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under the patronage of Mrs Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the European Commission  
Home Programme Workshops Speakers Documents Useful information Event Report

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I


Workshop A: Language teaching: methods, good practice, experience

This panel will take a look at what it is that makes a difference in language teaching. What are the best ways to motivate different types of learners? How can language learning be made relevant and inspiring? How can it be put into practical use as early as possible?


Liuda Jovaišienė, Teaching children English, Lithuanian and Russian languages in London
Vilma Bačkiūtė, the Lithuanian Ministry of Science and Education
Francesco Mosetto, Juvenes Translatores winner, Italy
Susanne Bravo, Juvenes Translatores teacher, Germany
Ralf Rahders, European Commission's Executive Agency for Culture, Education and Audiovisual

The report from the European Commission's Survey on Language Competences in 2012 showed that the outcome of foreign language learning in Europe in general is disappointingly poor. Only four in ten pupils reach the ‘independent user’ level in the first foreign language. According to the most recent Eurobarometer on languages, almost half of Europeans report that they are unable to hold a conversation in any language other than their mother tongue. The secondary analysis of the survey points out factors that generally have a positive effect on the results of language learning. An early start, the use of the target language during lessons, number of hours taught and perceptions about the level of difficulty and the usefulness of the language are examples of what influences the outcome.

However, there are teachers and schools that manage to set standards of their own and go far beyond the mainstream teaching methods. There are pupils that discover a passion for learning languages very early in life and continue to develop their multilingual communication skills both inside and outside school. Through the consecutive funding programmes of the European Union, innovative language learning projects have been supported and promoted. For example, the translation contest "Juvenes Translatores" has brought teachers' attention to the importance of translation skills in consolidating the mother tongue and better understand the structure of languages by comparing and making bridges between source and target languages.

A recently completed study on the role of translation in the teaching of languages in the European Union has analysed the contribution of translation to language teaching. Translation is now felt to be a purpose-driven communicative activity.

With the "Rethinking Education"-strategy in 2012 the European Commission proposed a new European benchmark for language competences. For such an approach to generate real and lasting change and stimulate to better results we need to improve many things in our language classrooms and proliferate innovative teaching methods. How can we learn from success stories and make language teaching and learning more attractive?

Moderator: John Bayliss
Rapporteur: Kristina Cunningham


Workshop B: Languages for working opportunities

With youth unemployment rates reaching new staggering record levels, approaching a quarter of the new generation, Europe needs language competences that are useful in real life and match, in particular, labour market realities and needs. This applies for national and European labour markets, and the work of EU enterprises operating on an international scale. Poor language skills are a serious obstacle to professional opportunities abroad and in enterprises or organisations active at international level.


Mahamouda Salouhou, Professor of cultural diversity, leadership and international business, Director of ECLEE
Wolfgang Mackiewicz, Honorary Professor of English Philology at Freie Universität Berlin, President of the European Language Council
Audronė Ercienė, Head of the Office in Lithuania, Deutsch-Baltische Handelskammer in Estland, Lettland, Litauen
Edvinas Krungolcas, Lithuanian pentathlete. Silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics

In 2006, the Council of the European Union stated that “foreign language skills, as well as helping to foster mutual understanding between peoples, are a prerequisite for a mobile workforce and contribute to the competitiveness of the European Union economy.” Mobility in turn is essential to foster further language learning and improved intercultural skills – thus developing some extremely appreciated skills in today’s labour market.

Five years later a working group consisting of Government experts from Member States published a report entitled ‘Languages for Jobs,’ providing a compendium of good practices and guidelines for modernising education systems and reducing the mismatch between supply and demand of language competences. The group insists on the importance of raising the general level of language competences, broadening the range of languages taught, teaching dedicated content for professional purposes and improving the training of staff.

Can European enterprises distinguish themselves on world markets and compete more successfully with a multilingual workforce? Why are language skills important on the CV's of professional people in many fields and in particular young work seekers?

Moderator: John Wyles
Rapporteur: Sonia Peressini, European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture


Workshop C: The future of the language professions

This workshop will examine a dynamic labour market sector, which offers opportunities for language professionals in a large array of fields, including market intelligence, multilingual web communication and localisation.


Nijolė Maskaliūnienė, Vilnius University
Yves Gambier, Professor in Translation and Interpreting, University of Turku, Finland,
Kristijonas Kaikaris,  General Director of  „Microsoft Lietuva“
Helle Vrönning Dam, Professor at the Department of Business Communication  of Aarhus university,Denmark
Mirko Silvestrini, President of European Union of Associations of Translation companies

In 2009 a study on "The size of the language industry" was carried out for DGT. It was the first study to examine all sectors of the language industry, i.e. translation, interpretation, software localisation and website globalisation, language technology tool development, language teaching, consultancy in linguistic issues and organisation of international conferences with multilingual requirements. According to the study, the language sector is less affected by the economic crises than other sectors. The annual compounded growth rate of the industry was estimated at 10% minimum over the next few years, with an approximate value of 16,5 billion € in 2015.

The study also revealed that despite the dynamism of the sector, language professions are not very visible and recognised. Another study commissioned by DGT had a look at the reasons why this is so and examined closer the translation profession.

Question: how do universities prepare their students to this diversification of markets and professions?

Moderator: Jonas Öhman
Rapporteur: Arūnas Butkevičius, DGT Lithuanian language department head


Workshop D: Access to information

Translation and interpretation are crucial for democracy and for giving to all citizens, regardless of their origin and language skills, the opportunity to exercise their rights and to take an active part in the society. The workshop will emphasise the importance of ensuring access to multilingual information on European policies, examine the role of language professionals, especially those working for public services, look at practical examples and examine the perspective of the central language institutions in some of the EU Member States.


Bente Jacobsen, Aarhus University, Department of Business Communication
Maurizio Viezzi, University of Trieste
Julija Moskvina, Researcher of Labour and Social Research Institute

To enjoy your rights as a European citizen, you need to understand what is going on around you outside of a purely national context. In particular, you need to know how much a new piece of European legislation affects your professional or personal life, and to form your reasoned opinion about European policies, so that you are able to cast your vote or to take part in national or European elections. Access to information in your language is a necessary precondition, and language professionals working for European institutions are instrumental in guaranteeing this right.

Even if language services are delivered at a (reasonable) cost, are EU citizens still ready to bear it in exchange for enjoying these basic rights?

The workshop will also examine the 2010 Directive on the right to translation and interpretation, to which the SIGTIPS report brought a significant contribution.

Another important angle is the question 'information vs communication', i.e. the need for citizens not only to receive information but also to be able to react, comment and propose ideas, whatever the language of the conversation may be. In this respect, the role of machine translation and other tools facilitating real-time exchanges should be further explored.

Moderator: John Wyles
Rapporteur: Cristina De Preter


Workshop E: Training of operators

The roles of cultural and linguistic mediators are changing in tune with the increasing multicultural and multilingual societies we live in. People in key positions dealing with diversity in different situations need to be trained to deal with cultural sensitivities that sometimes go beyond linguistic difficulties.


Barry Tomalin, International House, Director of Cultural Training
Ligija Kaminskienė, Vilnius University, Department of Translation and Interpretation Studies
Ramunė Leonavičienė - sign language interpreter, Kaunas County Sign Language Interpreter Center.

Professional translators and interpreters are not merely language specialists but mainly inter-cultural mediators who deeply understand the ideas or feelings expressed behind the (written or spoken) words and know how to faithfully convey them to their target audience.

This delicate exercise requires deep cultural knowledge as well as analytical and communication skills which have to be developed during the training phase. Has the academic world devised suitable and efficient selection and teaching methods in order to facilitate the acquisition of these more practical professional skills by students?

As far as translation is concerned, a reference should be made to the European Master's in Translation (EMT) project promoted by European Commission, which includes the intercultural competence as one of the six core competences that translators need to have in order to work successfully on today's market.

Moderator: Jonas Öhman
Rapporteur: Agne Kazlauskaite, European Commission's Directorate General for Translation


Workshop F: Experiences from a decade of EU enlargement

Almost ten years have passed since the most massive enlargement in the history of the European Union, adding ten new Member States in one go. Following two subsequent enlargements, adding Croatia as the latest newcomer since 1 July 2013, it is time to take a look at the linguistic consequences of this rapid development.


Mirjana Polić-Bobić, University of Zagreb
Ivana Cenkova, Charles University in Prague
Miran Košuta, University of Trieste
Albina Auksoriūtė, Head of the Centre of Terminology at the Institute of the Lithuanian Language, President of the International Information Centre for Terminology (Infoterm).

Before the “2004 Big Bang”, many press articles had predicted that the European institutions would not cope with the integration of a flood of new official languages and that multilingualism was too costly and doomed to fail (“The end of Babel”)? Have these gloomy predictions have been proven wrong in the meantime, thanks to actions taken by the EU, such as a new translation strategy for the Commission, and if yes, by which means?

How have these the new languages been influenced by Europe-wide exposure and the risks contamination of by "euro-speak"?  Has the closer contact with other official languages prompted linguistic and or conceptual developments in the new official languages?

And have the new languages in turn influenced the euro-speak?

Moderator: John Bayliss
Rapporteur: Prof Wolfgang Mackiewicz, Freie Universität Berlin


Workshop G: Languages in social media

This workshop will examine the role of social media in collaborative language learning and the strategies to deal with multilingual communication in real-time situations (i.e. machine translation, intercomprehension etc.)


Dainius Radzevičius, President of Lithuanian journalists union, blogger.
Andras Kornai, Research scientist at Boston University, Automation Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Katarina Zourou, Sør-Trøndelag University College, Senior researcher in the field of computer supported collaborative language learning
Claudio Chiavetta, Lionbridge Belgium, Director Government-Business Europe

Is the share of English as great on the social media as many pretend? What is the share of contacts between members of the same language community, and of contacts between members of different language communities?

Do people (the young in particular) use foreign languages more freely on the social media than in other contexts? In other words, do social media facilitate the use of foreign languages?

Social media are a good way to improve learning by sharing information and ideas with other co-learners. Learning is reinforced by explaining to someone else what we found. This allows us to clarify our mental representations to ourselves. This is even better in a foreign language: communicating via social media force learners to use the written language as a mean, like in a CLIL environment.

Another aspect which would be worth exploring is how the presence of a variety of languages on social media enriches the intellectual debate with different cultural angles.


Moderator: John Wyles
Rapporteur: Pinuccia Contino, Head of Unit, European Commission's Directorate General for Translation


Workshop H: ICT for language learning

This workshop will examine the scope for innovative language teaching and learning methods exploiting the opportunities offered through ICT both in schools and in informal settings. How much has changed throughout the past decades and what expectations should we have?


Danguolė Rutkauskienė Head of E-learning technology centre, Kaunas Tecnological university
María Jesús Friglos Martin, CLIL for e-Generation
Peter Birch, Head of Sector, European Commission's Executive Agency for Culture, Education and Audiovisual
Vaidotas Valantiejus, Project Director of LOGIN

The new political initiative by the European Commission "Opening up Education" will be adopted at the time of the conference. It consists of a Communication and a Working Document with a thorough analysis of the situation across Europe.

Developments in the use of ICT and digital content have varied in the Member States. Many have recognized the potential impact of technology on education and many e-learning initiatives have been launched. However, initiatives have been fragmented and isolated; investments in infrastructure were often not accompanied by efforts to increase the capacity and motivation of teachers and learners to use it. For this reason, despite the large investments made, projects have rarely succeeded in moving from a pilot phase into mainstreaming.

This is certainly also true for language learning. Throughout the seven years of the  Lifelong Learning funding programme, the European Commission has supported a large array of initiatives within ICT-assisted language learning. Many of the funded projects have had considerable potential but only limited impact.

Past lessons show that merely introducing technology into classrooms is not enough. Only an integrated approach, where access to digital content, ICT infrastructure, the right level of digital skills, and the right organisational strategies are secured, can generate an educational offer able to sustain innovation

Moderator: John Bayliss
Rapporteur: Marie-Noëlle Lamy, Open University


Workshop I: Multilingual digital content

While worldwide investment in broadband and entrepreneurship is creating important business opportunities, the business potential for educational software and content in Europe remains largely untapped. There are several issues to examine in this context, such as copyright and the interests of publishing companies.


Sabine Kirchmeier-Andersen, Danish Language Council
Joseph Mariani, Institute for Multilingual and Multimedia Information, Paris
John Simpson, previously Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary
Tamás Váradi, Research Institute for Linguistics,  Hungarian Academy of Sciences

With its latest policy initiative "Opening up Education", the European Commission has examined to which extent digital technologies have changed the everyday life in class rooms across Europe. The analysis demonstrates that change is seriously lagging behind in comparison with the general development of technology in society.

The lack of multilingual digital content is shown to be one of the barriers to efficient use of open educational resources in education. The fact that the Anglo-Saxon world is leading the development in this field has so far had an adverse effect on the uptake of so called massive open online courses (MOOC's) in Europe.

However, there are initiatives and new developments in this field, that show the way into the future, where a much more systematic approach to sharing educational resources can be expected in all Member States. To what extent such content will be shared also between Member States in other languages than English remains to be seen.

Moderator: Jonas Öhman
Rapporteur: Andrejs Vasiljevs, Director of Tilde, SIA