FCO gets lost in translation

Only one in 40 British diplomats is fluent in the language of their host country, according figures recently revealed to Parliament.

Of Britain’s 1,900 diplomats, only 48 receive extra pay for having an ‘extensive’ grasp of a local language, while 90 per cent have almost no foreign language abilities.

The erosion of language skills of British diplomats has been blamed on the closure of the language centre under the Labour government.

Foreign Secretary William Hague reopened the centre and has made language skills a core aspect of his Diplomatic Excellence programme.