Belgium, for a small country of nearly 11 million inhabitants, sure carries a lot of intrigue! Despite its small size, the country has three official languages – Dutch, French and German. And there’s more to it than that even! The country is divided into three regions and three “communities”, with some overlap between them. The regions are: Flanders (Dutch speaking), Wallonia (French speaking) and Brussels-capital (Bilingual).
In Belgium, decision-making powers do not lie exclusively with the federal government or parliament. Instead, there are multiple governing bodies which exercise autonomic power. Quite puzzling, isn’t it? Perhaps yes, but this linguistic diversity is exactly what makes Belgium a fertile ground for developing a translation market.
Translators, communication experts in multiple languages
It may be surprising to learn that people living in the same country do not have a single common language to communicate in. But this is the reality in Belgium. Further, not all Belgians are bilingual, let alone trilingual. This is where translators and interpreters come in. It is they who facilitate communication within this small country challenged by huge linguistic divides which have grown wider over time.
Brussels, capital of the European Union
Beyond the country’s diverse linguistic landscape, there is yet another springboard for translators and interpreters in Belgium. As you probably already know, Brussels is the political capital of the 28. This means it is home to most of the European Union institutions, including the European Commission and Parliament, and the Council of Ministers.
On a daily basis, these institutions attract a multitude of foreigners who flock to the capital to attend various types of events. Our linguistic experts serve as ambassadors for them, facilitating multilingual communication. They are at the heart of the plethora of international exchanges taking place in Brussels.
Brussels, headquarters for numerous international organizations
In addition to the above-mentioned European institutions, many international organizations also have headquarters in the capital. These include offices of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and WCO (World Customs Organization), for example. Others organizations have at least major offices in Brussels, such as the UN, UNESCO, WHO (World Health Organization) and the ILO (International Labor Organization).
Due to their international character, these organizations bring together people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. This makes Brussels a veritable hub for multilingual communication and, consequently, for translation and interpretation.
Belgium, a strategic place
All these reasons encourage translators and interpreters from around the world to join this flourishing market in the land of beer and chocolate. Many see it as a good opportunity for the future. They are trying to find a place where competitiveness is ripe in the translation market. Translators and interpreters … you know what your next stop should be!