EU Parliament cuts translation budget

Top Quote The European Parliament is to cut its translation services to reduce costs by approximately 8 million per year. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) January 25, 2013 - Currently the parliament takes up to four months, along with a huge cost, to translate each of the recordings of the plenary debate into 22 languages. However, with the on-going financial structure, the EU needs to be adequate to this current situation and appeal for budgetary cuts and austerity measures, so to reduce these cost, lawmakers have approved the proposal that from now on they will only record proceedings in their original language, which has been estimated to save 8 million per year; however if required they will have to translate them if they receive a request from a member state.

    The decision follows a report by Bulgarian liberal MEP, Stanimir Ilchev. He dismissed the thought of only translating into English as "linguistically unjust". He believes the move would not harm multilingualism, and members will still use interpreters to follow proceedings in their own language.

    Following the amended rules of procedure it will be required that the parliament will broadcast all proceedings in real time on its website in all the active interpretation languages. Scaling down the plenary translation service has been discussed for a number of years, but only now was the video service being used enough to justify the change. This change may, however, come as a disappointment to defenders of multilingualism, which they may view as a flood of English into EU Institutions.

    Ilchev said that to his knowledge no jobs would be cut despite the reduction in workload, but did not mention whether fewer freelancers would be taken on.

    A spokesperson from WORDtrans said, "What seems utterly bizarre to us is that while they have agreed to make the savings, there are no plans to cut jobs despite the reduction in workload. The translation industry by its nature is hugely labour-intensive and salaries form by far the biggest cost overhead. So without cutting staff numbers, it is difficult to see how savings are going to be made."

    British Conservative MEP, Geoffrey Van Orden, has campaigned long and hard for a reduction in the translation budget and comments how other large multi-nation organisations handle their translation requirements. He says "NATO has 28 member countries and just two working languages and the UN has 193 member states and six working languages. Why must all our documents be translated into 22 different languages? It is one of the most costly parts of parliament's budget."

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