Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Russian Language

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 27th April 2016.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many Russian language (a) speakers, (b) interpreters and (c) translators are employed by his Department; and what steps he is taking to increase the number of such experts working in his Department.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

We have 163 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) employees with some level of Russian capability, ranging from basic Russian to operational skills (equivalent to degree level) recorded centrally.

Russian is a priority language for the FCO, and since 2010, we have increased the number of Russian-language speaker positions in our Russian and former Soviet Union Posts by 30% and increased the minimum duration for Russian-language training from 10 to 14 months.

The FCO does not deploy UK-based staff overseas as translators or interpreters. British Embassy Moscow has one full time locally recruited translator/interpreter position. Our local staff overseas routinely assist with translation as part of their daily work.

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