English proficiency of the Spanish relative to other nations

La Información’s reporter says that this publication by Education First, a teaching multinational with an interest in making target clients nervous, shows that of the European countries examined, only the Russians and Turks had worse English skills than the Spanish. He then left to finish his primary school geography class, and so didn’t have time to wonder about the validity of a study which appears (p20) to have been based on the performance of relatively small minimum numbers per country (400) of self-selecting participants in online English tests, of which few details are given; a few more words about how the experiment functioned in say Kazakhstan as against Norway might have also been in order.

But never mind: there is praise (p3) from Dr. Napoleon Katsos of the “University of Cambridge Research Centre of [sic] English and Applied Linguistics,” without it being mentioned that Education First seems at that stage to have been providing funding to the RCEAL. For whatever reason, RCEAL was merged in August 2011 with another group to form the university’s Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics. Amidst some less than impeccable German, Education First claims to have set up this department (“An der University of Cambridge haben wir das Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics eingerichtet”), but the DTAL is churlish enough not to mention this generosity, and at pixel time the only ghits for Education First on their site lead to dead pages.

So, two mysteries. But, while all this may look like nothing more than a scattershot marketing stunt, in the case of Spain the old smoke/fire adage may also hold true.

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Last updated 19/01/2012

This post pre-dates my organ-grinding days, and may be imported from elsewhere.

Barcelona (1366):

English language (462):

Föcked Translation (414): I posted to a light-hearted blog called Fucked Translation over on Blogger from 2007 to 2016, when I was often in Barcelona. Its original subtitle was "What happens when Spanish institutions and businesses give translation contracts to relatives or to some guy in a bar who once went to London and only charges 0.05€/word." I never actually did much Spanish-English translation (most of my work is from Dutch, French and German) but I was intrigued and amused by the hubristic Spanish belief, then common, that nepotism and quality went hand in hand, and by the nemeses that inevitably followed.

Spain (1835):

Spanish language (501):

Translation (788):


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