According to a report in Tuesday’s Saarbrücker Zeitung newspaper, the Bundestag has had to send over a hundred important EU documents back in this legislative period alone, because its committee members could not work out what they were supposed to say.
Some EU documents are now seen as a “consultation obstacle” – and this at a time when parliamentarians across Europe are fighting to tackle Europe’s debt crisis.
The flawed translations have apparently slowed the work of the interior, finance, budgetary, economic, and defence committees in the German parliament. The paper also says that German versions of the documents are sometimes missing altogether.
The problem has apparently been a long-term one. Gunther Krichbaum, chairman of the Bundestag’s Europe committee, told the paper that the European Commission had been promising a new “translation strategy” for a long time, “but nothing has happened.”
Stefan Ruppert, domestic policy spokesman for the Free Democratic Party (FDP), added, “There are just more and more of [the bad translations].”
Bundestag MPs are to discuss the problem on Thursday, and are expected to recommend that the government demand that the EU Commission allocate sufficient resources to make better translations.
The European Union currently works in 23 languages, with thousands of officials devoted to translating documents – at a cost of several hundred million euros a year.