LIT Search – Pilot project for an EU database of legal interpreters and translators

Under the Call for Proposals JUST/2013/JPEN/AG (Specific Programme “Criminal Justice” – 2007 to 2013) an application for a pilot project to set up an EU database of legal interpreters and translators was filed at the end of May 2013. The application was accepted in March 2014, became project JUST/2013/JPEN/AG/4556 and receives financial support from the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Commission Directorate General Justice. KU Leuven, Antwerp/Belgium, is the coordinator organization.

The following legal entities have joined the project as co-beneficiaries:

  • European Legal Interpreters and Translators Association (EULITA), Belgium
  • Bundesministerium für Justiz / Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ), Austria
  • Österreichischer Verband der allgemein beeideten und gerichtlich zertifizierten Dolmetscher / Austrian Association of Court Interpreters (ÖVGD), Austria
  • Ministry of Justice of Bulgaria, Bulgaria
  • Association of Interpreters and Translators (AIT), Bulgaria
  • Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic
  • Komora soudních tlumocniku Ceské republiky / Chamber of Court-Appointed Interpreters of the Czech Republic (KST CR), Czech Republic
  • InterConnect A/S, Denmark
  • Raad voor Rechtsbijstand, bureau WBTV / Bureau Legal Aid Board, Sworn Interpreters and Translators (WBTV), Netherlands
  • Nederlandse Beroepsvereniging Tolken Gebarentaal / Dutch Association of Sign Language Interpreters (NBTG), Netherlands
  • POLSKIE TOWARZYSTWO TŁUMACZY PRZYSIĘGŁYCH I SPECJALISTYCZNYCH / Polish Society of Sworn and Specialized Translators (TEPIS), Poland
  • Asociación Profesional de Traductores e Intérpretes Judiciales y Jurados (APTIJ), Spain
  • National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI), United Kingdom
  • Association of Police and Court Interpreters (APCI), United Kingdom

The following legal entities have joined the project as associate partners:

  • Union Nationale des Experts Traducteurs Interprètes près les Cours d’Appel (UNETICA), France
  • Dirección General de Relaciones con la Administración de Justicia, Spain
  • Kammarkollegiet, Sweden



General description of the LIT Search project:


Under the Stockholm Programme 2009 to 2013, which was adopted by the European Council and which is a roadmap for procedural safeguards in EU member states, a database of legal interpreters and translators is to be set up on the e-Justice portal. The “LIT Search” project is a pilot project to explore the modalities and practical features of such a database and eventually link up the countries participating in the pilot project.

Several countries have official registers based on admission examinations (for example Austria, Czech Republic, or Poland). The ministries of justice of these countries were invited to join the project as co-beneficiaries, as they have gathered experience in setting up and managing LIT registers. The professional associations in these countries were also invited to join the project as co-beneficiaries, as they can contribute their experience with the day-to-day operation of the official registers as well as with their own membership lists, and provide ideas about how to further develop the national registers and the EU database “LIT Search”. The independent National Register of Public Service Interpreters, United Kingdom, has also accepted to join the project as co-beneficiary.

Other countries have less developed registers (if, for example, the registers have not been updated for some time) or regional or specific registers (Bulgaria, Spain, for example) and want to benefit from the opportunity of the pilot project to re-launch or launch national registers so that they will eventually be in compliance with Article 6 of EU Directive 2010/64.

The Dutch register of sign-language interpreters is a special contributor to the pilot project, as this is a first time that sign-language interpreters will be included in a database for legal interpreters and translators. This move is intended as a response to Article 2 (3) of EU Directive 2010/64.

In the course of the pilot project several research sub-projects (= workstreams) such as, for example, a survey on current admission criteria to registers of legal interpreters and translators in EU member states, as well as admission procedures, register management, etc. are being conducted. In particular, the consortium partners describe their respective national systems governing legal interpreting and translation. The outcome of the research and the input from the presentations will serve to further develop a model template to assist other countries that may want to link up to the “LIT Search” database at a later stage.

At a launch conference in Antwerp in May 2014 the co-beneficiaries and associate partners discussed the general scope and activities of the project, defined the specific tasks and distributed them among the project partner.

In the meantime, three progress meetings have been held, i.e. in Vienna on 11 and 12 September 2014, in Prague on 27 and 28 November 2014, and in Madrid on 19 and 20 February 2015. Country reports were presented by Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic and Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. The Dutch report focused on sign-language interpreting and was complemented by input from efsli, the European Forum of Sign-Language Interpreting. At the fourth progress meeting, which will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 11 and 12 May, Bulgaria and France, perhaps also Sweden, will present their respective national situations. At a meeting in London in July the consortium partners will review the project report and the other project deliverables.

The final conference of the LIT Search project has been scheduled for 9 and 10 November 2015. It will again be hosted by the project coordinator, KU Leuven, in Antwerp. On that occasion the pilot database will be demonstrated.

The IT company has been working with the other project partners on defining the technical aspects of the pilot project. Moreover, the technical requirements for the inter-connection of the individual registers have been discussed. A first mock-up of the database was presented in Vienna. It was further developed in Prague, and more or less finalized in Madrid.

DG Justice has been following the project developments since the project launch, and arrangements for uploading the pilot database on the e-Justice portal were discussed at the Madrid meeting. The project team will now inform the e-Justice Working Group on the progress achieved to date with the pilot database, and it hopes that the pilot database can go live on the e-Justice portal soon after completion of the project.

For further information about the project please contact Liese Katschinka (

Liese Katschinka, President of EULITA on behalf of the
LIT Search Consortium

March 2015

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