deposit information in the brain.
While it’s certainly fascinating and entertaining to consider Mr. Negroponte’s theories, it seems somewhat farfetched to be able to simply ingest knowledge. And even if those magical pills would somehow be able to infuse our brain with information about a certain historical period or culture, it seems quite difficult to translate that information into actual understanding. For example, being knowledgeable about art doesn’t teach you how to interpret what a piece of art means or, in linguistic terms, simply knowing vocabulary and verb conjugations doesn’t necessarily mean that you can communicate effectively across multiple languages.
While we may or may not soon be able to purchase a 30-day supply of Mandarin for beginners or 100mg capsules of Baroque architecture, the desire for quick learning in our culture is ever-present, especially considering the benefits of being multilingual and the trend toward multilingual education. While studies have consistently shown that studying foreign languages can increase cognitive ability and mental agility, in real terms, the reason for learning is often economic in nature. In the case of a non-English speaker, learning English has the potential to increase a person’s yearly earnings by 10-20%; conversely, English speakers can see an average increase of up to 5% of annual income, depending on the language learned (i.e. some are more economically valuable than others). Beyond the sheer financial aspect, there are also the added benefits of marketability, job security, and a potentially increased opportunity for career advancement. Additionally, beyond an individual’s ability to conduct business in two or more languages helping to improve personal fortunes, a substantial multilingual workforce can have an effect on an entire company and even country (the UK, for example, loses GBP 48 billion (3.5% of GDP) in economic activity a year due to a lack of foreign language skills).
Statements like Mr. Negroponte’s may be fantastic. Nonetheless they spotlight a very real problem of our present world, namely the fact that, although our world is increasingly global, the vast majority of us have not the language skills to effectively navigate his increasingly multilingual reality. The promise to be able to learn any language by simply swallowing a pill is so appealing to us exactly because we all know that our world speaks more than one language. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for a pill; the communication solution to our multiple languages translation needs is through utilizing a translation company.
While waiting for the tech pharma future to come, use EVS Translations for your multiple languages translation projects for a high quality, streamlined and cost-effective approach that will guarantee results. We cannot provide you with magical pills, but we do specialize in providing professional multiple languages translation services to businesses in the technical, financial, legal, IT and software industries.
With offices in Bulgaria, Germany, the U.K., Spain, and the U.S. EVS Translations can provide cost-effective and timely multiple languages services around the clock.
Contact our US and UK translation offices today:
Atlanta office: +1 404-523-5560 or send us an email: quoteusa(at)evs-translations.com.
Nottingham office: +44-115-9 64 42 or send us an email: quoteuk(at)evs-translations.com.