EU Starts Machine Translating Press Content After ‘Little Housekeeping Announcement’

Eric Mamer, Chief Spokesperson of the European Commission EU Commission Machine Translation of Press Releases

During a press briefing on June 12, 2023, Eric Mamer, the European Commission (EC) spokesperson, announced the launch of a pilot program in which the EC will use its own “eTranslation” machine translation tool for the EC’s press corner.

Speaking to an audience of reporters, and introducing the news as “a little housekeeping announcement,” Mamer described the purpose of the tool and the program as a way to ensure “that you have access to translations of our press material in the language of your choice faster right from the moment of publication.”

The EC’s spokesperson added that the machine translation service is an intermediary step to speed up availability of content.

The pilot program will be conducted along with the Directorate General for Translation, and the eTranslation tool will be used while a human-produced translation is (eventually) available, or to provide translations in additional languages not offered before. 

Mamer assured the audience that “we will continue providing you with human-made professional translation of our press material, which will replace the machine translations as soon as they are available.”

On the EC’s press corner, a subsite of the EC’s portal where all communiques and announcements are posted, content is typically available in four languages (English, French, German, and Spanish).

Materials to be machine-translated immediately are related to the environment, marine affairs and fisheries, transport, and the new European bauhaus. The EC spokesperson explained that a disclaimer will appear at the top of an item’s page when users of the press corner get a machine-translated version of a piece of content.