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English Language Translators at the EU

WANTED! English language translators are needed in Europe.

Pay attention any of you who've ever dreamed of working as a translator for the EU - often regarded as the epitome of translation career success.

Here is the first paragraph of a press release recently released by the European Commission:


“The European Commission faces a shortage of translators.

The situation is particularly worrying in the English language department because many officials who joined the Commission in the Seventies following accession of the United Kingdom and Ireland are now approaching retirement age.

The search for future recruits has revealed a lack of awareness of the job opportunities in European Institutions.”


Translation staff are retiring

Around 20% of translation staff in the English department the Directorate-General for Translation are expected to leave by 2015, whilst – with the addition of 9 new languages in 2004 and 3 in 2007 - the volume of material which needs translation into English, the Union’s most popular working language, has grown exponentially.

European regulations allow national authorities and citizens to submit documentation in any of the Union’s 23 official languages. No one can master so many languages and, as a result, English has developed into a “bridging” language – the language of choice in this multilingual environment.

As a result, the demand for English translations in the EU has risen by 45% in the last five years.

Large volumes of German translation

And the good news for German translators is that, after French, more documents are translated from German into English than from any other language. (During 2008: French – 16% of all translations, German - 14%.)

Last year 54,000 pages were translated from German into English by the Directorate-General for Translation and its English language department. 26% of the Commission’s work is also contracted out to freelance translators.

EU translator recruitment campaign

For years, landing a job as a translator at European Union has been regarded as the epitome of translation success. Entrance standards are high and perhaps this has discouraged some from applying.

Now, in order to find new blood, the DG Translation is launching a recruitment campaign involving educational institutions, government departments and language organizations such as the National Centre for Languages (CILT) in the UK.

Take action!

If you feel your German is suitably good and you fancy a challenge, why not find out more about applying as an English language translator yourself!

The European Commission’s DG Translation provides information about recruitment on its website - here is the link (chose between German and English versions.)

And here’s the link to the National Centre for Languages (CILT) to which the European Commission press release refers.

Good luck!


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