Jan 13 2005

EU Faces Soaring Translation Bill

Published by at January 13, 2005 5:05 pm under Interpretation,Translation

The European Union’s bill for translation will have to balloon by nearly 60 percent to over 1 billion euros a year to prevent the bloc from turning into a Tower of Babel after its eastward enlargement.

The European Commission said the annual cost of written translation was expected to grow to 807 million euros in the next few years from 549 million in 2003, when Brussels institutions already translated a staggering 1.3 million pages.

Expenditure for oral interpretation of 50-60 meetings held each day in Brussels is forecast to increase to 238 million euros a year from 105 million euros once the EU’s expansion to 25 from 15 members last May is fully digested.

The EU executive said the soaring bill was the price for ensuring a level playing field for all EU citizens, whose number grew to 453 million from 375 million.

The EU’s total budget is 105 billion euros this year, or about 1 percent of the bloc’s gross national income.

The number of official languages increased to 20 from 11 with the EU’s enlargement into mainly ex-communist eastern Europe. Bulgaria and Romania are set to join in 2007 or 2008, bringing two more languages into the club.

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