Translation Services for International Relations

In order for domestic and foreign affairs to flourish, there must be effective communication between political representatives, citizens and any other public or private stakeholders. Translation, in essence, is a vital form of communication that helps to facilitate dialogue and discourse regardless of your mother tongue or your proficiency in a foreign language. In this article, we’ll gain some perspective on the influence of language, and effective translation services, in swaying politics, economics and diplomacy.

Why Are Translation Services Important for Foreign Affairs?

For a national state, international affairs are a vital component of nurturing stable and amicable trade relationships and agreements. Being able to adequately negotiate your regulations, policies, contract and tariffs with governments in foreign countries is an incredibly important aspect of managing your foreign affairs in an economically responsible and politically stable way. If a diplomat or political representative were to communicate poorly with a foreign partner it could have a severe impact on citizens.

To maintain a high standard of communication with foreign officials requires an adeptness at language and a technical familiarity with politics and the industry of International Relations. It is important to make information available in many different languages used during multilateral diplomacy. Without access to information, there can be serious policy and trade implications that could cause one country to have advantages over another. In order for affairs to be handled justly and fairly, it is necessary for both or all parties to have advanced proficiency in each other’s languages.

This, however, is not always the case – and this is why advanced translation services need to be used. This is why people who work in international relations require professionally qualified translators with years of experience to help them. For example, the United Nations translate all of their document into 6 different languages in order to ensure that internationally relevant information is dispensed among the people fairly, thereby upholding principles such as transparency and accountability. All parliamentary documentation from their correspondence is translated into Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.


How Are Human Translators Preferable to Automated Services?

In each and every global organization, translation services are sought out as a means to proliferate information, elicit communication and maintain relationships. These kinds of translation services, much like those of the IL Consultancy, use high-level analyses of tone, grammar, punctuation, and cultural relevance in order to convey sensitive information in the best way possible. Translation services offered by human professionals, as opposed to automated machines, are particularly useful in international relations. This is because they take into account the need to communicate in a manner that is culturally appropriate and respectful, without coming across as uncharismatic or robotic.

Translations must be readable, accurate, standardised and timeously delivered for consumption by a wide range of stakeholders within a global audience. These documents must cover a broad range of political, scientific, economic and social topics. Documentation is expected to be near perfect because the consumers of these documents depend heavily on them to inform their actions and counter negotiations or responses. Hence, It is vital that the translation services are employed and are able to produce documents that are indisputably well-translated.

For those of us who are ill-equipped to communicate in scenarios involving alliance politics, international diplomacy, international peace missions, trade or even arms control, translation services can come in handy. Having a reliable stream of communication open with these countries is useful when negotiating with political superpowers whose alliance or support can funnel foreign investment, aid, military stability and commercial trade through to the country.

What Kind of Institutions or Organisations Employ Translators, and Why?

While foreign affairs may not seem like the biggest part of the average citizen’s life, its effects are seen all around us. The import taxes we pay, the manner in which we travel, border control, foreign business investment, petrol prices, exchange rates and more are all examples of how international relations impact everyday, domestic life. All of these decisions are impacted by the manner in which state officials and national representatives communicate with each other in certain summits, conferences and meetings such as the ones listed below.

  • The International Security Council (ISC)
  • The International Criminal Court (ICC)
  • The Group of Twenty (G20)
  • The Group of Seven (G7)
  • Group of 77 (G77)
  • Group of 15 (G15)
  • Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
  • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
  • The European Union (EU)
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • The World Health Organization (WH))
  • The United Nations (UN)
  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  • The World Bank
  • The World Economic Forum
  • The United Nationals Children’s Funds (UNESCO)
  • The World Trade Organisation (WTO)
  • The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • The International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM)
  • South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
  • Association of South East Nations (ASEAN)
  • Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization
  • Australia Group
  • Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) bloc
  • New Development Bank (BRICS Development Bank)
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB)
  • CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research
  • Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)
  • Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD)
  • Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)


Within the core ethos of most global organizations, you will see that multilingualism is promoted as a foundational necessity that can help to advance inclusivity and transparency. Organizations that work with partners and citizens worldwide have to maintain an advanced translation department where professionals are available to translate everything. Some examples of documents that require translation are listed below:

  • Green papers
  • White papers
  • Bills
  • Treaties
  • Trade negotiations
  • Tariffs and regulations
  • Sanctions
  • Defence policies
  • Foreign aid agreements
  • Global environment agreements
  • Peace treaties


Which Languages are Used Widely in International Relations?

For those who work in International Relations or Foreign Affairs, it is always beneficial to learn a foreign language. Being familiar with a foreign language makes you a more desirable candidate for diplomatic missions and international jobs or partnerships. It is widely understood that the best language to learn is English, Japanese, Mandarin, French, Arabic, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, German, Korean, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi. Depending on the geographical location, the number of speakers and the political or economic strength of the country it comes from, learning one of the aforementioned languages can present great job opportunities for aspiring translators.

Mandarin is a widely-spoken language for those who work in international politics and diplomacy because China has the worlds largest economy. China has an immense manufacturing capacity, making it easy for the state to export goods and services all over the world. Chinese population growth has increased exponentially since the boom in its economy, and thus there are more Mandarin speakers than ever before. In order to develop stronger ties with those in Asia, it would be highly beneficial to know Chinese.

French is widely spoken all over the world, not just in Europe. French is an official language in 29 countries internationally. La Francophonie refers to 88 states that share French as a common language. This group of governments, citizens and institutions is comprised of approximately 1 billion people over 5 continents – everywhere from Canada to Senegal, French is spoken and continues to drive culture and politics.

Spanish is incredibly popular, especially in the United State of America, because there are approximately a 60.5million Hispanics living in the United States. 18.4% of the total US population speaks Spanish, and thus they are a driving force behind American politics and culture. Spanish is, in fact, even more widely spoken than English with Spanish being spoken by 4.85% per cent of the world’s total population and English being spoken by 4.83% of the world’s total population. Being able to communicate in Spanish with the aid of translation services will grant a diplomat or politician access to Central and South America.

German is also particularly useful for those who deal with partners and stakeholders in Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg or Lichtenstein. German is the most popular language in Europe, and Germany is respected as one of the most developed of the European economies thanks to its massive manufacturing ability and its high rates of exports. Roughly 18%of people in the European Union speak German, so being able to communicate your agenda or plans in German will grant you huge visibility in Europe.

Portuguese is a language that is growing increasingly popular, and it is projected that by 2050 approximately 335 million people will speak this language. It is currently spoken in 11 different countries, particularly in African states due to its colonial history. For example, Portuguese is spoken in Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Brazil, Portugal, East Timor, São Tomé and Príncipe. Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa are also known as Lusophone Africa, which comprises the 6 African countries where Portuguese is recognized as the official language.


What Are the World’s Most Popular Languages?

The ten most widely spoken languages in the world are listed below in order. The most spoken is at the top, and the descending languages represent less and less popular means of communication. English is the most popular language in the world, with 1.35 billion speakers currently. Indonesian is the tenth most spoken language in the world, with approximately 200 million Indonesian speakers in the world.

  • English
  • Mandarin
  • Hindi
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Russian
  • Portuguese
  • Indonesian


Translation for Verbal and Non-Verbal Purposes?

Language in diplomacy can boil down to two separate factions: oral deliveries or written documentation. Each of these aspects of international business and political communications requires linguistic nuance. The style for diplomatic communication involves subtleties with regard to expression, vocabulary, form and structure. Written diplomatic correspondence is not the same as oral diplomatic correspondence. The language used in political addresses delivered verbally differs a lot from the information that is disbursed in non-verbal correspondence.

Working with well-established translation services is not only important for those involved in foreign affairs and international relations, but also for those who are involved in national, provincial or even local politics. For example, in South Africa, there are eleven official languages that are spoken. Every time important official addresses are made, these speeches must be transcribed and translated to accommodate the vast array of people who do not speak English as their first language.

All over the world, translation services are used for political speeches, ceremonies and drafting legislation, amongst other thing. Did you know that in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation addresses are translated to 11 languages? These languages are listed below:

  • Afrikaans
  • English
  • isiNdebele
  • isiXhosa
  • isiZulu
  • Sepedi
  • Sesotho
  • Setswana
  • Siswati
  • TshiVenda
  • Xitsonga


Trust IL Consultancy’s Translation Services for Foreign and Domestic Affairs.

Regardless of the kinds of political work you’re doing whether it be for domestic or international purposes – it is important to consider the implications of your language choices during your correspondence with interested parties and their relevant stakeholders. With the wrong words, you can come across as lazy, irresponsible, corrupt and misguiding. Too many digressions, interruptions or general miscommunications can affect your political reputation and reduce broad support. When you employ translation services from the IL Consultancy to assist you with verbal and non-verbal translations, you empower yourself and your company or organisation with the skills to communicate effectively with a wide audience.