European Commission translation quality management policy review

  • Joanna Drugan (Participant)

Impact: Public policy Impacts, Economic Impacts


The Directorate General for Translation at the European Commission is revising its internal policy on translation quality in the face of significant challenges, notably increased multilingualism (24 languages), rising demand for translation, budgetary pressures, and the impact of technologies on output quality.
The author of the revised policy, Ingemar Strandvik, based his work substantially on the research reported in my book, Quality in Professional Translation. He invited me to comment on the draft policy during autumn-winter 2015-16, then to report my research findings to translators and quality managers from the Commission and the Council when the new policy document was released (March 2016), to provide them with context and an enhanced understanding of the approach.
I met Mr Strandvik and another quality manager, Erkka Vuorinen, to review initial application of the policy, then ran a 2-hour plenary session for about 50 participants in Brussels, with about 40 following via videolink from Luxembourg. This was broadcast online under the Translation Forum series of events on 14 March 2016, and made available publicly at the link:
The following morning, I ran a hands-on workshop for the same cohort of staff, again live in Brussels and by videolink in Luxembourg, moderated by Head of the Staff Training Unit, Ildiko Faber. This second event was only for internal participants and focused on applying the research to real EU translated documents, to enhance understanding of how the research on translation quality can be applied effectively to participants' day-to-day decision making when translating.
Mr Strandvik and I had a further meeting to review both events and agree ongoing feedback from me as the policy is developed. Mr Strandvik and I also had a further meeting to discuss the policy's basis in research with Emeritus Professor of Linguistics Alan Melby (Brigham Young Uiversity, USA), who has now invited me to consult on the industry-sponsored MQM quality metric, which he coordinates in conjunction with several translation industry providers.

Who is affected

Translators, revisors, quality managers, unit heads - European Commission, European Council
Users of EU translated documents: citizens, elected representatives, staff of the Commission and Council, businesses and legal bodies accessing translated documents (e.g. Calls for Tenders, EU court documents), where quality is critical.
Impact statusOpen
Category of impactPublic policy Impacts, Economic Impacts
Impact levelAdoption


  • translation quality
  • translation quality management
  • translation quality policy
  • translation workflow
  • translation revision