Applications open: British Academy School Language Awards 2014

Last year, the British Academy awarded a total of £60,000 to schools, colleges and other providers, including supplementary schools, to encourage excellence in language learning.

In 2014, the British Academy is again offering a series of Awards throughout the UK for projects that encourage larger numbers of students to take languages to advanced and degree level.

Further information

Language Assessment for Multilingualism: promoting linguistic diversity and intercultural communication

The 5th ALTE International Conference is one of the largest multilingual events for the global language assessment community. ALTE Paris 2014 provides an opportunity to hear influential voices, discuss key issues and meet colleagues from around the world. The two day event builds on the success of the 4th ALTE International Conference, held in 2011, by extending the debate into new and fascinating areas. Plenary speakers reflect both the diversity and scope of the event, and the increasingly important field of language assessment.

The conference will take place in Paris, from Thursday 10 – Friday 11 April, at the Maison Internationale, part of the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris.

Read more

The Juvenes Translatores winners will receive their awards at a ceremony in Brussels on 8 April 2014

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation (DG Translation) is organising a contest for schools in the European Union that has been going on since 2007.

If Europeans are to be “united in diversity“, as the EU’s own motto puts it, we need to be able to understand languages other than our own.

In the long run, learning languages will bring us closer and help us understand each other’s cultures. And it will make it easier for you – the adults of tomorrow – to study and work around Europe.

Studies show the ever growing need for translation and translators in Europe. Student should better be ready for this! Juvenes Translatores raises awareness about how translation skills are important and how the use of translation as a “mediation” between languages should be  reassessed in language learning.

The contest has proved hugely popular – 99% of schools that took part in previous contests would like to do so again.

Find out who the winners are and read more about the contest

‘Many languages, one world’: UN launches essay contest to celebrate multilingualism

Head of UN DPI, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, and President of ELS, Mark Harris, signed the agreement to host a multilingual essay contest. It was launched at UN Headquarters in New York with a signing ceremony between the UN Department of Public Information and the ELS Educational Services.

The United Nations is asking college and university students to write an essay in one of its six official languages on the role of multilingualism in a globalized world.

The contest, ‘Many Languages, One World,’ supports international education and multilingualism through the continued study of Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Information about the contest, including guidelines for submission, can be found at

European Master’s in Translation – call for applications for 2014-19

Universities currently have the opportunity to become part of the select EMT Network and join other institutions striving for excellence in their translation programmes.

The third call for applications to join the European Master’s in Translation Network is now open. Universities may apply if they run programmes that comply with EMT quality standards. Existing members wishing to renew their membership must re-apply with a complete file — selection cannot be guaranteed.

The deadline for applications is 16 December 2013.

The results will be published by 2 June 2014.

EMT membership (or observer status) will take effect on the day the results are published and last for five years. No other selection procedure will be conducted during this period.

For more information on the EMT and the selection procedure, please consult the dedicated EMT website.

Language Rich Europe hits the headlines!


In the midst of busy preparation for next weeks LRE Conference for stakeholders and partners it is easy to lose sight of why our project is so relevant. Language Rich has been making news in the UK these last two days and that make us happy!

Check out today’s news story from Northern Ireland, “Northern Ireland ‘ill prepared’ for business future, says language report“.

Yesterday we made news in Scotland where a similar story took shape: “Foreign language skills ‘cost Scottish businesses’

This BBC video clip from Wales highlights the call for language learning in Wales.

Don’t forget to join the conversation next week at least virtually! Have your say on why language learning is so important.


Bring Your Voice to Our Upcoming LRE International Conference

The room may be full for our upcoming high-level debate, but we want you to take part!  We will not only be live tweeting the highlights of the event from the British Academy in London, we are opening up the debate floor to your questions and views via twitter during the Multilingualism and Society session.

At 15:45 on December 3 this session will explore the economy, competitiveness, employability and social cohesion to understand how European countries and cities are reacting to diversity in civil society.  Details of this session are below.  For more info on the full event see the LRE International Conference Programme.

So follow along and join in using the Twitter hashtag #LREintl to submit your views and questions to our chair, Thomas Fritz (Head of and bring your voice to the discussion!

The Details

Our round table experts

  • Thomas Fritz, Head of
  • Richard Hardie, Chair UBS Ltd
  • Sevdalina Voynova, Director of Programmes, Sofia Development Association
  • Csilla Bartha, Research Professor/Head Research, Centre for Multilingualism, Research Insitute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy for Sciences and Eötvös Loránd University
  • Benjamin Chatfield, Founder of OscarMike, an international marketing agency and former European Language Assistant
  • Thomas Huddleston, Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group

Examples of questions and topics that will be explored in the round table

1)   On Economy and Employment.

The European Consensus seems to be that multilingualism is an important benefit for the economy – that companies with languages strategies and employees with language skills are more likely to be successful.

  • Why do you think that only a quarter of the companies surveyed by LRE claim to have such a strategy?
  • Why do so few companies keep records of their employees’ language skills, even where language capability is a criterion for recruitment.   What does this say about the real significance of languages for employees?
  • How much should it be the responsibility of employers to offer training in languages skills? (LRE sample reports 27% supporting English, 14% the national language and 12% other languages)
  • Does this mean that English is the language of business and employment as many other aspects of LRE seem also to suggest?

2)   On Multilingual societies

Many countries report on the rapid changes brought about by increased mobility and movement of peoples across and into and out of European countries. This seems to be something which affects everyone including countries that have traditionally been rather monolingual and countries of emigration.

  • In general terms what are the big challenges (and possibilities) in this area?
  • Many report that countries and regions –whether in education systems or civil life – often pay lip service rather than real attention to languages used in their communities other than the national language.  Do you agree? Could you give any examples of this? Or positive experiences which suggest the opposite?

3)   The Impact of economy on society

The economy is not separate from society but a major determining factor.  Would you say that some of the rather consensual ideas about Multilingualism from the end of the last century and the 2000s (An “Asset and Shared Commitment”; A “Rewarding Challenge”) are threatened by the current long term economic crisis?

  • Many report that countries and regions –whether in education systems or civil life – often pay lip service rather than real attention to languages used in their communities other than the national language. Do you agree? Could you give any examples of this? Or positive experiences which suggest the opposite?
  • It is reported that there is a reluctance to address issues of minority languages because they are linked to immigration which has become a controversial political issue.
  • In many countries the emphasis is firmly on learning the national language rather than supporting minorities.
  • What needs to be done in order to overcome some of the fault lines this discussion has revealed?

Today’s launch: Italy


Did you know that…

“At the present time Italian is used as the main language by around 90% of the Italian population, also as the spoken language (ISTAT, 2007). This is a radical change to the centuries old idiomatic Italian tradition, characterised by a prevalence of local languages to Italian. Before the Unification of Italy (1861), Italian was the language used for centuries as the literary language, and it was only spoken in the Florentine-Tuscan and Roman areas (De Mauro, 1963, 1979, 1994).

Despite the general diffusion of standard Italian, used by the vast majority of Italian society,Italystill presents a linguistic identity characterised by a wide range of dialects, varieties and registers, which places it among the countries which even today present a relatively high index of linguistic diversity.

To this complex panorama, a new factor has been added in recent years: the immigration of people from some of the poorest countries. Foreigners inItalytoday total more than 5,000,000 – one immigrant for every 12 residents (Caritas, 2011). A census regarding immigrant languages does not currently exist, but research carried out in various areas ofItalyestimate that approximately 200 new languages are present in the country (Bagna, Barni, Vedovelli, 2006; Barni, 2008).”

The Italy launch will take place on 8 June 2012 in the auditorium of the Goethe-Institut in Rome. The speakers of this launch event are:

  • Susanne Hohn, Direttore, Goethe-Institut Italia
  • Coordina Silvia Minardi, Presidente nazionale di LEND e Presidente del REAL
  • Christine Melia, Direttore, British Council Italia              
  • Diana Saccardo, Dirigente Scolastico Comandato, Direzione Generale per gli Affari Internazionali del Ministero dell’ Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca
  • Massimo Vedovelli, Rettore, Università per Stranieri di Siena e, Membro della Conferenza dei Rettori delle Università italiane
  • Keynote Speech: Video intervention by Tullio De Mauro, Professore Emerito, Università “La Sapienza”,   Roma
  • Keynote Speech: Giancarlo Zucchetto, Capo dell’unità italiana, DG Interpretazione e Conferenze, Parlamento Europeo
  • Keynote Speech: Antonella Sorace, Professoressa in Linguistica dello Sviluppo, Università di Edimburgo e, Direttore “Bilingualism Matters”

Presentazione dell’Indice Language Rich Europe e i risultati italiani nel contesto europeo:

  • Martin Hope, Direttore, British Council Benelux e UE
  • Eilidh MacDonald, Project Co-ordinator Language Rich Europe, British Council Berlin
  • Monica Barni, Professoressa in Didattica delle lingue moderne, Università per Stranieri di Siena e partner italiano del progetto Language Rich Europe

After the presentations, there will be time for discussion.

Per ulteriori informazioni in italiano si consiglia di consultare il sito web di British Council Italia.

Tomorrow’s launches: Poland and Lithuania


Did you know that…

‘Poland has adopted an interesting practice with regard to teaching Polish to immigrants. Bearing in mind that teaching Polish to immigrants is not the same as teaching Polish as a mother tongue, head teachers delegate this task to teachers of foreign languages, for example to teachers of English and not to teachers of Polish.’

The Poland launch will take place on 25 May 2012 at Warsaw Polytechnics. There will be several speakers discussing the findings of the project. These are:

  • Andy Williams, Director British Council Poland
  • Martin Hope, Language Rich Europe Project Director and Data Expert
  • Liliana Szczuka-Dorna, Head of Department of Modern Languages at Poznan University of Technology

Coinciding with the Poland launch is the first part of Lithuania’s launch on 25 May 2012 at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. The invited participants to the very first launch are representatives of the education institutions, companies, and cities researched, as well as the media. Speakers will be:

  • Dr. Julija Moskvina, Institute of Labour and Social Research, Lithuania
  • Dr. Irena Smetonienė, Vilnius University, Lithuania
  • Vilma Bačkiūtė, British Council, Lithuania


Did you know that…

‘Lithuania particularly cares about the status and usage of its state language. As for the rights of ethnic minorities, including the right to preserve their own languages and cultures,Lithuania has taken as many responsibilities as there can be in terms of the protection of minority rights.’