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Brussels, 23 September 2011

Talking about languages – Commission translators on the ground across the EU

The European Commission runs a network of translators ("field officers") in its local offices in EU countries whose work is to adapt the Commission's written messages to local audiences and promote better understanding of EU policies and priorities on languages and language-learning.

Tailoring EU communication materials on a broad range of issues to the local context and making them comprehensible and interesting for the general public is the daily job of translation field officers. Not just by localising the language but also selecting which information is of local interest, especially with specific target groups in mind.

In addition to that, field officers engage in major outreach activities focussing on languages and language-learning:

  • initiating events to promote translation and interpreting careers, both in general and with the EU institutions. Examples include the Juvenes Translatores translation contest and the European Master’s in Translation.

  • organising conferences both for the wider public and for specialist audiences on language learning and use, and EU support in this field. A good example is the wide variety of events organised by field officers to celebrate the European Day of Languages (IP/11/1065).

  • interfacing with local language institutions (schools, universities, ministries, language councils, language industry, translators/interpreters) to foster cooperation and best practice and the overall development of the translation profession and its market.

  • developing terminology networks through cooperation with national authorities and academic partners to boost the quality of translation in EU institutions.

  • answering questions from both specialists and the public on the Commission's policies on languages, often in person at educational and language fairs and events.


Since 2005, the Commission's Directorate-General for Translation (DGT) has a number of translators seconded for 3 years to the Commission offices ("representations") in their home country.

Currently, there are 31 field officers in 24 EU countries. DGT will open its field office in Ireland towards end 2011. The needs of Belgium and Luxembourg are covered by translators in the Commission offices there.

Translation field officers - contact details

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