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 requests, so here we are ready to help you with some free resources. The competition we are talking about is the following INTERCULTURAL AND LANGUAGE PROFESSIONAL (AD5)- PE/272/TRAD
So you are willing to move to Luxembourg, and work as intercultural and language professionals. Wait, what the hell does a intercultural and language professional? Well, in a few words, a high specialized interpreter , in long see below
Now that we are on the good track, let’s clarify in which languages we are going to take the exams (adapted from the notice):
- language 1: Bulgarian, French, Maltese, Slovak or Swedish. Any of them with perfect knowledge at mother-tongue level;
- language 2: English or French, thorough knowledge (minimum C1 level); If your language 1 is French then your language 2 must be English;
- language 3: one of the 24 official languages of the EU -(minimum C1 level); NOT language 1, NOT language 2.
So you have more than 220 combinations to choose : BG-EN-ES ; BG-FR-IT; FR-EN-DE and so on….
ABOUT THE APPLICATION – What are the criteria to be a candidate?
The first thing that you should do is to read the application guide offered by the European Parliament, let’s assume you have read it but still are interested in reading our post :-). The criteria for being a candidate are :
- In this competition, the usual general criteria apply: Enjoy full rights as a citizen of one of the 27 Member States of the EU (UK is no longer an option), meet any obligations under national laws on military service, and meet the character requirements for the duties concerned.
- You are also required to hold a university degree of at least 3 years duration and the languages mentioned above. Better if it is a degree in relation with the tasks of the job.
- YAY! You don’t need any professional experience, this is an AD5 and you can be a fresh graduate from university to participate in this competition. Nevertheless, any professional experience you have acquired exclusively by working in your language 1 in the area covered by this competition would be an advantage.
What are the competition phases?
Based on the notice of competition + our experience we split the process in 3 phases: 1) fill in the application, 2) Talent Screener evaluation 3) the Assessment Centre. The celebration after you have passed the competition is up to you.
Phase 1 – Fill in the Application
You will need to upload the supporting documents required with the initial application
You’ve got until 25 August (17h) to send your application and before that, fill it in with love and care. This is the first step of the process, and the moment to differentiate yourself from the other candidates and all their experience (if any). Be careful! you will need to upload the supporting documents required with the initial application. Last but not least, remember the Talent evaluator is key … yes! the competition begins here!! (see in the gallery below the list of questions per field).
… (Wait! we are still in phase 1) What is a TALENT EVALUATOR? Well, do you remember the talent screener from regular EPSO competitions? It’s the same. The Talent Screener/evaluator is a set of questions related to your academic and professional background that you must answer in your application, you can find the questions at the end of the notice of competition. A couple of things to remember:
- The board of the competition is in charge of evaluating the answers
- Keep in mind that all candidates, independently of the languages chosen, answer the same questions
This way, the responses of all the candidates are structured in comparable manner, which allows the board to make an evaluation (as objective as such a type of test allows) of the compared merits of all the candidates. Remember to look at guide and the notice or the application form for all the details, and if you think we can be of help, check some of our past webinar where we focused on tips to fill in the Talent Screener for specialist competitions.
PHASE 2 – Test & Talent Screener evaluation.
First things first, all of you will face an initial test. You will be invited to take the pre-selection test in the form of a set of computer-based questionnaire of a maximum of 40 questions intended to assess your ability to identify information relating to the values of the European Union and the role of the European Parliament. According to the notice, you will be sent sample questions in good time prior to the date of the test to see what you have to pass and in the meantime, we can suggest you to study the European Parliament factsheets.
If you are among the best candidates in the test, they will take up to 150 highest-scoring candidates per language, then the selection board will assess your answers in the talent evaluator and admit the 60 best candidates per language of the competition to the written tests. We remind you that the selection based on qualifications will be carried out using solely the information provided in this Talent evaluation section (in language 2) WITHOUT cross-checking with the rest of your application. You should therefore include all relevant information in your answers, even if already mentioned in other sections of your application form. The best of all this is, after the evaluations, only up to 5 times the openings will go to the final test.
Phase 3 – Final Test.
Congrats! You are one of the candidates with the highest marks in the initial test and in the Talent evaluation and you have been invited to the final test.
Within this final phase, and we face 2 rounds. In the first round you will encounter 3 tests: Translation of a text connected with the legislative activities; Translation of a speech; Drafting test (see below for further detail)
Then, the 24 best out of 60 in the written part will go the oral test. It will consist in two interviews . First, typical field related interview for 45 minutes in languages 1 and 2 to assess your suitability to perform the duties outlined in the ‘Job description’ in a European institution, taking account of all the information contained in your application file (yes! they will use your application). After this a group discussion (if the exam is done in physical presence) or role-play (more aligned with online requirements) exercise in language 2 to enable the selection board to assess your adaptability, negotiating and decision-making skills and performance in a group. Once all this is done, you get a nice score and enter in the reserve list of this competition, congratulations!!!!!!
Wait… how can I pass all the tests you have mentioned above? Well, on the oral part of the competition, we can recommend you to check out our next training sessions for the Assessment Centre (for both Parliament and Commission competitions). If interested in more info, news and updates on EPSO competitions and our trainings to pass the them, you can join our Telegram channel and if just seeking some tips for the translation part, keep reading.
The Translation test – 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, 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 (+ breaks between exams) in front of your screen while working hard. Be sure you are in a good shape by them!
Three are the consecutive test will face
- Test A – Translation of a text connected with the legislative activities of the European Parliament from language 2 into language 1
- Test B –Translation of a speech or a notice intended for citizens from language 3 into language 1
- Test C – drafting of a clear-language text intended for citizens, in language 1, on the basis of a complex document in language 2. The objective of this test is to assess your knowledge of language 2 and your ability to identify essential ideas and summarise them in clear language in language 1..
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 that they have achieved the pass mark in all of the written tests (i.e. you can’t pass with 19/40 in one test -below passing mark even if you got a 40/40 in the other two tests, 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 . Time: 90 minutes for a text with a maximum of 450 words
A recommendation 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 . Time: 90 minutes for a text with a maximum of 450-500 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 to practice. 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) Drafting test: drafting of a clear-language text intended for citizens, in language 1, on the basis of a complex document in language 2. Maximum time allowed: 60 minutes
The objective of this test is to assess your knowledge of language 2 and your ability to identify essential ideas and summarise them in clear language in language 1, so 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 training sessions for the Assessment Centre (for both Parliament and Commission competitions).
How much will my salary be? (bonus question)
As they indicate right at the beginning of the notice, recruitment will be at grade AD 5, first step, for which the basic salary is EUR 5.130,98 per month. This salary is subject to Community tax and to the other deductions provided for by the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union. It is exempt from national tax. The step at which the successful candidates are recruited may be adjusted in accordance with their professional experience. Moreover, in certain circumstances allowances will be paid in addition to the basic salary.
Can you help me?
Let share some useful links for this competition and any other. First we can help you with the application (here more info). Also don’t forget our training for Assessment and our next webinar on this competition (use this form to get an invitation) .
List of useful resources
- El CBT o los test psicotécnicos (ES)
- The Assesment centre (EN)
- 10 free resources (EN/ES).
- YSE trainings
- YSE – youtube
- YSE – Telegram (info on vacancies, competitions and trainings)