Sep 25


At last month's Language Industry Summit in London, Brexit was never far from the minds of the delegates who had gathered from across Europe and beyond, writes ATC CEO Raisa McNab.

'How will we continue to trade with UK companies if there is a no-deal Brexit on 31st October?'; 'If we provide language services to UK clients, what will “no-deal” mean for VAT, GDPR, freedom of movement?' were typical of the questions being asked during the networking breaks and ahead of a joint presentation on the topic by McNab and leading language industry consultant and export advisor Doug Lawrence on the second day of the Summit and not only by UK-based LSC.

While the overall mood with language service companies in the UK is that of optimism for new business opportunities, there is a distinct need for clarity around how trade may be affected by a possible no-deal Brexit looming on the horizon.

The Association of Translation Companies has secured a UK Government grant worth just over €31,000 to assist language service providers prepare for the UK’s expected exit from the European Union on 31 October 2019.

The ATC’s Chief Executive Officer Raisa McNab says, “We are absolutely delighted to be awarded this prestigious funding to help language service providers prepare for a no-deal Brexit. The UK’s language service companies need clarity around how to export and import services post-Brexit, but we also have a duty of care towards our suppliers in the EU. We feel it is our responsibility to ensure that they, too, know how to continue trading with their UK clients in the event of a no-deal.”


This month, the ATC will be organising a series of information and training webinars tailored for UK language service companies, addressing the critical questions around an eventual no-deal Brexit. The first takes place on Tuesday, 15th October at 16:00 BST in the UK, (17:00 CEST in Central Eurpoe). To register click HERE.

“The aim of this Round Table was to bring together key representatives of the UK’s language services industry to promote fundamental change in approach to public sector procurement, and to take the first steps towards creating a robust, sustainable, inclusive and ethical future procurement process. ”   

“To do this, we first need to understand how public sector authorities and language industry associations and organisations view language services procurement, and discussion around the Round Table gave us a head start in that. It was very meaningful for us to have this space to share thoughts, and to acknowledge that any fundamental change can only be brought about in discussion and collaboration with stakeholders. ”   

“In the past, in an effort to develop best practice solutions, the ATC has published guidance to the procurement of language services in the public sector and our guidance prompted the production of similar publications in other European countries. It is now time to continue that work, in cooperation with the ATC’s Public Sector Procurement Committee and the associations and organisations representing translators and interpreters, with whom we share this critical work.”

“I firmly believe that everyone around the table left with a better understanding of both sides of the procurement and delivery equation, and a determination to work together to improve on processes in the future. I am certain that it will be first of many such meetings in the future.”

A special webinar, organised in cooperation with the EUATC, will address issues faced by EU-based companies and freelancers supplying services to the UK’s language services industry. The webinar series will culminate in the publication of an ATC Brexit Guide for Language Service Companies later this month.

The ATC is partnering again with Doug Lawrence to deliver the training. Specialist immigration guidance will be provided by Louis MacWilliam from Blacks Solicitors.

The funding has been granted by the Business Readiness Fund whose objective is to fund business representative bodies and organisations to engage and provide advice to UK-based businesses to understand the impact on their business and trading arrangements arising from the UK’s eventual exit from the EU without a negotiated agreement. The fund is administered by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.