Multilingualism and the EU
Vassiliou opened her speech highlighting the importance that respect for different languages has for the European Union and its democratic project. She added that it is this multilingual approach which makes the institution more easily accessible to citizens from a variety of countries who speak various different languages. She then stated that, regardless of the European Union as an institution, languages have always been a core part of Europe, making its culture strong and firm.
On Translators and Interpreters
Regarding language professionals, she highlighted that multilingual communication does not take place magically; multilingualism could never be a part of the European Union without the hard work and dedication of translators and interpreters, many of whom do not get recognised. Language professionals allow for international cooperation to take place, as well as work towards the development of a political world which regards multilingualism as a central part of it. Vassiliou did highlight the importance of language professionals’ life-long learning practices if they want to be able to keep up with the needs of different organisations. According to her, translators and interpreters now have to adapt to different technologies and methods constantly and modernise according to what the audiences expect of them.
The importance of Cooperation
Vassiliou noted that, because of the importance that languages have for the European political project, it is very important to be a part of the promotion of language-related professions. As an example, she mentioned the importance of the IMLADP because it helps linguists to exchange practices and fosters cooperation and innovation. She also mentioned the European Master’s in Translation and the European Master’s in Conference Interpreting, both of which were originally created to draw up a basis of needed skills that facilitate professionals’ access to jobs. Regarding universities, she said that cooperation between them and EU institutions is crucial to improve graduates’ employability.