1st CTS Professionalisation Talk 2018-19

On 05 October 2018, Miruna Georgescu gave a talk on translating for the Council of the EU to students at the University of Leeds.

Miruna Georgescu is an in-house translator for the Romanian unit of LING, the Translation Service for the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU. She graduated from the MA Conference Interpreting and Translation Studies programme at the University of Leeds in 2016. After graduating, Miruna worked as a freelance interpreter and translator for one year before beginning her traineeship at the Council of the EU in February 2017, which led to her present position as a contract agent.

Miruna’s talk focussed on several aspects:

Firstly, Miruna outlined how the European Council differs from the Council of the EU, where the former sets the agenda and the latter negotiates and votes on legislation. The Translation Service within the Council comprises 24 language units, with roughly 24 translators working in each unit, in addition to assistants and quality control staff.

Miruna then described the workflow of a translation project within LING, such as client request, local coordination, revision, and finalisation of translations. Quality assurance and consistency are vital to a translator’s work. To ensure these standards, there is cooperation and communication between translators, revisers, terminologists and other specialists. In order to aid the workflow, in-house translators can access various tools and resources. These include SDL Trados Studio 2017, the IATE terminology database, and EUR-lex.

Linguists generally translate various types of text, and this is no different within LING. One of the most common is legislative content, which needs to have a high level of accuracy and consistency to ensure that law is applied equally across all EU member states. Miruna emphasised that with legislative texts there is no “original text” as there may be with other genres of translation as all texts and languages hold equal status within the EU. Miruna and her colleagues mainly work on legislative texts from various fields of the jurisdiction of the Council, such as defence, trade, or fisheries. They also translate texts for the Council’s website, brochures, and political documents. Often the need for completed translations arises in the urgent wake of summits, Miruna having found herself working into the early hours to turn around a summit document for publication.

Miruna went on to talk about employment and traineeship opportunities with the EU. The Council of the EU offers traineeships in translation amongst other roles. This is a paid 5-month traineeship starting in either February or September during which the trainee is assigned a mentor to guide them through their role and to help them get to grips with the nature of the EU. During this time, trainees also attend study visits to other EU institutions in Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Brussels. They also have volunteering opportunities at events such as summits or the EU open day usually held in May.

Miruna continued by introducing the application process for a contract position in the EU. She explained that the process involves various tests before a final interview, with successful candidates then being placed on a reserve list. Miruna stressed that this process is quite rigorous and applicants should ideally have a “Plan B”. It’s also important to know that in order to apply for a traineeship or contract position, the applicant must be an EU citizen at the time of their application being accepted. Of course, this means that the situation for UK citizens is still unknown for the September 2019 traineeship period. However, Miruna offered a glimmer of hope with the reassurance that the importance and relevance of English is likely to remain for some time in terms of translation services within the EU.

Further information on eligibility for UK citizens for traineeships will be published on the Council’s website soon, while the EPSO website has detailed information on the application process for contract or permanent positions. Those interested in working for the EU can also take a look at the Council’s social media accounts, @EUCouncil.

Finally, Miruna also jointly runs a blog called Apertis Verbis that provides valuable insights into the Language Services Industry.

Summary written by CTS students: Sophia Georgiou, David Gray, Emhua Guo, Jiaming Guo, Lauren Hughes, Luke James, Yunxuan Li, Katherine Nolde, and Chloe Stout.