The Globalization and Localization Association is the largest global non-profit association within the language industry, providing resources, education and research to member companies and the greater business community. As such, a key part of our remit is to work with organizations and groups around the world that are working to promote languages and language services at a government level.
The initiatives we support range from advocating for language education funding, to the promotion of the language and localization industry as a whole, to the codification of standards. See a list of current advocacy initiatives.
Representing the corporate language sector, we support advocacy efforts in various ways. We offer valuable and tangible support by gathering industry input and providing speakers and representatives where requested.
Language advocacy in the USA
In the United States, GALA works with the two key organizations working at the federal government level to promote languages: The Joint National Committee for Languages and The National Council for Languages and International Studies. These Washington DC based organizations represent language interest groups from around the country with the intention of promoting language as a key to conducting effective trade policy, expanding international trade, ensuring the integrity of national defense, enhancing international communication and developing a truly broad-based education for all citizens.
In a time of severe budget pressures, these groups are primarily involved in advocating consistent funding for language education. This includes:
- Advocating for the reinstatement of funding for the Foreign Languages Assistance Program (FLAP) that was cut in 2011.
- Advocating for the restoration of funding for grants to language scholars and area studies centers made under the National Defense Education Act, which were cut by 40% in 2011
- Advocating for the preservation of funding for language programs within the Department of Defense, the State Department and the National Intelligence Council.
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages is also heavily involved with The Joint National Committee for Languages and The National Council for Languages and International Studies in this work.
At the state level, there are individuals and groups working on language industry employment issues, such as the rights of employees versus independent contractors and visa reform.
Language advocacy in Europe
In Europe, we work with various services within the European Commission such as the Directorate General for Translation, which is the in-house translation service for the European Commission. The EC itself plays a large role in the language services industry, employing 2,500 permanent staff to translate into and out of the European Union’s 23 official languages.
As well as providing translation in all the European languages, the DG for Translation works to promote languages and work with other Directorate-Generals within the European Commission on language initiatives.
The LIND-Web Platform is the result of much co-operation between the DG Translation, GALA and the localization and language industry. It helps to raise awareness on the language industry in Europe and its various subsectors by providing a platform for disseminating information about the industry and its economic impact.
Another interesting project is the Languages Mean Business platform by the DG Education and Culture. The initiative was implemented following studies proving that customers are more likely to buy products when communicated with in their native tongue. The Languages Mean Business program is a European-wide initiative that promotes language service providers and encourages businesses to use foreign languages with the over-arching message that translation and localization helps companies increase profits. It provides facts about how language services can help business, success stories and tips for accessing and employing localization and language services.
The DG Education and Culture also runs a program to encourage the life-long learning of languages that is aimed at students and teachers.
The Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG Connect) has a program to objectively quantify, map and promote the language tools industry.
One of the primary objectives of the DG Translation itself is to quantify the language and localization industry as a whole. As such, it works with Eurostat – the official statistics organization of the European Union – to collect objective data on the localization and language sector. It is also working on a skills map for careers within the industry. This work is important for gaining recognition, funding and raising awareness among the wider business community of the work the industry does.
GALA supports these efforts by providing visibility and input from industry from among our global membership.
We are extending our support to other world regions as GALA continues to grow. If you think GALA could help you in your language advocacy work, please contact us.