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Ann De Wachter, linguistic assistant at the Dutch translation unit

My name is Ann, I am Belgian and I speak Dutch as mother tongue as well as English, French, Spanish and German. I joined the European Commission in 2003 with a temporary contract and became a permanent official in 2005. With good preparation and determination, passing an open competition is certainly not a mission impossible!

Working for the EU has been nothing but a positive experience. You work with enthusiastic, dedicated and competent colleagues. You can constantly develop your professional and personal skills through a large variety of courses. The institutions promote job mobility, so you can acquire experience in different positions throughout your career.

I worked in four different positions before I joined Directorate-General for Translation (DGT) Dutch language department as a linguistic assistant. I like the variety of my tasks and the independent way of working. I can put my language knowledge, eye for detail and practical approach to good use. Good word processing, prioritising and communication skills are also important, as well as a proactive attitude.

In my work for DGT, I deal with different types of texts related to all domains in which the EU is active. I will never forget the process leading to the Brexit-agreement. It took a whole team of translators and assistants to ensure timely delivery of the translations involved. International crises, such as the war in Ukraine, also have an impact on your work. Events like these, both foreseen and unexpected, show how much our work – that of assistants included – is subject to the ins and outs of EU-politics.

I also love working in an international and multicultural environment. When you walk through the building, you see posters and newspapers from different countries. In the elevator or cafeteria, you hear different languages. When you socialize with your colleagues, you learn a lot about their culture and habits. Even though my direct colleagues, from the Dutch language department, all speak Dutch as a mother tongue, comparisons between Flemish and Dutch from the Netherlands can lead to amusing and animated conversations.

Linguistic assistant at the Dutch translation unit at the European Commission (Directorate-General for Translation)