Colloquium on Principles and Practices of Translation and Interpretation, February 11-12, 2015

Principles and Practices of Translation and Interpretation in the Multilingual European Union

The European Union is unique in the sense that it works and passes legislation in 24 official EU languages. Every EU citizen has the right to communicate with the EU institutions in any of these official languages, and all EU legislation is published in each of these languages. Furthermore, elected Members of the European Parliament and the representatives of the EU governments have the right to speak in any of the EU official languages and have interpretation in their meetings.
Making such a tower of Babel work requires a world-class organisation. In this two-day session, experienced staff from the European Commission’s Interpretation and Translation Services will explain how each day, 800 interpreters and 1500 translators cope with this challenge. They will explain how the services are organised, what the daily work of interpreters and translators looks like, what challenges they face, what tools they use, and how they imagine the future.


Wednesday, February 11, B4 Dwinelle
1-5 PM

Francisco García Morán

Multilingualism in the EU: Policy perspective

Presentation of the EU and its policies. Multilingualism in the treaties and in secondary legislation. The right of citizens to address the institutions in their own language


Javier Hernández Saseta

The Interpretation Service: Mission and working methods.

The European Commission’s interpreting service provides quality interpretation in meetings arranged by Institutions it serves. EU meetings are attended by people from different backgrounds and cultures, and speaking different languages. It is the job of an interpreter to enable them to communicate with each other by translating the words they pronounce and conveying the ideas which they express.


Dirk Stockmans

The Translation Service: Mission and working methods

Each day, translators working in 24 languages translate the Commission’s legislation, correspondence and other documents, thus enabling all EU citizens to correspond with the Commission in their own language and to understand what the Commission does. This talk will shed light on how this is achieved, focusing on the daily work of the translator.


Javier Hernández Saseta & Alexander Drechsel

Overview of multilingual support tools for Interpreters

A presentation of some of the tools used for the training of future interpreters, including the web-based Speech
Repository. Followed by a high-level look at how EU interpreters use information technology for their work.


Dirk Stockmans

Overview of multilingual support tools for Translators

A presentation of some of the tools used for the training of future interpreters, including the web-based Speech Repository. Followed by a high-level look at how EU interpreters use information technology for their work.


Thursday, February 12, B3 Dwinelle
10-1 PM

Javier Hernández Saseta & Alexander Drechsel

Demonstration of IT Tools for Interpreters

A practical demonstration of the IT tools that EU interpreters use to make multilingualism an every-day reality for policy-makers and citizens – conference preparation, language learning, terminology, mobile devices and more.


Dirk Stockmans

Demonstration of IT Tools for Translators

A demo walking you through the different electronic tools EU translators use in their work, from document management to terminology and other search tools and from translation memories to machine translation.


Francisco García Morán

Demonstration of Multilingual Information Systems

Demos of a couple of Information Systems widely used by the European Commission and Member States in support of the internal procedures or the EU policies with special focus on the multilingual aspects.

February 11-12, 2015
B3-B4 Dwinelle Hall

This event is co-organized by: Berkeley Language Center,  Institute of European Studies, European Commission, and the Institute of International Studies

About the speakers:

Javier Hernández Saseta has been working at the Directorate General for Interpretation at the European Commission since 1994, first as a freelance interpreter, then as a staff interpreter in the Spanish booth for 15 years and then as the Director-General’s Assistant.
Since June 2014 he is the Head of the Multilingualism and Interpreter Training support Unit in charge of the relations with the Universities that train future interpreters. His team provides assistance to the universities via the pedagogical support (mainly on site Pedagogical Assistance in the training courses but also Virtual Classes from the EC premises) and via Financial support (grants to universities and bursaries to students). He is also in charge of the preparation of future EU Enlargements on interpretation related issues.

Dirk Stockmans, Belgian-born, studied translation and worked as independent and in-house translator, copywriter and IT manager before moving to the European Commission’s DG Translation (DGT) in 1990. There, he started as a translator from English, French, German, Finnish and Danish into his native Dutch, moving on to become Head of the Dutch Translation Unit in Luxembourg. He is currently Head of the Dutch Translation Department, overseeing the work of the Units in Brussels and Luxembourg. He has been involved in the development of translation tools for the last 15 years.

Alexander Drechsel is a staff interpreter with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Interpretation. He has studied at universities in Germany, Romania and Russia. His working languages are German (A), English (B), French and Romanian (C).
Alexander is also a bit of a technology geek with a special interest in tablets and other mobile devices. He shares his passion and knowledge with fellow interpreters at internal trainings, on the web and on Twitter.

Francisco García Morán is Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley and “Hors Classe” IT Advisor with the European Commission. He studied Mathematics at the University of Sevilla (Spain) and Computer Science at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (Spain). He set up the Commission’s Directorate General for Informatics and headed it for more than 8 years. He specialises in IT Management, Digital Policies and IT Security and has led many projects involving multilingualism in the IT infrastructure, services and Information Systems. He is currently doing research in the area of “Co-production in Digital Public Services”.