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How Many Languages Does the European Commission Translator Know?

The European Commission translator knows 32 different languages – Ioannis Ikonomou, a Greek who is the commission’s translator as of 2014, is fluent in the European Commission’s 23 official languages of Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, and Swedish. Additional languages he is fluent include Arabic, Russian, Turkish, and Chinese. In fact, Ikonomou is the only translator entrusted with Chinese in the European Commission.

Although the European Commission has 23 official languages, its internal business is only conducted in three languages: English, French, and German.

More about languages:

  • There are approximately 7,000 total languages worldwide and an estimated one-quarter of the global population can speak at least some English.

  • The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most translated document in the world, with over 300 languages available, while the Holy Bible is the book that has been translated into the most languages: 2,454.

  • In the country of Luxembourg, 99% of people speak at least one foreign language.

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