Katja Virtanen

Katja Virtanen

Interpreting during the EU Presidency

interpreter and interpreting

Finland’s third EU Presidency began on 1 July 2019. For Finns, the most visible signs of the EU Presidency might be the various informal ministerial meetings and other events and occasions. One of the EU’s fundamental principles is multilingualism and, as a result, the EU Presidency, which rotates among the EU Member States every six months in a certain order, means an increased workload for language professionals, too.

The EU has a total of 24 official languages, although the actual working languages are often only English, French and German. For instance, the meetings of the European Council and the Council of the European Union are interpreted into all official languages and, at the sessions of the European Parliament, the MEPs are entitled to use any of the EU’s official languages.

During its EU Presidency, Finland will organise numerous meetings with interpreting services. Although Finland’s Presidency focuses on climate and environmental issues, and the number of meetings has been reduced from earlier Presidencies, the number of meetings and related events to be organised in Finland is still approximately 130. All the meetings will be arranged in one city, Helsinki, whereas previously they were held in 21 different locations.

Delingua will contribute to interpreting services

The majority of interpreting during the EU Presidency is ordered from the EU Commission’s interpreting services according to the standard practice. However, Delingua has the privilege of providing interpreting services for a substantial number of meetings during Finland’s Presidency. Our interpreters work at the parliamentary meetings organised by the Parliament of Finland and at several specialist meetings and conferences organised by the different ministries. The annual conferences of many European organisations are also arranged in Finland due to the EU Presidency. 

In practice, during Finland’s EU Presidency, the meetings will be chaired by a Finnish minister, a committee chair or an official, depending on the event. In nearly all the meetings during the Presidency for which Delingua will arrange interpreting, the language selection will include at least English and French, and often also Finnish, German, Italian and Spanish.


The key to conference interpreting

Conference interpreting is an art in itself, as is interpreting politicians. Highly skilled simultaneous interpreters prepare for each meeting carefully by familiarising themselves with the topic of the meeting, topical themes and the presentations on the agenda. High-quality interpreting requires not only a professional interpreter but also thorough preparation. This is the key to conference interpreting.

Don't forget interpreters!

If you are organising a meeting and need conference interpreting services this year, don’t delay in booking interpreters. English-into-French interpreters are especially in high demand, but other interpreters are also gradually filling their calendars.

Persons chairing meetings and preparing presentations should also bear interpreters in mind. The speech to be interpreted should have a clear and simple structure and the interpreters should be provided with the presentation in advance. This means the interpreters have time to look into the terms and content they may not be familiar with and successfully convey these to listeners at the event. 

However, despite all the hassle that the EU Presidency brings, it’s a relief to know that there’s no need to worry about your own language skills. You can rest assured that the interpreting will be handled professionally.