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The EEA’s role is to provide ‘timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policymaking agents and the public’. In line with the European Commission’s guidelines (Common Approach to EU Agencies) and the European Ombudsman’s recommendations for the EU administration, the EEA is committed to have as much information as possible available in European languages.
The main objective of translations is to make EEA information accessible and usable by a larger segment of the stakeholder groups and the public.
The EEA translation policy has the following objectives:
- make EEA information accessible to and usable by larger segments of target audiences;
- support multilingual content and information, as recommended for all EU institutions;
- optimise the use of available translation resources in view of user needs and actual use;
- ensure high quality.
What we translate
EEA outputs are drafted in English. Translation requests are decided on the basis of the availability of funds and the impact and relevance of the information for the target audience. Given that the EEA has limited resources for translations, priority is often given to texts which are targeting broader audiences (e.g. generic, non-technical content) or to texts with legal obligations. Several criteria are taken into account when deciding the content for translation and the target languages:
- legal requirements
- availability of funds
- whether it provides basic information about the EEA
- potential outreach impact on target audiences, determined by:
- accessibility of the original text and content (technical vs non-technical)
- messages in the original text and their relevance in member countries
- specific requests by member countries
- events (with policy makers or the public)
- possibility to use and reuse the same content in multiple formats (print-online; infographic-presentation).
This preference is based on the assumption that technical environmental experts are more likely to master English and able to access technical EEA knowledge.
The content might be translated into all or a selection of EEA languages, e.g. a news item where several countries are mentioned might be translated into the languages of those countries. The EEA content is translated not only to official EU languages, but also into Norwegian, Turkish and Icelandic given the respective country’s membership of the EEA network.
The most frequently translated EEA content are newsletter articles, press releases, infographics and webpages. With current available resources, the EEA provides content only in English through its social media channels.
Direct communication with the public
In accordance with Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, enquirers shall receive an answer to the questions addressed to the EEA in the language of the initial letter/email, provided this latter was written in one of the official languages of the European Union. In-house resources are used to offer this service.