Did you know that last year was the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures? No, neither did I (until a few weeks ago, i.e. a bit too late). Apparently, the United Nations and UNESCO annually allocate a few issues of international concern to be commemorated and promoted. So, last year we should also have been celebrating the International Year of Biodiversity, the International Year of Youth and the International Year of Communications. Who knew?

In our line of work, the rapprochement of cultures is actually very relevant. Rapprochement is defined by the OED as the establishment (or resumption) of harmonious relations. It derives from the French word ‘rapprocher’: ‘re-‘ (expressing intensive force) and ‘approcher’ (to approach). Basically what we are talking about is international cooperation, and transferring and borrowing cultural ideas.

But how do you go about this if you don’t speak other languages? It is widely acknowledged that Britain and the USA have a ‘special relationship’, due in no small part to our common tongue. It’s the same for Portugal and Brazil, or France and Quebec.  We must not, however, underestimate the value of exchanging ideas with people or nations with whom we do not share a language. The benefits are infinite.

Here at BLS we enjoy being part of a rapidly growing sector offering language services to help facilitate this interaction. We can train you or your staff to communicate in a foreign language (or communicate more efficiently in your own language), we can provide interpreters for business meetings and conferences, and we can translate any written text into any language you require. We pride ourselves on our passion for language, and are always happy to help ease communication.

For those of you eager to know what you will be celebrating this year, 2011 is the International Year of Forests, Chemistry and People of African Descent.

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