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Faculty heads: It could have been a one-off occurrence

Deans and directors speak out after their faculties failed a University Post language spot check

Deans and directors find it hard to believe that precisely their Faculty does not live up to a University of Copenhagen language policy that mass distributed e-mails should have an English version.

The University Post asked the following to a randomly chosen international researcher from each of the eight university faculties: Do you, or do you not, regularly receive distributed e-mails from Faculty or Department that are not translated into English.

See article International researchers bombarded with e-mails

Six out of the eight faculties failed the test, with only the Faculty of the Humanities passing. The Faculty of Theology is a special case. As Theology staff explained to us, no-one working there can be classified as non-Danish speaking international researchers.

Could be a single case

Dean of the Faculty of Law Henrik Dam cannot deny that there can be a singular case of a non-translated e-mail going through by mistake.

But »all relevant communication, and this includes e-mail communication from the Ph.D. school at the Faculty of Law to Ph.D. students is in both Danish and English,« he says.

He adds that the Faculty strives to ensure that all mass-distributed mails are translated into English: Either in full, or in shortened form.

»In the cases where it is not possible to translate everything into English, the international staff are invited to meetings where the content is communicated orally,« he writes to the University Post.


Faculty director of the Faculty of Health Arnold Boon is surprised that the test shows that the faculty does not live up to the language policy.

»The Faculty of Health has a general policy that all mass-distributed mails and information should be in both Danish and English, and this goes also for the Ph.D. area,« he says.

If one thinks so then they must be right

Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences Per Holten-Andersen says that the faculty not only sends out eLIFE, the main communication channel to all staff and students at the faculty, in both Danish and English, but that urgent mails from Dean to staff, as well as welcome mails and open house events are also in both Danish and English.

»But if one Ph.D. student thinks that we can do it better, then he or she must be right. If the result is commensurate with the efforts, we will, therefore, be willing to look into ways to further develop our parallel language use. It is, at any rate, our object to make everybody feel welcome at Life Sciences,« Per Holten-Andersen says.

Really wants to attract internationals

Karsten Høgh Jensen is the head of the Ph.D. school at the Faculty of Science. As far as he is aware, all correspondence is in both Danish and English.

»This is because we really want to attract internationals students. But I cannot deny that there could have been a one-off occurrence,« he says.