Guide to practice(for free) the translation test of the European Parliament Language Professional competitions

Dear all,

Some of you asked for advice on the Parliament competitions and how to handle the translation test, and of course we couldn’t ignore those request, so here we are ready to help you with some free resources. The competitions we are talking about are the following:

Yes, the competitions are for this one

Both competitions will take place at the same time and will be evaluated with the same type of tests, so let’s give you some tips to pass them with honors. Before we continue, we should remember the languages in which we are taking the exams (adapted from the notice):

  • language 1: English;
  • language 2:  one of the 24 official languages of the EU; NOT English;
  • language 3: one of the 24 official languages of the EU; NOT English, NOT language 2. .

What is key?

Hard work. There are no shortcuts for this test. You need to master the vocabulary and writing style of the institution, particularly the Parliament (here a couple of examples: first example, second example-any of these reports). This means that you will have to master two levels of the language: formal or legal language and plain language, which should be understood by someone who doesn’t know anything about the EU (like this) .

Also, to bear in mind that the tests will be held online and in principle all on the same day, so it’s good if you are ready to spend 240 min in front of your screen while working hard. Be sure you are in a good shape by them!

The test

Three are the consecutive test will face

so, all the 3 tests (a,b,c) count equally and we can’t falter
  • Test A – Translation of a text connected with the legislative activities of the European Parliament from language 2 into language 1 (English)
  • Test B -Translation of a speech or a notice intended for citizens from language 3 into language 1 (English)
  • Test C – Adaptation of a text into clear language: on the basis of a complex document written in language 2, draft a new text, in language 1 (English), which reflects the content of the original but in a style and register that make the gist of the text clear to citizens.

Let’s go now test by test. We need to do well in all 3 of them, as only if we get the passing mark in test A will our test B will be reviewed, and so happens for B with C. The 20 candidates who obtain the highest number of points in the written tests (A+B+C) will be invited to the oral tests, provided they have achieved the pass mark in all of the written tests (ie you can’t pass with 19/40 in one test -below passing mark even if you got a 40/40 in the other two test, but you can pass with 20/40 in each test if 60 points is among the 20 highest scores), which are:

(a)     Translation of a text connected with the legislative activities of the European Parliament from language 2 into language 1 (English). Time  90 minutes for a text with a maximum of 450 words

A nice proposal would be to practice with the Reform of the European Ombudsman’s Statute, you can divide it in two parts (it’s longer than 450 words) and you have it in Spanish ; French ;Italian ; German . Another example available in the 24 official languages are the Factsheets of the European Parliament as they cover a wide list of subjects and allow you to practice with some legal & policy terms. This test just implies translation, so any document from the institutions officially translated to our language 2 can help us as practice.

(b)     Translation of a speech or a notice intended for citizens from language 3 into language 1 (English). Time  90 minutes for a text with a maximum of 450 words

Now it’s time for speeches, or similar documents presenting a less technical language than in the previous test. Here any official speech of the President of the Parliament could work. If your language 3 is French or Italian, you can use European Parliament’s president site to practice. Moreover, of course, we can’t forget about the State of the Union 2021 (which you have it in the 24 official languages), or any SOTEU speech from previous years (here for instance 2020 and 2018). Finally, the documents about the Political priorities of the Commission or other similar documents can also help you practice for test B.

(c)     Adaptation of a text into clear language: on the basis of a complex document written in language 2, draft a new text, in language 1 (English), which reflects the content of the original but in a style and register that make the gist of the text clear to citizens. Maximum time allowed: 60 minutes

Consider it as a token for good luck

This is a tricky one, you need a complex document to practice. But what is considered to be a complex document? Something technical or on a subject not often seen in the media. For example, we propose the following report “The Use of SLAPPs to Silence Journalists, NGOs and Civil Society” from the European Parliament think tank. You can divide it into two parts, (the first from page 12 to 31 and the second from page 33 to 51), summarize each part, and then check your summary with the executive summary in ES, IT,FR , DE. Still, it is good if you can use even a more plain English when doing the summary. Another option would be the press release about any policy or political proposal, like this one for projects to decarbonise the economy

That is it for now! All the best to all the candidates who will be reading this post and also to those who just came here just out of curiosity. We really hope it will be useful for you.

If you liked this post or considered it useful, don’t forget to click on «like». If interested in more info, news and updates on EPSO competitions and our trainings to pass the them, you can  join our Telegram channel or check or register for our next trainig sessions for the Assessment Centre (for both Parliament and Commission competitions).

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