EC - European Commission

Based in Brussels, the European Commission is the executive body of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and the general day-to-day running of the EU.

The Service

DG Interpretation (also known as “DG SCIC” informally) is the European Commission's interpreting and conference organisation service, providing interpreting not just for the Commission itself but also for the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and other EU bodies and agencies. The service provides interpretation for the 23 official languages of the EU and for non-EU languages as well, if necessary. On any given day, some 500 interpreters – both staff and freelance – will be working in some 60 meetings, in Brussels, all over Europe or indeed worldwide.


DG Interpretation employs over 500 permanent staff interpreters, organized in 23 interpretation units (one per language). The service also employs staff interpreters on temporary contracts for periods of two to six years, in order to respond to particular needs. In addition, 300 - 400 freelance interpreters are hired on a typical day. Whilst staff and temporary agents provide interpretation only into the official languages of the EU, freelance interpreters from other booths (e.g. Russian, Arabic or Chinese) are recruited as necessary. On average, around half of DG Interpretation's 100.000 interpreter days a year are provided by freelance interpreters.

Nature of the work

The work is extremely varied in nature, from highly technical working parties involving national experts to high-level political negotiations involving heads of state and government, ministers and diplomats. The subjects covered are equally diverse and follow closely the political and legislative priorities of the EU such as external relations, defense, finance, industry, justice and home affairs, agriculture and fisheries.


Permanent staff interpreters are recruited via open or internal competitions; for competition laureates the contract becomes permanent after a 9-month probationary period. Freelance interpreters have to pass an inter-institutional accreditation test, after which they can be recruited from the joint list used by DG Interpretation and the interpreting services of the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice. There are some 3.300 freelancers on the list.


The grade at which staff interpreters are recruited depends on the competition they take. All staff and temporary agents benefit from the European Commission pension and sickness insurance schemes. European Commission staff are entitled to other benefits such as child/dependent family member allowance, head of household allowance, help with school fees/places at the European Schools or an annual return trip to place of origin. Specific pension and sickness insurance provisions are in place for ACIs.


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Recommended citation format:
Staff Interpreters. "EC - European Commission". June 8, 2012. Accessed November 12, 2019. <>.

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