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EU careersTREATY of Lisboneurope directItalian Presidency 2014
DG Interpretation

I want to interpret for DG Interpretation

 

Job opportunities with DG Interpretation:

There are two ways of working for DG Interpretation as an interpreter:

Both staff and freelancers do the same job but as a staff interpreter you will have a range of benefits including a life-long learning programme, job security and also the opportunity to work in other Commission departments if you decide you want a change of career later on; whereas as a freelancer, you have more freedom as you are not bound to one institution or employer.

What we are looking for:

To become an interpreter for DG Interpretation you need:

  • An excellent command of your mother tongue
  • A minimum of 2 or 3 other EU languages (depending on which booth you are applying for)
  • A bachelor's degree in any subject
  • A postgraduate qualification in conference interpretingOR significant professional experienceas a conference interpreter (work in court interpreting, community interpreting, etc cannot be considered as relevant experience)
  • A passion for languages
  • A wide interest in current affairs

You can find information, also for English-language interpreters, regarding the current language profiles in demand with the EU interpreting services here external link.

Back in 2006, the EU institutions were facing an acute shortage of English booth interpreters. Thanks to a successful recruitment campaign, that is no longer the case. New interpreters have joined the market in significant numbers over the past five years to replace those who have retired. In addition, we have seen a small drop in demand for interpretation, which has had a certain impact on the amount of work available.
 
This will not last. Many interpreters will leave the market over the next ten years and they will need to be replaced. We shall therefore continue to test promising candidates with the language combinations we need;  and once registered as accredited interpreters they  will thus be eligible for contracts when the need arises.
 
The basic requirement for the accreditation test remains the same: English at mother-tongue level plus two EU official languages, one of which must be French or German. However, having a third language is essential to secure a livelihood in the longer term, so it is important to start work on adding a third language as soon as possible. NB: Only two languages will be tested at the initial accreditation test. Other languages can be added later.
 
The next round of accreditation tests will take place in 2014. As always, we will invite candidates on the basis of their language combinations and exam results.
 
In July 2013 an entry-level competition for English interpreters was published by EPSO, with a view to recruiting staff interpreters. This is because a quarter of our current staff interpreters will retire over the next five years.

Please follow this link for a list of universities pdf - 326 KB [326 KB] that work regularly with DG Interpretation.

Please see our common myths section to read some common misconceptions about what we are looking for.

Why work for us?

- Variety:

Being an interpreter is anything but a routine job! Interpreters find themselves in a variety of different placesexternal link talking about a wide range of different things, with people from all over Europe.

Freelancers also have the freedom to combine interpreting with many other activities such as art, music, sport or even translation.

- Excellent work/life balance:

The European Commission is committed to helping its employees strike that all important work/life balance.

Holiday:

Staff members are guaranteed a minimum of 24 working days annual leave.

Family:

The Commission is very supportive of families. It provides child care at:

  • day nurseries
  • after school centres
  • holiday childcare centres (during the Easter and summer school holidays)

Staff members can enrol their children at European Schoolsexternal link, where they can complete their education in their own language.

Parents are also entitled to:

  • maternity leave
  • up to six months full-time parental leave for each child

Please see staff regulations external link for more information on the rights and responsibilities of all staff officials.

- Continuous on the job language training:

DG Interpretation encourages its staff interpreters to learn new languages and arranges language courses during working hours for priority languages.

The learning of other languages is also encouraged but is not arranged by DG Interpretation during working hours.

As part of the language learning process staff interpreters are entitled to spend time abroad in the country where the language is spoken. Assistance is also available to freelancers wanting to learn languages.

- Friendly working environment:

DG Interpretation is an equal opportunity employer and prides itself on its friendly and welcoming work environment, organising DG activities such as its very own football team, 'green day' initiatives and other staff gatherings!

- Competitive starting salaries and benefits packages:

Your salary as a staff interpreter depends on your level of expertise. Starting interpreters are hired at level AD5, while experienced interpreters can be hired at level AD7. See hereexternal link for more details.

As a beginner freelancer your net daily rate is about 310€.

As an experienced freelancer your net daily rate is about 400€. You will automatically be admitted to this category as soon as you have worked for 250 days for the European Institutions.

On top of the daily rate freelancers will receive about 100€ (beginners) or 130€ (experienced interpreters) for every day worked, which will be paid into a private pension insurance. They are also covered for health insurance during the time they work for the institutions. For more benefits for freelance interpreters please see here external link.

How to apply:

Staff Interpreter:

Recruitment for staff interpreters is based on a selection process of open competitions in order to guarantee equal access for all citizens.

They are organised according to staffing needs in the individual interpreting departments of the three institutions (the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the Court of Justice of the EU), but generally come around every 4-5 years for each language. In order to qualify, candidates must meet a number of conditions relating to their qualifications and language knowledge.

Following a pre-selection process, successful candidates will be invited to an assessment centre where both their general competencies and interpretation skills in consecutive and simultaneous interpretation are tested.

Competitions are run every year by EPSOexternal link, the European Personnel Selection Office, and staff interpreters are recruited from the pool of successful candidates.

Please see EPSO's websiteexternal link for more information

Freelance Interpreter:

The EU Institutions are interested in candidates working into or from the languages of the 27 EU member states (28 with the accession of Croatia on 1 July 2013), or countries currently engaged in accession negotiations. However, language profile requirements are subject to change and vary from one language unit to another. Consequently, all valid applications will be considered.

How can I apply?

Accreditation as a freelance interpreter is obtained by passing an inter-institutional interpreting testexternal link. To be eligible for such a test, you must:

  • Hold a recognised university degree in conference interpreting or
  • Hold a recognised university degree in any subject and a postgraduate qualification in conference interpreting or
  • Hold a recognised university degree in any subject and have documented experience in consecutive and simultaneous conference interpreting. (Experience as a court interpreter, liaison interpreter or company interpreter does not count as experience as a conference interpreter.)

For freelancers there is no nationality requirement and all languages worldwide may be considered.

You can find information regarding the current language profiles in demand with the EU interpreting services here external link.

If you think you are eligible for a test, you should complete an on-line application formexternal link and also submit copies of your CV, degrees and/or diplomas giving details of marks obtained for each interpreting component, and, where relevant, proof of sufficient experience. For languages not covered by the diploma some evidence of how the language knowledge was acquired should be submitted (such as certificates or a personal statement). You may apply at any time.

Once you have done this, you will be sent an acknowledgement of receipt.

When can I take the test?

Tests are scheduled as necessary. A test calendar (see 2014 external link is set up every year, but can be subject to modifications at any time. In principle, all EU languages are tested every year. As soon as a suitable test is planned, a selection committee will examine your application. You will then be notified that:

  • your application has been accepted and that you are being invited for a test, or
  • your language profile is interesting but not a priority. You will therefore not be invited to a test in the near future. However, your application will remain valid for a specified period during which you do not need to re-apply, or
  • your language profile is not in line with our requirements. Consequently your application has not been accepted, or
  • you do not have the required university diploma or the required professional experience.
    Consequently, your application has not been accepted.

Please note that participation in a test is upon invitation only.

How does the accreditation test work?

Candidates are tested by a panel of professional interpreters from the three interpreting services of the EU.

You will be asked to interpret speeches in both consecutive and simultaneous interpreting (around 6 minutes for consecutive and around 10 minutes for simultaneous) from your passive languages into your active language(s), in accordance with the language profile you are offering. At least one of the speeches will be on an EU-related topic. On completion of the test, the panel will inform you of its decision. Please note that pre-recorded speeches may be used for the simultaneous tests. For some languages, the accreditation test is organised in two steps. You will not be accredited until you have passed all the required tests. In this document, you will find the marking criteria pdf - 16 KB [16 KB] used to assess your performance as a test candidate (not an exhaustive list).

Whilst EU knowledge will not be tested separately, knowledge of the EU will be an important  asset, as some of the speeches may make EU references.

On completion of the test, the panel will inform you of its decision.

What happens next?

If you are successful, your name and contact details will be entered into the joint EU database of accredited freelance interpreters. Please note that passing the inter-institutional accreditation test and inclusion on the common list does not confer an automatic entitlement to recruitment.

If you are unsuccessful but the panel thinks you have potential, it may recommend that you re-apply for a test.

Conditions for partial reimbursement of travel and subsistence expenses can be found hereexternal link.

Non-EU languages

There is also a limited need for Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and other non-EU languages.

If you have Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian or Montenegrin as part of your language combination please see this note pdf - 15 KB [15 KB] and contact SCIC-Signalaicexternal link for further information.

You can also download the brochure Interpreting for Europe, Working for the European Commission pdf - 261 KB [261 KB] .