Organisation | Translation | European Parliament

Organisation

The Directorate-General for Translation (DG TRAD) is largely made up of language units (one unit per language) and its staff work mainly in Luxembourg.

Currently, we have about 660 translators, 250 assistants and 235 other support staff, who together enable multilingual written communication in the European Parliament.
We translate documents in 24 official languages, making for a total of 552 combinations, since each language can be translated into the 23 others. It is therefore not always possible to translate directly from all source languages into all target languages. To overcome this challenge, Parliament has been using a system of 'relay' languages since 2004: if necessary, the text is first translated into English, French or German and then from that language into the other languages. For example, when a Czech Member of the European Parliament presents a legislative amendment in Czech, this text can first be translated into English before being translated into Spanish, Greek, Lithuanian and so on.
Translators work hand-in-hand with assistants, who facilitate the translation process by preparing and finalising documents, with the help of highly specialised IT tools, and by performing other support tasks.

The work of the language units is further aided by various support units. For example, the Information Technology and IT Support Unit provides both standard and translation-specific IT support, and the Planning Unit serves as the entry point for translation requests and ensures that all work is scheduled so that translations are delivered in good time.

In addition to the translation and support units, the Directorate-General for Translation also has a Clear Language and Editing Unit. Authors of non-legislative texts in English or in French working anywhere in Parliament can submit their texts to the Unit for linguistic editing. The aim is to guarantee the high quality of Parliament's documents by providing authors with the support they need and making writing as easy as possible. Clear, well-written, comprehensible texts are an essential factor in maintaining Parliament's credibility and image among the general public and vis-à-vis international bodies in Europe and beyond. Clear original texts also facilitate translation and ensure consistency among the various language versions.

Translation service offices in Luxembourg

Buildings where European Parliament translators work