Cover of the Highlights of the Year 2021 Report

The EU motto ‘United in diversity’ has always been a source of inspiration for the Translation Centre, given its multicultural working environment. In 2021, the combination of teleworking and on-site working added an extra layer of diversity but this turned out very well, despite the pandemic. We achieved 641 970 translated pages and capitalised on the Transformation Plan 2019-2020 by launching new services and innovative projects for our 69 clients.

Since the Centre’s establishment in 1994, we have translated over 14 million pages, both into and from the 24 official EU languages and also a number of non-EU languages, covering over 800 language pairs in total. In 2021, we delivered almost 370 000 translated pages of documents to our clients and almost 275 000 translated pages of EU trade marks to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). This means that, for the second year in a row, the volume of document pages exceeded that of trade marks.

In addition to translation, other services included terminology and audiovisual services. We spent a little more than 500 person-days on terminology work and translated almost 60 000 term list entries. We delivered three times more minutes of subtitling (4 520 minutes) than in previous years and started offering both full and automatic transcription services to our clients. For all our language services, we are fully committed to on-time delivery, and in 2021 we met our deadlines in 99.9% of cases, with only a 3% renegotiation rate

Our Transformation Plan conducted in 2019-2020 paved the way for notable innovations in 2021. We exploited the potential of neural machine translation and speech-to-text technologies to offer new added-value services to our clients. One highlight was the tailored, secure on-site machine translation solution agreed on with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) and the Commission’s Directorate General for Translation (DGT). Another promising pilot project was the summarisation of documents followed by translation undertaken for the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction Agency (EMCDDA), which might lead to a fully-fledged new service in 2022.

On behalf of our interinstitutional partners, we continued to manage and develop the EU database IATE (Interactive Terminology for Europe). This is a key terminology database not only for language professionals, but also for national experts, policy advisers, public administrations, academics and private sector companies. In 2021, a total of six IATE releases were completed, implementing new features to support users. As part of other interinstitutional cooperation we organised an interagency workshop on multilingualism and took an active part in the European Commission’s conference ‘Clear Writing for Europe 2021’. We also presented eCdT (our translation workflow management system that has been fully developed in house) to several translation services of the EU institutions.

We launched several online internal communication initiatives to keep staff informed and motivated during the pandemic. For example, online Coffee ‘n’ learn sessions were an opportunity for staff members to share knowledge with colleagues about topics of their choice (e.g. data protection, quality management, translation workflow, social media, HR matters, etc.). The aim was to strengthen cohesion during the period when staff could not meet in person.  

All in all, we can look back on a very successful year. Please feel free to find out more in our Highlights of the Year 2021 Report.