The Guardian interviews five people who were students in the 1970s and 1980s, taking them back to their universities to see how things have changed.
They include Gary Younge, who studied Russian and French translation and interpreting at Heriot-Watt University from 1988 to 1992.
In languages, this meant three types of interpreting – simultaneous, conference (summarising chunks of a speech) and liaison (acting as an intermediary) – as well as translation. We spent hours in the dictionaries room in the basement of the library , trying to find just the right word. We sat in booths wearing headphones trying to stop Jacques Delors or Mikhail Gorbachev racing away with the end of a sentence before we had finished rendering it into passable English.
And Stuart Jeffries did German (possibly inter alia) at Oxford, where remedial grammar classes are now held for some of ‘the brightest and best qualified in the country’.