U.S. Language Enterprise Advocacy Launches Initiatives
GALA and NCLIS push for language policies, funding & competencies
WASHINGTON D.C. – May 16, 2013 – The first-ever U.S. lobby for the language enterprise is giving a national voice to the country’s $20 billion commercial language industry. Formed by the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS), the American Language Enterprise Advocacy (ALEA) is pressing the case for national policies around language funding and competencies in the United States.
According to Hans Fenstermacher, CEO of GALA, the lobby seeks legislation and joint public-private initiatives to fuel the development of language capabilities that underpin U.S. exports and global policy.
“The language industry enables some $1.5 trillion in U.S. exports today,” Fenstermacher said. “With a commercial language services sector of roughly $20 billion, this means that every dollar of U.S. global commerce rests on a tiny investment in language of 1.3 cents, which is a phenomenal rate of return.”
Among other initiatives, ALEA is working to stop disproportionate cuts to language-related funding. According to GALA, the Department of Education has cut 48 percent of its overall language funding since 2011, and the State Department is planning to shave nearly 10 percent more in 2014.
“We face a critical language industry talent crisis and we urgently need 21st-century skills to keep driving the sector. Without the support of policymakers in this country, the language enterprise will fall short, and the United States will not be able to compete globally.”
Dr. Bill Rivers, Executive Director of NCLIS, said, “The language enterprise employs much more than linguists. In fact, it’s predominantly a technology-based industry and deserves to be considered a STEM discipline in and of itself. We are working with the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy to include the language industry in STEM policy and funding issues.”
The language industry is growing by upwards of eight percent a year, and currently accounts for more than half a million jobs in the United States.
GALA is the world’s largest language industry trade association. www.gala-global.org.
NCLIS is a non-partisan 501(c)4 trade council, representing the interests of the language enterprise to the US Government and working to raise the profile of language in the U.S. www.languagepolicy.org
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