Language learning: NATO and multiculturalism in international contexts


The vital importance is that the armed forces members have linguistic and cultural knowledge in or of the areas of use.

Learning English is no longer an option but an obligation in the information age. People must develop their communication skills to be an active part of this significant stage in history.

Military forces are not far behind when it comes to language learning.

The importance of language in armed conflicts is nothing new, and it is also a fascinating subject for professionals from an extensive range: translators, interpreters, cultural experts, and even military personnel.

Role of NATO in the performance of multiculturalism

NATO has its reference framework, called Standardization Nato Agreement (STANAG), accompanied by a number, which in the case of languages is 6001. It will be STANAG 6001, which establishes the different levels of linguistic competence applicable to the teaching, acquisition, and evaluation of the other languages of interest of the Combined Armed Forces.

In addition, NATO has essential support from Europe, which is the Bureau for International Language Coordination (BILC): an independent body of experts, whose purpose is to promote cooperative professional help to NATO in the field of education and accreditation of levels of linguistic competence in the languages of interest to the Armed Forces.

The BILC focuses its efforts on promoting and fostering the teaching and certification of language levels of interest to the Armed Forces and harmonizing language policy.

In the final report of NATO, on the investigation of intercultural factors in multinational operations, it is stated that English predominates in the current military environment, framed by a globalized geopolitical scenario due to conflicts that exceed national boundaries.

Language barrier and military conflicts

The importance of language in armed conflicts is not new. It is also a fascinating subject for professionals from a wide range: translators, interpreters, cultural experts, and even military personnel.

– The peacekeeping missions had a significant impact on the need for language learning to achieve good communication, consistent with the aims and purposes of the tasks.

– Not only do the peacekeeping missions serve as an impetus to motivate the military to learn languages, but also the participation in refresher courses or international training that are offered permanently, including contests to fill vacancies on foreign bases.

This growth was such that even in some armed forces agencies, language learning centers were opened, with a wide availability of human and technological resources.

However, despite the efforts made, in some regions, there are still many troops who still face some difficulties when they are called to carry out tasks abroad, especially in peacekeeping missions.

Possible solutions to overcome language barriers:

Although the study of the language is essential, people can use other technological tools to exchange daily messages and the accompaniment of translators and interpreters in more specific situations that warrant it.

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