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欧盟东扩之后翻译工作评估报告

2006-02-26 00:00

  (欧盟1月17日快讯)欧盟委员会翻译总司(SCIC)在欧盟东扩8个月之后对口译工作的现状进行了评估。在由25个成员国组成的欧盟内部提供多语种口译并非易事,其培训方式、工作流程、管理方式值得我部借鉴。

Brussels, 13 January 2004

  Interpretation: where do we stand 8 months after Enlargement? The European Union is entering its first full calendar year with 25 Member States and 20 official languages. The scale of its multilingual regime makes it unique in the world, and to some the extra work it creates for its institutions may seem, at first sight, to outweigh the advantages. But there are special reasons for it. The Union passes laws directly binding on its citizens and companies, and as a matter of simple natural justice they and their courts must have a version of the laws they have to comply with or enforce in a language they can understand. Everyone in the Union is also entitled and encouraged to play a part in building it, and must be able to do it in their own language. Incorporating nine new official languages ? Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Slovak and Slovene ? into the system at one go in May 2004 was an unprecedented situation for the Commission, and its language services have had to adopt some innovative approaches to solving the resulting challenges. Now that the initial dust has settled, the time is ripe for a review of the situation so far.

  1. Who is responsible for what in terms of interpretation in the EU institutions?

  The EU Institutions carry on the most intense, ongoing political and technical conference in the world. The Directorate General for Interpretation (SCIC) provides quality interpretation in meetings arranged by the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, the European Investment Bank and other bodies and agencies of the European Union located in the Member States. DG Interpretation also provides a conference organising capacity to the Commission services. The European Parliament and the Court of Justice of the European Communities each have their own, separate interpreting service.

  2. How is DG Interpretation organised?

  DG SCIC provides interpreters for 50-60 meetings each day in Brussels and elsewhere. Each working day, 700-800 interpreters are ready to help the delegations of the Member States and other countries understand each other.

  The language arrangements for these meetings vary considerably ? from consecutive interpretation between two languages, for which only one interpreter may be required, to simultaneous interpretation into and out of 20 languages, which requires at least 60 interpreters.

  DG SCIC employs 500 staff interpreters as well as a large number of freelances on contract out of a total pool of more than 2700 freelance interpreters world-wide?who have obtained inter-institutional EU accreditation.

  Catering for such language arrangements requires the use of all the various simultaneous interpretation techniques and regimes we regularly apply: direct interpretation, relay, two-way interpretation or retour, and asymmetric language coverage.

  3. What is the situation 8 months after enlargement?

  How many interpreters do we need?

  The projections of the European Institutions show a need for, on average, 80 more interpreters per new language per day for all institutions once the new languages are fully integrated. DG Interpretation would require about half of these. DG Interpretation endeavours to maintain overall a 50/50 hiring split, that is 50% staff and 50% freelance interpreters. In order to cater for almost double the number of languages we will need on average to fill up to 20 staff interpreter posts per new language. This would lead to a staff increase of approximately 40% once the necessary extra interpreters have been trained by the Member States.

  How do we find them?

  Numerous awareness-raising actions have taken place in the Enlargement Countries, and the Directorate General for Interpretation has been building up in-house capacity in the new languages since 1998. These preparations will continue well beyond 2007, the next horizon for enlargement. A postgraduate?type programme is considered to be the most appropriate way to train high-quality conference interpreters. The benchmark is the European Masters in Conference Interpreting

  All New Member States and Accession Countries now have postgraduate programmes, often as a direct result of DG Interpretation’s endeavours.

  DG Interpretation assists the universities and interpretation courses in many ways: with curriculum advice at the planning stage, and, once the course is in place, with subsidies, bursaries for students, training for trainers, teaching assistance, and teaching materials. The annual DG SCIC-Universities conference is a forum where those involved in training all over Europe can meet.

  Interpreter recruitment

  Apart from extensive information activities, DG SCIC has held annual inter-institutional accreditation tests in practically all the new Member States for the past five years. Although the Commission was better prepared in terms of number of interpreters available on day one than for any of the previous enlargements, for many languages there is still a serious effort to be made in each Member State to bring up the numbers of highly qualified conference interpreters to a comfortable level.

  The accredited freelance interpreters indicated below are the total pool available to all three EU interpreting services.

  A first series of inter-institutional open competitions for interpreters was finalised in the last quarter of 2004 and each of the three interpreting services has been allotted a number of the successful candidates.

  DG Interpretation recruited 14 permanent staff interpreters in 2004, rather fewer than expected, and will be recruiting additional interpreters on temporary contracts in 2005 to help make up the shortfall.

  At present, the most represented new language in SCIC is Hungarian with a total of 88 interpreters, taking staff, temps and freelances together. For the other new languages, with the exception of Maltese, between 48 and 86 interpreters are available per language. But enlargement is a process, not an event, and even though the numbers are gradually improving, the new Member States still have much to do as regards training.

  Maltese poses a particular problem in this respect in that the competition for Maltese interpreters in November 2003 yielded no successful candidates. DG Interpretation is in touch with the Maltese authorities in order to help remedy this situation and is currently helping to organise a training course for Maltese interpreters.

  Overall view of interpreters available to SCIC (Dec. 2004) (permanent and temporary staff, and freelance)


Lang.
 
Staff interpreters recruited
 
Staff interpreters; recruitment under way
 
Sub-total Staff interpreters
 
Free-lance
 
TOTAL
 
CS
ET
HU
LT
LV
PL
SK
SL
MT
 
6
6
9
2
6
4
3
3
-
 
1
4
5
8
4
16
3
3
-
 
7
10
14
10
10
20
6
6
-
 
55
43
74
47
38
66
42
43
8
 
62538857488648498
 
Total
 
39
 
44
 
83
 
416
 
499
 

  Setting priorities in interpretation

  Starting from May 2004, DG SCIC has shown that it is able to provide three full teams of interpretation per day. From May 2004 there are five meeting rooms available for meetings served by DG SCIC with the requisite number of booths to allow for full language coverage. The Council of the Union has introduced interpretation priorities for the periods following Enlargement. Meetings at ministerial level as well as selected working groups have full coverage, while other groups have variable coverage, depending on the requests by Member States.

  The plenary meetings of the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee continue to work with full coverage. Commission working groups and committees work ? as has been the practice for the past 20 years ? with interpreter teams that cover the actual need for interpretation. The college of Commissioners continues to work with interpretation in three languages (EN, FR, DE).

  4. How is the quality of interpretation controlled?

  The quality of interpretation is checked by monitoring the performance of the interpreters on a regular basis. Each Head of Interpretation Unit organises monitoring of staff (in connection with the annual Career Development Review) and freelance interpreters. Furthermore, the head of the interpretation team for each individual meeting files a report that takes in quality as well as technical and organisational issues. For Commission meetings, DG SCIC has a running survey of customer satisfaction, which also touches on the quality of interpretation.

  5. What are SCIC’s Internal training efforts

  Currently, 55 interpreters from EU-15 Member States (42 staff and 13 freelance) are following courses in the languages of the 10 new Member States + Bulgarian, Romanian and Turkish.

  5 participants (staff) at the last level have added the language at the end of 2004. At least 8 further participants will do so in 2005, and a further 18 are expected to add the language in 2006.

  6. How is the Commission preparing for the arrival of new languages?

  DG Interpretation has been engaged in training interpreter trainers from Bulgaria and Romania since the early 1990s. Since 2002, more structured assistance has been offered to the universities of the two Accession Countries as outlined above. In November 2003, the Director General of DG Interpretation visited the two countries and held talks with the authorities and the universities which led to a consolidation of training activities in two universities in each country. In November 2004, DG Interpretation started cooperation with Croatia along similar lines.

  7. What is the cost to the EU budget of interpretation?

  The total annual cost of DG Interpretation in 2004, spread over the budgets of the bodies for which it provides interpreters, was ?105 million, or ?0.23 per citizen of the enlarged Union. At full cruising speed after enlargement, with an average of 40 interpreters per new language per day, the total cost of DG SCIC may increase to about ?140 million, or ?0.31 per citizen. Adding the projected costs of the interpretation services of the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice, with a manpower requirement for the new languages similar to that of DG SCIC, the total cost of interpretation may reach 238 million in 2007-2010, equivalent to ?0.50 per citizen per year.

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