The Federal Chancellery’s English Language Service translates texts into English for many of the federal offices and agencies and for the Parliamentary Services.
English is increasingly important, but has no legal force
English is neither an official nor a national language of Switzerland, yet it plays an important role in our country. Just as the export industry, service sector and tourism would not be able to exist nowadays without using English, the Federal Council and Federal Administration increasingly need to be able to communicate and produce information in English in certain contexts.
More and more important legislative texts are being made available in English, although the English version does not have any legal force. The English Language Service in the Federal Chancellery is responsible for the English translation of legislative texts and for keeping existing English language versions of laws up to date.
As Switzerland is a European country with close ties to the European Union, the Federal Chancellery applies the conventions of British English, the exception being when correspondence or documents are specifically intended for a US audience.
Cooperation and Coordination
The English Language Service coordinates the network of English translators in the Federal Administration and regularly organises continuing education and training events.
In addition to translating and updating the English versions of legislative texts, the English Language Service also translates publications, speeches, webpages and regular publications such as The Swiss Confederation – A Brief Guide.
The Federal Chancellery also records terminology in English. The federal terminology database, TERMDAT, contains an increasing number of English entries and equivalents.
The English Language Service is part of the Terminology Section. All enquiries and translation assignments should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
As the English Language Service is a small team and serves a large number of clients, we usually operate at full or close to full capacity. It is therefore in everyone's interests to think ahead!
- Is there really an audience for your text in English? (Is the translation necessary?)
- Can I give the English Language Service advance notice of the translation?
- Is the text really ready to be sent for translation?
- Is the proposed deadline realistic?
Every assignment should be accompanied by the following information:
- Author or contact person
- Proposed deadline
- Context/target audience
- Relevant reference material including terminology, where available
Federal Chancellery Language Services and their activities
Useful links in English