by Christian Ray Pilares: In the midst of conflict, Ukraine is making a significant change. Ukraine is making moves towards setting English as an official language. While that makes sense since English is the most commonly-used language for business today, the move also has some geopolitical implications.
We’ll look at how making English an official business language for the country can help it economically. We will also discuss how translation will play a central role in helping Ukrainian companies to adapt to the new language of business.
The Use of English in Ukraine Today
The announcement that Ukraine will be working towards adopting English as a business language was by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. He said that the Ukrainian government is working on laws that would designate English as the official business language of the country. This means that there will be a move to create legislation to make this official.
He said that since English is now used in business communication all over the world, giving it an official status will promote business in Ukraine. It can help accelerate his country’s integration into the European system. Shmyhal did not give any further details as to what the law would entail, but this is seen as a major boost for the Ukrainian economy.
Ukraine is lagging behind many European countries when it comes to English proficiency. In a survey that was conducted in 2021, Ukraine placed 30th out of the 35 countries that were surveyed for English proficiency. It was even behind countries like Poland and Belarus. That’s not bad compared to the rest of the world, but if Ukraine competes with other European countries, it will have to improve its English proficiency.
Right now, Ukrainian is the sole official language of the country, with around of its population speaking it. What’s interesting is that 30% of the population speaks Russian only or mostly. The Russian language still plays a major role in the daily life of Ukrainians. Of course, this has been further complicated by the ongoing conflict there.
Adopting English as an official business language would mean moving closer to the United States and its NATO allies. This can be tricky because one of the reasons that have been cited as to why Putin invaded Ukraine was to prevent it from falling under the influence of the US and NATO. Naming English an official language would mean a direct move towards becoming closer to Russia’s rivals and could be seen as another provocation though a minor one compared to Ukraine’s bid to join NATO.
What the New Law Will Mean for Ukrainian Businesses
The move will boost the prospects for Ukrainian businesses as they seek opportunities. The Russian language still plays a considerable role in Ukraine’s economic life. It is still widely spoken in the country despite the ongoing conflict. Russian is also used in media and business.
Although the use of the Russian language is being restricted increasingly. It is still widely used. A significant portion of the population speaks Russian as their main language. Declaring a language official will not erase the importance of the Russian language, but it can be a move in the right direction to reorient the entire Ukrainian economy.
What will the adoption of English as an official language for business mean for Ukrainian businesses? It means more and better opportunities. It means that the Ukrainian economy will move closer to Europe and the United States. It can open up many more opportunities that can trickle down to the rest of the population.
How a Translation Company Can Assist Ukrainian Businesses to Comply
Once the new law is passed, how can businesses adapt to the new ruling?
Many of those businesses will be required to have their communications in English. This can be a challenge for many of those businesses that have never communicated in English before. A Ukrainian business finding itself in this kind of situation may have to turn to outside resources for a short-term solution. A translation company has the resources to contract professional translators who are also experts in different fields. This is a lot better than working with a freelancer who may be an expert in the language but is not technically proficient in the field involved. For a more long-term solution, Ukrainian businesses may just have to hire employees who speak English.
Translating Official Documents
Once the legislation turning English into an official language for business becomes a reality, companies might be faced with the task of having their official documents written or translated into English. To ensure the quality of the documents, it will be best for them to work with a translation company.
Translating Marketing Materials
A translation company can also help in translating marketing materials into English. These service providers work with translators who are also experts in different fields. In the case of translating marketing materials for Ukrainian businesses, they must have some knowledge of the country and the customs and culture of the country for the experts on localization to deliver the right marketing message.
Only 8% of companies do not perform translation of any kind. That means the vast majority of companies understand the importance of translation at some level. That’s how important it is for Ukrainian companies to engage in translating their marketing materials.
How the Law Will Help Ukraine to Integrate
There is a definite need for the Ukrainian economy to integrate with the rest of Europe. The move to make English the official language of business in the country will make that integration easier. It will make it easier for Ukrainian companies to work with foreign businesses.
The move will make it easier for investors to come in and bring their money into the country. That removes the language barrier, which can slow down the flow of investments into the country.
There has been no update yet since Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal’s announcement of the move to make English an official language. Hopefully, the move to create the legislation regarding the business language is in the works now. It will benefit Ukraine now at a crucial moment when it needs all the economic boost that it can get.
Christian Ray Pilares is a professional writer who has been writing about foreign relations, and language-related topics for ten years now.