The growing ethnic community in Edinburgh has cost the city nearly £1 million in interpreting and translation services since 2011. The new figures were just recently revealed.
There has been a dramatic increase in immigration in the city of Edinburgh, which in turn caused the rise in the cost of services. The council revealed that the translation of council literature had jumped from £114,000 in 2011-2012 to about £145,000 in 2014, which is about 27.2 percent more than the spending in the previous years. The figure is higher when it comes to interpreting. From spending about £144,000 in the previous years, it had jumped to over £200,000 last year, or a 38.9 percent increase.
Increase in ethnic communities
City officials believe that the upward trend in translation and interpreting services expenditure is due to the influx of new people coming from the European Union, lured by the strong labor market in the city.
The officials added that the total spending, which was over £900,000 that spanned the last three years was utilized to ensure that the new city settlers meet the country’s immigration requirements and for them to be able to access the city’s key services, including education, housing and healthcare.
Translation and interpreting expenditure
The budget included the cost of translating and printing of information brochures and council leaflets for the new arrivals from different countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan and Poland and face-to-face interpreting services. Identified as the most translated languages during the three financial years were Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Arabic, Chinese and Polish.
The migrants are not surprised by the amount that the city has spent for them and they believe that the trend will continue as the economy of Edinburgh grows stronger. Many of the new settlers did not have enough English language skills and for them to access the city’s services, they needed the help of a translator or an interpreter so that they could fill up the necessary documents and forms.
The multi-ethnic makeup of the present community in Edinburgh is more visible in the city’s schools. In 2014 teachers have provided English as an additional language (EAL) to help the 8.6 percent of the enrolled foreign students, which represented a 3.7 percent increase from 2005.
There are positive outcomes in the investment. About three-quarters of the students at Dalry Primary speak English as a second language and they have published a book titled, “A Whole New World” in celebration of the diversity of their school. About 28 different languages are spoken by pupils in this school.
Ms. Bongayi Patty, a nurse and mother from Zimbabwe who came to Edinburgh in 1999 said that the city has become more diverse compared to when she came over and thinks that interpreting and translation demand will increasingly grow. The council officials seem to agree with her observation, saying that it is crucial for a cosmopolitan city like Edinburgh to provide high quality language services. It is important to them and the diverse community they serve to have services in a language that people with limited English language skills could understand.