The linguistic policy of the European Union is built on the principle of multilingualism. Indeed, multilingualism is a legal requirement: whether EU legislation is directly applicable in all Member States or first has to be integrated into national legislation, it is essential that legislative texts are translated and published in all official EU languages. Moreover, multilingualism guarantees that EU institutions are accessible to all EU citizens. However, a variety of measures are necessary if the principle is to be respected. These include the use of professional translators, language training for administrators, and the provision of language tools such as machine translation (MT), which can offer a fast and cost-effective means of obtaining raw translations of reports, minutes and e-mails. The European Commission has been running an MT service for many years, and the results are used both by administrators in their day-to-day work and by translators as a basis for producing professional translations. The service is open to all EU staff as well as to public administrations in the Member States.
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