MY attention has been drawn to “Surveying the language scene” (Mailbag April 24) and as I share Taxpayer’s views I add my thoughts to his.
From my experience of immigrant status in a province of Spain, the Balearic islands, I am well aware of the policies and practices of translation activities there. None is provided at the expense of either local or regional tax.
Banks and commercial enterprises, from time to time (when a promotion is launched), may issue details in German, French, English, Castilian as well as Mallorqui (rather similar I suppose to practices which could occur in parts of Wales ref. the use of the Welsh language). However any communication from a town hall or medical service is usually in Malloqui (rarely now in Castillian, which we Brits usually refer to as Spanish)
This situation is one in which English, French, German and other language speakers have to survive. Speaking and writing Castillian (Spanish) is essential for communication with anyone who is not conversant with the foreigners’ languages.
This now also involves professionals from Eastern Europe and North Africa.
For senior citizens, for example, there is no alternative to: learning the language, involving a friend or a child or other family member conversant with the language or paying for translation.
This policy, as well as not using taxes, provides incentives for all who wish, via Castillian and/or Catalan courses, to interact and get to know each other and, of course, to chat to the locals. This is a far more positive approach than that of the easy featherbedding which is the norm in the UK.