Use of Latvian as EU language discussed

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On 9 November 2018, the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the eleventh annual conference entitled “The Latvian Language in the European Union: Language as the main translation tool, aspect and value”, at which translation professionals and experts from other areas discussed the role of the Latvian language in the EU, the ministry said in a press release.

The conference was opened by Solveiga Silkalna, Under-Secretary of State for European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who underlined the importance of reinforcing the position of Latvian as an official EU language. She also thanked all representatives of EU translation services, experts from Latvian public institutions, linguists and teachers for their contribution to the strengthening of the Latvian language.   

Silkalna highlighted some areas crucial for the development of the Latvian language: opportunities offered by new technologies, terminology development, and learning Latvian as a foreign language. “We should seek ways to adapt to new technologies,” she said, drawing the attention of language experts and opinion leaders to a European scale project being jointly implemented by Latvia and the other EU Member States – the Citizens’ Dialogue on the Future of Europe.

Andris Kužnieks, Acting Head of the European Commission Representation in Latvia, noted, also referring to the dialogue in his opening address: “It did not seem that people do not care about the EU’s future. People associate Europe with security.”

Addressing the issue of Latvian as an official language of the EU, Mareks Kovaļevskis, Head of the Latvian Language Department at the EU Directorate-General for Translation, and Inese Maccallum, Head of the Latvian Language Unit at the Translation Service of the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, underlined: “It is difficult to sell Europe in Europe and, to that aim, we must adapt to the current developments.”

It was decided to devote the next year’s conference to the future of the translator’s profession under what the ministry called "the rapidly changing techno-political reality."

The conference was organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation in association with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Language Center, and the European Commission Representation in Latvia.


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