When Angus took part in the competition last November, along with over 300 other British school pupils from 73 schools nationwide, he had no idea that his German language skills would win him a trip to Brussels. He said: "It came as quite a surprise when my teacher came in and screamed at me that I'd won!"
Studying German, Russian, English literature and history at A level, he would like to pursue a career in international relations. He certainly had his first taste of what that might be like when he attended the awards ceremony for the Juvenes Translatores winners last Thursday. Participants came from all over Europe and made speeches in Lithuanian, Greek, Bulgarian and Italian: all made understandable to the English ear thanks to the work of the Commission's interpreters.
Angus hopes his linguistic skills will be useful for a future in foreign relations. Commissioner Vassiliou underlined the importance of languages for employability at the ceremony, stating that languages "increase people's chances of having a successful and interesting career". She also told the 27 national winners that she hoped their trip to Brussels would make them realise "how much broader horizons become with each new language learnt".
The Juvenes Translatores contest is organised every year by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Translation to raise awareness about translation studies and the growing need for translators in Europe by giving young people a taste of what it is like to be a translator. Open to 17-year old secondary school pupils, the competition takes place at the same time in all selected schools all over Europe.