Post-COVID: A More Global World?
In 2020, people across the globe have been united in a common cause like never before. There’s been a collective effort from millions of people to stay indoors to help to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, scientists from around the world coming together to try to develop an effective vaccine, and dozens of countries embarking on an economic recovery plan all at the same time.
People also came together on a much smaller level from their own homes, whether that was to clap for carers, bake banana bread or learn a new skill, with language learning proving popular.
But what will be the long-term impact of all of this? Will the world continue to work together as one more frequently in the future? And how will new skills acquired in lockdown benefit businesses in years to come?
Lockdown Language Learning
Popular language learning app Duolingo reported a 108% increase in global downloads between March 9th and March 30th 2020 in comparison to the same time last year.
In March, much of the world was in lockdown, suggesting that people perhaps simply needed time, as well as a personal interest in becoming more engaged with global conversations, to encourage them to learn a new language. But why now?
According to Professor Katrin Kohl of the University of Oxford, it could be the way that languages are taught and assessed in schools that put many in the UK off pursuing them.
“[Language] GCSE and A level papers are too demanding and grading is too harsh when compared to other subjects. The exam system conspires against language learners – they’re discouraged on all fronts,” she said.
With more people taking up a new language over the last few months, will this learning continue in the future? It would be great to think that people who’ve taken up a new language would encourage their children to take them more seriously due to the doors they can open. This would lead to more people able to work globally in fields such as translation and interpretation, meaning businesses would be able to expand their reach further and faster than ever before.
A More United World
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic is not the only global challenge the world is currently facing. With consequent economic recessions, rising hunger levels and the growing threat of climate change needing to be tackled, there are many reasons for organisations and leaders from all over the world to come together to share ideas and communicate strategies.
This is likely to result in a greater need for interpreters, with video interpreting services set to be in high demand while travel restrictions, social distancing measures and uncertainties over local lockdowns remain in place. At Language Connect, we work with a network of global interpreters who are well-placed to provide support in this area.
In fact, the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic could see conducting international business meetings or conferences easier than ever, as platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams have become commonplace for many.
Sadly, many aspects of life as we knew it have succumbed to the impact of the virus, but in terms of fostering global connections and the take-up of language learning, the landscape may have changed forever, for the better.
Want to know how Language Connect can support your business through the unprecedented challenges of 2020? Contact us today.