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Elhuyar Aholkularitza and EPIC, a European project for language management in businesses. Second meeting: Bath, England @elhuyar

Mar 13, 2014

ElhuyarAholkularitza will take part in the EPIC (Enhancing and Promoting International Business Communication) project to analyse the situation of language management in SMEs. The aim is to help businesses identify and resolve the communication problems that arise during the course of their everyday activities. Langune will be working as one of the external validators

As part of the EPIC (Enhancing and Promoting International Business Communication) project, and with the guidance of Semantica Ltd from the UK and Euro-Friend Ltd from Hungary, a number of audits will be carried out in Poland, Lithuania, Sicily and the Autonomous Region of the Basque Country to analyse the situation of language management in SMEs. The aim is to help businesses identify and resolve the communication problems that arise during the course of their everyday activities.

Elhuyar Aholkularitza (Elhuyar Consultancy) is the Basque partner in the EPIC project. Elhuyar has been designing and developing Basque language plans for companies for over 20 years now, and therefore has extensive experience in the field of language management in the business world. The EPIC project is its springboard to Europe-wide activities, providing the impetus required to move from designing Basque language plans to designing language plans in general.

Together with Elhuyar Aholkularitza, there will be two other external validators working in this project: Langune (association of Basque Country companies belonging to the Language Industry sector) and Orkestra (Basque Institute of Competitiveness). Their contribution consists on validating the work carried out by Elhuyar and verificating the information given by the consultancy.

The partners met in Poland in November 2013 to establish the basic premises and foundations for the project. On 11 March they will be meeting once again in Bath (England), in order to share with each other the progress made so far and to establish the work to be carried out over the next few months.

WHY EPIC?
While developing Basque language plans in companies and organisations, Elhuyar Aholkularitza identified a hitherto unaddressed need: in order for the internationalisation processes set in motion in so many companies over recent years to be successful, it is essential to focus on foreign languages and to establish the place they should occupy in our businesses. Indeed, managing languages in an inappropriate manner can generate problems, including communication difficulties, insecurity, a lack of confidence among customers and conflicts, etc. These problems have a negative effect on companies’ competitiveness and, if not handled properly, may have serious consequences.

But it is not just Elhuyar that has been on a sharp learning curve. Companies themselves have learned a lot about internationalisation and are now well aware that in order to operate outside our borders, they must offer a multilingual service. Nevertheless, rarely do they pay sufficient attention to language management, and in many cases languages are incorporated into the company in a non-systematic, rather haphazard way, often in reaction to everyday events and problems.

Consequently, the aim of the EPIC project is to identify businesses’ real language needs and to help them create order out of the chaos generated in the language field as the result of internationalisation. The project will train several auditors and will develop auditing material adapted to the cultural and linguistic situation of each specific region. Following that, a series of audits will be carried out in a selection of small and medium-size enterprises in the Autonomous Region of the Basque Country.