Multiplicity of official languages
Incidence: The effect of the multiplicity of official languages in multilateral, [ad hoc] and permanent meetings has produced a state of confused variety which has increased the difficulties of international communication and of the diplomatic profession, viewed as a whole, in carrying out this role. The language barrier, heightened in many cases by the revival of linguistic nationalism, hampers the work of non-professional delegates to conferences, of statesmen at their occasional meetings and even that of career diplomats, professional men and women with special language ability, training and experience. Most international organizations are faced with language problems. The international governmental organizations work with five, six or seven languages on a day-to-day basis, and employ vast numbers of interpreters and translators to provide the necessary technical support. The European Communities, for example, use nine languages, and twenty-five percent of their personnel are employed in their language services. The organizations in the United Nations system use anything from two to seven languages. In 1976 their total direct expenditure on language services (excluding the costs of management, office space, printing, etc) exceeded US$ 100 million.
Problem Type: F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update 01.01.2000 – 00:00 CET