Commission wants more universities to offer courses for translators

Nov 15, 2010

The European Commission has launched a new drive to encourage more European universities to offer high-quality courses for students who want to work as translators. As part of this, the Commission is expanding its ‘European Master's in Translation’ (EMT) university network, which was set up last year in response to a growing shortage of properly qualified translators in the job market.

As well as being a network, the EMT is a recognised quality label. To date, 34 European universities have successfully applied to join the network (see link below for list). Universities wishing to use the EMT label have their courses assessed by translation experts, who are mostly members of the existing network. The EMT network met for its annual conference in Brussels from 11 -13 October.

‘In many countries, anyone can claim to be a translator without any guarantee of professional competence. The long-term aim of the EMT project is to raise the standard of translator training; a course carrying the EMT label is recognised as being one of the best in the field,’ explained Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

The EMT project was conceived by the Commission in response to two main concerns: a rapidly growing demand for high-level language services worldwide and a doubling in the number of official EU languages from 11 to 23 between 2004 and 2007.

Demand for translation services across the world is soaring. According to a 2009 study on the European Union language industry1, its current turnover is set to increase by at least 10% annually over the next few years and it is estimated that the industry will be worth up to € 20 billion by 2015.

The language industry covers translation, interpretation, subtitling, dubbing and ‘localisation’ (adapting translation to specific local needs). The skills that a translator needs in the modern job market increasingly go beyond pure linguistic abilities. The EMT project recognises that they are also required to have skills in entrepreneurship, project management and negotiation. Many universities, for instance, are now teaching translator students how to run a business as well as how to translate.

Nearly 250 universities and other higher education institutions in the European Union currently offer courses for would-be translators.

The Commission's Directorate General for Translation provides administrative support to the EMT network and acts as a hub for the exchange of information and best practices. The Commission has allocated around € 300,000 to cover the cost of its administrative support and the network's annual conference in 2010. It does not provide direct financial support to the training courses or students.

Further information:


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