When this series was made in the early 1990’s, the European Community (now called the European Union) had 12 members, as opposed to 28 now. There were nine “official” languages then, today the EU has 24. But the fundamental principle of respect for language diversity has not changed. The more than 500 million people of the European Union today speak over 40 languages, including several world languages spoken on other continents as well as minority languages spoken only by tiny groups. Armies of translators, interpreters, and terminologists are employed to assure language diversity. It is a costly process but considered to be an essential part of European democracy, and every member of the European Parliament has the right to address the assembly in his or her own language.
Produced and presented by Marijke van der Meer. Recorded September 4, 1991