With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for translators and interpreters.
Are you a translator or interpreter working in some of the European Union’s 24 official languages? As the EU has grown, so has the number of official languages, now more than any other organisation (the United Nations has only six).
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Multilingualism is therefore at the heart of the EU, which needs to make sure that its laws are understood by all 500 million citizens, and to listen to what they have to say in their own languages. To make this happen, the EU employs 4 300 translators and 800 interpreters on its permanent staff, as well as freelancers. As a result, the EU is by far the biggest employer of linguists in the world. Why not apply for a job and join them?
The EU promotes translation and interpreting in many ways. For example, EU interpreters regularly teach courses at European universities, and produce training materials. If you are still a student, the EU organises the annual Juvenes Translatores competition for young translators. Or, if you’re an already established interpreter or translator, you might like to use the EU’s IATE terminology database, a valuable, and free, resource for language professionals.
Finally, the EU is at the forefront of machine translation technology development. When readers only need to understand the gist of a text, the European Commission’s MT@EC service provides instant raw translations. However, many documents still require the human touch, and EU translators are not at risk of losing their jobs to computers yet. Machine translations are a useful starting point, helping to make the job easier, and speed up the translation process.
- EU administration – staff, languages and location, https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/figures/administration_en
- Juvenes Translatores competition, https://ec.europa.eu/info/education/skills-and-qualifications/develop-your-skills/language-skills/juvenes-translatores_en
- IATE terminology database, http://iate.europa.eu/SearchByQueryLoad.do;jsessionid=oEaaAkNmBY3XCvRgucIVXdLvzH1lOCri5nOceSmPo9dIC_4IrNVA!1644451700?method=load
- EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service: www.epthinktank.eu