Two in three Britons cannot speak a single foreign word.
The British are well known for being very bad at speaking or even trying to speak foreign languages when they travel.
A report by Hotels.com says that only a third of British people would try to say a few foreign words when they go abroad.
Young Britons were found to be worst than older people at making an effort, with nearly half of those aged 16 to 24 admitting they have never spoken the foreign language they learned at school. But 45 per cent of the over-55s said they liked trying to speak a foreign language when abroad.
It is compulsory for all pupils to study a foreign language up to the age of 14 and French, German and Spanish are all on the national curriculum.
Reasons for not trying to speak a foreign language included not being bothered, fear of making a mistake or expecting other people being able to speak English.
Kate Hopcraft from Hotels.com said: “Brits often have a negative image abroad when it comes to languages”.
However there are phrases the British take the trouble to learn and are revealing of priorities. Almost half, 43 per cent, knew how to ask for a beer in Spanish, French and German.
There is another side to all of this. It is estimated that the UK could be losing up to 26 billion dollars a year due to its lack of foreign language speakers. Many exporting companies in the UK depend too much on their customers being able to speak English as explain Nick Chambers director of Education and Employers Taskforce “well we think we’re losing between 3 and 7 per cent of all exports because we don’t have people with the relevant language skills”
And it’s all about selling says Nick Chambers “whilst people often assume that English is a universal language, if you want people buy off you actually being proficient in their language is important. If people are selling to you it’s easier. But if you want to actually understand those customers a convince those people to buy from you, actually speaking their language is really important.”
But it’s not only Britain. All English speaking countries need to improve their foreign language skills in what is an increasingly globalized world.
abroad > extranjero
despite > a pesar de
making an effort > hacer un esfuerzo, esforzarse
revealing (verb: reveal) > revelar
due to > debido a
customers = clients > clientes
skills (noun: skill) a skill is a specific ability that a person has > habilidades, competencias
A popular word in business. There are;
communication skills (ability to speak and listen to others) > habilidades de comunicación
e-skills (ability to use a computer) > habilidades electrónicas
interview skills > técnicas para entrevistas de empleo
leadership skills (ability to manage others) > cualidades de líder
people skills (ability to communicate and relate to people) > don de gentes
business presentation skills > habilidades comunicativas de negocios
social skills (ability to interact with others) > habilidades sociales
survival skills (techniques for preserving life) > técnicas de supervivencia
Curso inglés online por Roy Robinson