The translation service

The institution’s legal translation service, with over 600 lawyer linguists, is responsible for translating the legal documents of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It ensures the smooth and efficient running of the Court’s judicial proceedings and the multilingual dissemination of the Court’s decisions, thus giving all EU citizens access to justice and case-law at a European level, whatever their language.

The service translates a wide variety of legal texts which vary according to a range of factors: nature of the case, subject area, document type (procedural documents, opinions of Advocates General, judgments, orders), language, style, length, legal background of the author, etc.

Working for the Court

Around one third of texts are translated by external collaborators (freelance translators). These can be natural or legal persons with which the institution enters into a contract, on the basis of strict confidentiality rules, and with which it maintains close working relations. Translations are expected to be of very high quality and freelancers receive appropriate support and assistance from the Court’s translation service in order to achieve this objective.

Flexible working arrangements

Freelance translators are free to choose where they work from since communication takes place remotely (through use of telephone, email and various internet platforms). In addition, freelancers can choose the amount of translation work they accept, in accordance with various deadlines, and therefore this form of collaboration can be carried out as a complementary activity, particularly by legal professionals.

Selection procedure

Freelance translators are selected by means of contract notices published in the Official Journal of the European Union. These contract notices, which cover a large number of language combinations, are permanent and remain open in order to allow new contractors to participate at any time. The persons selected on the basis of translation tests (which are completed at a distance) sign a framework contract with the Court.

Open market and permanent competition

Contractors are placed on a list where the classification depends both on the quality of the translation work, as assessed during the tests, and the competitiveness of the contractor’s asking rate. Contractors are regularly offered translation work on the basis of this classification, which is periodically reviewed according to the quality of the services provided, thus allowing new tenders to be taken into account.

The legal translation procurement procedure is open to competition on a permanent basis throughout its duration (48 months maximum), on the condition however that the maximum number of contractors for the lot concerned has not been reached (please see the relevant contract notice to find out the maximum number of contractors authorised for a given lot). Subject to that reservation, any natural or legal person may thus make a request to participate in an ongoing procurement procedure, since the Court regularly evaluates new requests to participate which it has received.