Celebrating interinstitutional cooperation with the launch of IATE 2

On 5 December 2018, the Translation Centre organised a high-profile event in Luxembourg to showcase the brand-new version of the EU terminology database IATE, which was enjoyed by around 300 people from various institutions who gathered to mark the occasion. The half-day event was also followed via live webstream by many interested members of the public.

In her opening speech, Máire Killoran, the Director of the Translation Centre, explained that the Centre had been managing IATE as project lead, on behalf of the other IATE partners, since its conception in the early days of 2000. The Centre has undertaken this task as part of its second mission, which is to strengthen interinstitutional cooperation (the first one being to provide translation services to the EU agencies and other EU bodies).

Rytis Martikonis, the Director-General for Translation at the European Commission and Chair of the Translation Centre’s Management Board, then retraced the history of the database and described its role among other interinstitutional linguistic tools. He emphasised the importance of terminology in interinstitutional cooperation and the added value represented by the accumulation of terminological knowledge across institutions.

Agnieszka Walter-Drop, the Director-General for Logistics and Interpretation for Conferences at the European Parliament and Chair of the Interinstitutional Committee for Translation and Interpretation, paid tribute to IATE as a flagship example of interinstitutional cooperation. She stressed that ‘cooperation has always been more productive in our lives than pure competition’, and invited her colleagues to continue with the intensive collaboration in the future. In her view, terminology handling will become even more creative, with expressions and sentence chunks being integrated into terminology (a popular wish among interpreters) and speech-to-text tools being used to gather terms.

Valter Mavrič, the Director-General for Translation at the European Parliament and Chair of the Executive Committee for Translation, presented IATE as a valuable resource for EU linguists. He mentioned two ‘spin-offs from the IATE mentality’, as he called them, namely the popular public website termcoord.eu managed by the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament and EurTerm, the interinstitutional terminology portal used by EU staff.

Minna Vuorio, the Director for Translation at the Council of the European Union, then addressed future developments for terminology work in the EU institutions. She suggested that the IATE terminology relevant for a particular translation project should be embedded in the job before translators start working, CAT tools should be looking up terms in IATE during the translation process and terminology should be shared in real-time with other translators working on the same document.

Finally, Paula Zorrilla-Agut, the IATE Tool Manager at the Translation Centre, presented an overview of the highlights of IATE 2. She revealed the new features for searches, data entry creation and other advanced functionalities, along with terminologists who were involved in the IATE 2 task force. She also interviewed members of the IATE Support and Development Team, who gave the audience an overview of the new technologies used and the efforts to ensure accessibility. A demo of the embedded screen reader technology for visually impaired users in IATE wowed participants.

A Q&A session followed the various speeches and presentations, which were moderated by Thierry Fontenelle, the Head of the Translation Centre’s Translation Department. He pointed out that terminology should not be seen as a cost, but rather as an investment with a view to improving quality and preserving multilingualism in our EU democracy.

In her closing speech, Máire Killoran pledged to ‘strive to multiply projects such as IATE, where all stakeholders work as one to produce results which will benefit EU institutions and EU citizens. There are so many areas that remain open to cooperation and that should be explored further through interinstitutional synergies.’


Useful information

·         Watch the video presenting the great new functionalities of IATE 2

·         The recordings of the IATE 2 launch event are available here:

o   Speeches

o   Overview of the IATE 2 highlights

o   Q&A