On Sept.12, the first report on the investigation of the Hainan Free Trade Port’s international language environment since its founding was released at the Hainan International Language Environment Construction Seminar, which was held in Hainan University’s International Academic Communication and Exchange Center.
The international language environment and language service capabilities are important factors in creating a world-class business service environment in Hainan, and are also key for Hainan as it deepens all-round reform and opening up as well as in advancing the development of the FTP. Fan Wen, Vice President of Hainan University, and Liu Jianda, Vice President of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, as well as scores of language researchers from Hainan and other areas attended the seminar. The researchers held an in-depth discussion on the development of the international language environment and service system in Hainan along with invited representatives from various government departments and local businesses.
Wang Lin, head of the Translators’ Association of Hainan and Dean of the HNU-ASU Joint International Tourism College，made a presentation on the Research Report on the International Language Environment of Hainan Free Trade Port（2021）. The Report focuses on the development of the international language environment in Hainan. Through questionnaires and in-depth interviews, it comprehensively analyses the current situation of Hainan’s international language environment development from various aspects including translation talent cultivation in universities, language service companies, and civil society organizations, before sorting out existing problems. In the survey of international company representatives, 100% of respondents whose mother tongues were not Chinese reported that they faced language communication problems during the company registration process, and half of the surveyed companies reported that they had difficulty in hiring enough qualified foreign language talents. The survey also found that 79.62% of the staff at service counters did not reach the “ideal service level”, and that 69.7% of local translation companies’ management process are still functioning under a “traditional manual operation state”. In the survey of company staff, 86.67% of the respondents said that in addition to English, they are also involved in multi-language services including Japanese, Russian, French, Chinese, Thai, Cantonese, and other languages, which presents them with a huge language challenge. The report puts forward targeted, feasible suggestions based on the survey results in order to provide a reference for scientific planning for international language talent training in Hainan, and to provide a basis for the establishment of an urban international language environment evaluation index system.
Professor Liu Jianda, Vice President of the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, delivered a speech on Promoting the Implementation of CSE Standards and Improving the Language Service Ability of Hainan FTP. “CSE” stands for “China Standards of English”, issued in 2018 by the State Language Commission. CSE is the first language proficiency evaluation scale for English learners in China. As the leader of the CSE research team, Liu suggested that the CSE should be used as the evaluation basis to measure the effectiveness of foreign language learning in Hainan, as well as to continue to improve the quality of foreign language education.
Zhang Hao, an expert from the Hainan provincial standardization expert database, shared his and his teams’ practical experiences in standardizing English signs in public areas in Hainan. Zhang pointed out that the English translation of public information is different from general translation work, and is essentially the local implementation of national standardization work. Therefore, it is necessary to scientifically guide the standardization of English language signs in the Free Trade Port.
All participants agreed that the development of Hainan’s international language environment is urgent and that the development of the cross-language information service industry should be emphasized. They also agreed that the promotion of English learning for all local residents, and especially foreign service personnel, needs acceleration, and that a barrier-free communication system by level and industry must be developed as soon as possible. In terms of public language product supply, stronger policy guidance and more effort is needed to combine the strengths of policy, industry, and academic & research work. Hainan should take advantage of both domestic and international language resources, along with AI technology and the implementation of the CSE in order to develop a language information industry specialized for the Hainan Free Trade Port.
Wushour Silamu, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, attended the seminar online. Wushour Silamu expressed his approval of the success of the seminar and was grateful to all the participants. Silamu also stressed that the problems mentioned and the suggestions put forward during the seminar will be very helpful for the project’s further research and will benefit the development of the international language environment in the Hainan Free Trade Port in the future.
The seminar was co-hosted by the Hainan Research Institute of China Engineering Science and Technology Development Strategy, Hainan University, and the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies.
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