Will Brexit make your language services more expensive?

Brexit and the last-minute deal struck on Christmas Eve last year, 7 days before our final exit from the EU on the 31st December, mean a list of new rules and regulations for the UK services industry, which makes up 80% of our economy.

With the UK language sector part of this 80%, will Brexit make your language solutions more expensive?

Digital and remote language services after Brexit

Our withdrawal from the EU means we are no longer a member of the single market, bringing an end to frictionless trade with EU nations. This brings new potential costs such as VAT and delays into interactions with EU markets, as we’re already seeing with a number of industries beginning to take the heavy hit.

Cost impacts on remote services are expected to be minimal compared to physical products, but nonetheless, the effect of uncertainty and bureaucracy caused by Brexit should not be underestimated.

However, those using British services within the UK are unlikely to experience much in the way of price changes, if any. For the language services industry, the same applies, especially where remote and digital services are concerned. UK companies who make use of British translation and interpreting firms should not see their prices change as a result of Brexit.

In fact, if you make use of digital language solutions such as remote interpreting and integrated machine translation, you likely stand to outperform your competition, rather than pay over the odds for your services.

By using a UK-based language services partner, you’ll avoid the costs associated with cross-border payments, and still be able to reach into other markets, as there are no restrictions on communications, verbal or web-based.

If you’re currently using digital or remote language services from a provider based in the EU, your costs, unfortunately, are likely to rise as a result of new restrictions.

Physical language services after Brexit

Physical language services, such as face-to-face interpreting, will likely be a slightly more complex situation. If you’re using a UK-based interpreter within British borders, your prices will likely remain the same, as with remote and digital services.

Additionally, UK interpreters have been granted permission under the recent Brexit deal to work on short assignments in the EU without needing to apply for an EU visa. Some countries in the Bloc have stated that they will conduct an economic impact assessment, based on how your British interpreter will affect the local language services industry by taking a given contract. However, this is a limited list and many of the major EU economies, such as Germany and France, will conduct no such assessments.

This means that having your interpreter accompany you to the home nation of a prospective client, for example, will not incur any significant Brexit-related costs or bureaucracy. Neither will you yourself, provided you travel for a set number of purposes.

Travelling to the EU for the purposes of negotiating a sale or purchase, attending a trade fair, or fulfilling the aftersales portion of a contractual agreement are all permissible without the need for an EU work visa.

The bottom line

The underlying rule here is that the way to avoid Brexit-related price hikes in your language services is to engage the service of a UK-based language partner. Not only will a British language firm allow you to circumvent new complications materialised by our exit from the EU, a quality language provider should also be able to help you understand how their services can provide you an entry route into new markets, in spite of Brexit.

At Word360, we are proudly situated in Birmingham, arguably the heart of the UK, and specialise in helping our clients implement digital language solutions, including remote interpreting and machine-led translation, to achieve new levels of business growth, both in and out of the UK.

Written by Ioana Gaicea

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