The translation in the European Institutions in some figures

Article by Agence de traduction Tradutec appeared on, on 1st February, 2012.

23 official working languages

The institutions that were working with only four languages ​​in 1958 now use 23 official working languages. Representatives from each country express themselves in their own language and are translated by translators-interpreters of the European Union. Each document must be translated into all official languages, so that every citizen of the European Union is able to understand it.

90% of the conferences are in “simultaneous” translation
Conferences can be translated consecutively using note taking (10% of cases), or simultaneously (90%), with microphone equipment and soundproof booths.

69 interpreters translating from and into 23 languages
An international conference needs a minimum of 69 interpreters in order to translate ​​each intervention from and into 23 languages.

 9 million entries in the terminology database for 23 languages
The IATE (Inter-Active Terminology for Europe – the inter-institutional terminology database of the European Union), contained 9 millions of entries for the 23 languages at the end of 2010​​.

558 + 380 + 70 + 1700 + 630 = 3338 translators employed in the translation services of the European institutions

 it has to be added to the staff of:

■ The Directorate General for Interpretation of the European Commission (558 interpreters employed)
■ The Directorate-General for Interpretation of the European Parliament (380 interpreters employed)
■ The Court of Justice of the European Union (70 permanent interpreters)
■ The Directorate General for Translation of the European Commission (1700 translators)
■ The translation service of the General Secretariat of the European Council (630 translators)

which results in a total number of 3,338 permanent translators. We also need to add the staff working at the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee, the Translation Center of Bodies of the European Union, the assistants, the external collaborators, to have a better idea of the number of translators / interpreters who work each year for the proper functioning of EU institutions.

These figures are from the report prepared for the ICIT (Interinstitutional Committee for Translation and Interpretation): available here in French, English and German.

About TermCoord

The Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament in Schuman Building on Place de l'Europe, Luxembourg
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