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Friday, September 22, 2023

650 headphones, 12 interpreters and a technical cost of 53,500 euros until the end of the year

Congress is preparing to hold, for the first time in its history, a plenary session in which it is allowed to speak in Galician, Basque and Catalan. In this Tuesday’s plenary session, the reform of the Chamber’s regulations will be discussed to protect the use of these co-official languages ​​in all parliamentary debates, but this week interventions will be allowed in the four languages. And that will cost Congress—that is, the taxpayer— 53,500 euros until the end of the year, plus the bill for the interpreters, which cannot be broken down yet because it will depend on the sessions held until 2024.

Specifically, the Lower House will make available to the 350 deputies, as well as their workers, parliamentary journalists and the public attending the sessions – among whom this Tuesday will be the leader of ERC, Oriol Junqueras – a total of 650 single-ear headphones, through which the simultaneous translation service can be heard for deputies who decide to speak in a language other than Spanish. Congress will use 200 headphones that it had already purchased, and parliamentary sources confirm that the other 450 have already been purchased in recent days. The total cost of this purchase amounts to 7,600 euros.

This amount will be paid in one go and will not have to be paid again, since the headphones will become the property of Congress. On the contrary, the technical system for receiving the translation—the transmitters, known in slang as flasks, wiring, etc.—will be rented between now and the end of the year, with a view to, already in 2024, making a purchase to establish a definitive system. During the last three months of the year, The cost of renting these systems will be 45,900 eurosan amount that includes the maintenance service and replacement of the material in case of breakdown.

The acting Minister of the Presidency, Relations with the Cortes and Democratic Memory, Félix Bolaños, in an archive image.

Congress, on the other hand, It does not detail what the cost of hiring interpreters will be. during the next three months to carry out the translation during the next three months, until the final system is launched. Parliamentary sources do detail, however, that the Lower House has contacted 12 approved translators who already work in the Senate, where for years it has been allowed in some sessions to use the four official languages. These 12 interpreters will be the ones who work in Congress, although not all at the same time: some or others will be called depending on the session.

These self-employed workers will be paid for their work by the hour, and parliamentary sources argue that it is still impossible to make an estimate of how much their services will cost the taxpayer because it is still unknown how many plenary sessions there will be between now and the end of the year, as well as how many commissions they will require. translation and how many interpreters will be needed for each session. In this first multilingual session on Tuesday There will be six translators present: two for each co-official language.

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