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European Commission plays a big part in the 2010 Language show
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15/10/2010 00:00:00

Translating and interpreting for the European Union: is it a hell of a job or a job from hell? The devil is in the detail for linguists. What is the difference between translating and interpreting anyway – aren't they essentially the same? How do you manage to convert text and speech from 23 languages and into 23 languages without getting lost in translation or turning into the Tower of Babel? A team of EU linguists will be on hand to answer these questions and anything else you always wanted to ask at the London Language Show, starting today at Earls Court. The show, which runs until 17 October, is free to attend and visitors can have a go at translating or testing their skills in a real interpreting booth to get a taste of the work of the professionals. Not only will interpreters and translators be on hand to talk about their work, but people working in the EU's recruitment department, known as EPSO, will be on hand to give advice about the full range of EU careers. The European Commission's Representation in the UK will be offering useful foreign language materials to language teachers and members of the public. The European Employment Service will be giving information about job opportunities in other European countries. They can all be found in the fair's Europe Village, under the banner "Languages Take You Further".

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: "Languages are at the heart of Europe's wonderful cultural diversity; they can also take you further in the job market. If you love languages, or you are interested in finding out what it takes to work in Europe, this is the show for 'EU'!'

There is currently a shortage of translators and interpreters in the EU institutions for a number of languages – and for English especially. This shortage is mostly due to the fact that many of the current generation of English language translators and interpreters, recruited when the UK joined the EU in 1973, are now approaching retirement age.

    The Commission’s language services are the largest of the EU institutions, and one of the biggest employers of translators and interpreters in the world. Its 115-strong English language department is expected to lose 20% of its work force by 2015. The interpreting service, which works for the Commission and other EU bodies, will need around 200 English language interpreters over the next ten years.

    The European Commission's UK Representation will be at Stand 600 where many publications will be available, orders can be taken, and people can speak to staff members about working for the European Union.

    EPSO will provide general information on job opportunities at the “EU Careers” stand (609).

    A special area, “Translating for Europe: Translation Tools” ( stand CF01), has been set up for visitors to try their hand at translating EU texts and websites, and to demonstrate some of the tools used by staff translators. Chat with them to find out what it is like to work for the EU and what it takes to get a job there at the “Translating for Europe” stand ( 608).

    “Interpreting for Europe” (stands 613, 614, 615) is where you can meet EU interpreters, try out your interpreting skills in a real interpreting booth and see a demo of the 'speech repository', an e-learning tool for interpreting students. Every day there will be talks on translation and interpreting in the Piazza, and four daily showings of short films in a variety of languages in the World Cinema.

    The European Employment Service will be at Stand CF03, providing advice to employers and jobseekers.

    The London Language Show is one of Europe's largest language fairs. Registrations are up 15% of last year, and more than 10,000 visitors are expected

    Further information:

    London Language Show:

    Get a taster of translation work at the European Commission:

    Find out more about the opportunities for wannabe English conference interpreters: and follow “Interpreting for Europe” on Facebook

    For information about the work of lawyer linguists at the Court of Justice:

    For more information on EU Careers: or look up "EU Careers" on Facebook.


    For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973 1971.

    Please note: all amounts expressed in sterling are for information purposes only.

    Last update: 31/10/2010  |Top