Guidelines for student visits to DG Interpretation
The main purpose of study visits to DG Interpretation (formerly known as DG SCIC) is to allow student conference interpreters to familiarise themselves with the professional life of a conference interpreter working for the European Institutions. It provides a unique opportunity for future interpreters to hear about how the DG works, to learn about latest developments in new technologies in conference interpreting and to practise in "dummy booths" for a day, with their trainer. As such, it provides a first taste of professional life and an indication of the professional standards required to be recruited to work for the European Institutions.
Requests for visits to the European Parliament should be done separately via its Interpreter Training and Contacts with Universities Unit.
Visits of groups of student interpreters from universities already co-operating with DG Interpretation are for 2 or 3 consecutive days (always 3 days if combined with visit to the European Parliament) and are structured as follows:
- Arrival Monday morning at the Albert Borschette Conference Centre (CCAB see map) for Security clearance and badge distribution. Names and ID details must have been received by both Institutions at least 4 weeks before the visit.
- The programme starts with a general introduction about DG Interpretation, followed by a presentation on the European Parliament (if it concerns a combined visit*) and a talk on the European Court of Justice.
*When the European Parliament is not involved, a presentation on interpretation topics is foreseen (speech repository, meeting preparation, awareness raising, EU accreditation tests, …).
- One day is spent practising "dummy booth" with the trainer and with a DG Interpretation staff interpreter. There is generally a short briefing session with the relevant Head of Unit.
- If combined with a visit to the European Parliament, universities receive an additional "dummy booth" day, sitting in on meetings in the EP.
In order to ensure that all students have the chance to practise "dummy booth" in the European Commission's DG Interpretation, (where empty booths are in limited supply) groups should not exceed 12 at the outside. Exceeding 12 may limit this option. Security measures are now such that all visitors must be accompanied at all times in European Institution buildings.
For all other groups, a shorter visit of half a day or 1 day maximum may be authorised by the competent Directors in DG Interpretation and the European Parliament, usually without "dummy booth" practice. This option allows for larger groups to participate in the following programme, which may include:
- Arrival at the Albert Borschette Conference Centre on a Monday morning for Security clearance and badge distribution. Names and ID details of all visitors must have been received at least 4 weeks before the visit.
- Presentation of the DG, presentation of the Speech Repository or other interpretation related topics.
- An informal meeting with the relevant Head of Unit and, if available, other members of that Unit for a question and answer session.
Applications for study visits to the European Commission and European Parliament should be made:
- by May 1st for visits in Autumn of the same year
- by November 1st for visits in Spring the following year.
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The application form for visits to DG Interpretation should be sent to the following mailbox:
Please also send a copy to the Head of Interpretation Unit responsible for co-operation with your school/university.
Applications should be submitted for several dates or periods. The "peak season" for visits is spring, February to May. A request for autumn (or for the months of January or June) is therefore more likely to be accepted for the desired dates.
In any case it is up to DG Interpretation and the EP Interpreting Directorate to agree the final schedule according to their respective possibilities, constraints etc. (such as EP Strasbourg weeks). Universities must be ready to accept alternative offers if their preferred dates are already taken.
All requests, particularly those falling outside category I will be considered on their merits/interest to DG Interpretation and EP and are approved on the basis of availability of staff and at the discretion of the Directors/Heads of Unit concerned.
DG Interpretation and the EP interpreting Directorate are working Services. They are not visitors' services. Those simply wishing to visit to find out about general language aspects of the European Commission should apply to the Directorate General for Education and Culture.
Some useful names and addresses when applying for visits to DG Interpretation and the European Parliament:
For further information please contact the co-ordinator:
European Commission, DG Interpretation:
Ms. Kris Van Balen
Tel : (32-2) 296 84 36
Head of Unit
Interpreter Training and Contacts with Universities
DG Interpretation and Conferences