Multilingualism at EU-OSHA

photo: Tom via pixabay.com

Multilingualism is a vital element of inclusive communication in the European Union and for any pan-European organisation. Making the information, analysis and tools that EU-OSHA develops available in multiple languages means that the Agency can reach more people.

Crossing language barriers

EU-OSHA works to spread its messages as widely as possible by bringing multilingualism into its everyday activities. It also participates in innovative projects in this area in collaboration with other EU organisations.

For EU-OSHA, multilingualism is both a fundamental principle to respect and a pragmatic choice that helps the Agency to carry out its mission.

EU-OSHA aims to think creatively and work in a cost-effective way to ensure that its activities are accessible to EU citizens regardless of the languages they speak. To give a few examples:

  • the Napo animated films are language-free and can be understood and enjoyed by all;
  • OiRA tools are available in many languages, and users can search for tools by language;
  • as part of the prize in the Healthy Workplaces Film Award, the winning film is offered to national focal points for subtitling in their languages.

Some of the materials EU-OSHA produces are available in 25 European languages. Others, such as some publications, are translated following requests from national focal points. The focal points play an active role in assessing the need for translations and monitoring their quality.

The EU-OSHA corporate website

Most of EU-OSHA corporate website content is multilingual; the main sections and all the highlights and news releases published on the corporate website are available in 25 languages.

In 2017, EU-OSHA together with the European Union Intellectual Property Office and the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union won the European Ombudsman Award for Good Administration in the category of Excellence in citizen/customer focused services delivery for their innovative work on a project to facilitate the translation management of multilingual websites.

The Healthy Workplaces Campaigns

The Healthy Workplaces Campaigns aim to raise awareness across Europe, reaching as many people and small businesses as possible. EU-OSHA thinks it’s important that the campaigns are inclusive, so the Agency has all the core campaign materials translated into 25 languages, including  the dedicated campaign website, which is the main repository of campaign related information and tools.The rest of the campaign materials and publications are offered for translation to the focal points, which can decide which ones they think will have the most value for them.

Helping to ensuring high-quality translations

EU-OSHA together with the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union (CdT) and the Publications Office of the European Union, implemented a project to update and expand their multilingual thesauruses of occupational safety and health (OSH) terminology. The aim was to help translators achieve consistent, accurate and up-to-date versions of OSH-related texts.

The multilingual thesaurus is now integrated with the EU-OSHA website content management system. It contains 2000 new terms with direct translations, definitions, references to sources and contexts, in IATE (the Interinstitutional Terminology Database of the European Union, maintained by CdT) and in EuroVoc (the Publications Office’s multilingual thesaurus). All translations have been revised by the Agency national focal points to ensure their accuracy.

The terms are used to tag publications and other type of content allowing searchers to find OSH data in an easier and more efficient way.

In the frame of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign, EU-OSHA has also prepared glossaries in particular areas of OSH knowledge. They can be found in the campaign website and in the relevant sections on the corporate website.