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Machine translation of EC press releases

  2 min
Strojovy preklad tlačových správ EK

At a press briefing on 12.6.2023, European Commission spokesperson Eric Mamer announced the launch of a pilot programme for machine translation of the Commission’s press release.

The service will be provided by the EU’s in-house machine translation tool “eTranslation” and will not replace the work of translators.

eTranslation is a machine translation tool designed to make it easier for citizens to access information about the EU in their favourite language. It allows automatic translation of texts or parts of texts, as well as whole documents, into all 24 official EU languages.

Immediate availability

This decision follows the current evolution of the global information services environment, which has undergone a fundamental revolution thanks to the web and the use of social networks. In an increasingly interconnected and digitised world, news is disseminated much more quickly than in the past, allowing for continuous updates on a minute-by-minute basis.

This increasing speed, for example, has caused newsrooms around the world to open their own digital portals and social channels through which they can reach users with every breaking news story.

Immediate availability of information has become paramount and it is out of this need that the EU’s programme for immediate automatic translation of Commission reports was born.

The materials to be immediately machine-translated concern the environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, transport and the new European Bauhaus.

EU and machine translation

The use of the eTranslation system will thus be intended for the immediate translation of the print overview in languages for which the output of a professional translator is not yet available. As Mamer himself said, “We will continue to provide professional human translation of our press materials, which will replace machine translation as soon as it is available.”

In practice, machine translation will fill the time gap between the published content and its translation by a qualified linguist.

This information is routinely available on the European Commission’s portal, which can be viewed in the Press Corner section of the EC’s official website, in four European languages, namely English, German, French and Spanish.

Machine translations will thus cover the gap that would be left by waiting for a qualified translator to work, while also extending the coverage of the EC languages.


Finally, due to the unreliability of machine translation, content translated by the eTranslation system will be marked with a disclaimer intended to alert users to the possible inaccuracy of what they have just read.

The role of the human translator is not questioned by the authorities. Professionals will have the final say in order to guarantee the highest quality, accuracy and reliability of the translated texts.

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