Archives 2011-2012 — Key Initiative 5: Multilingualism Programme

A multilingual IFLA website opens windows to the world


As a worldwide organisation IFLA deals with many and large cultural differences, most prominently languages. The 7 IFLA languages are: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, Spanish. IFLA language centres, IFLA regional offices and individual IFLA members take care of translating much of IFLA’s documentation and web contents. The current IFLA website is available in English. Having the content of IFLA’s website available in as many languages as possible, helps to reduce the language barriers and gaps in relation to IFLA’s work. The availability of electronic translation tools would improve IFLA’s multilingualism a great deal.

Full text of Key Initiative 5


At its August 2011 Meeting the IFLA Governing Board set up a Working Group to enhance IFLA’s multilingualism.  The Multilingualism Working Group consists of:

  • Chair: Barbara Lison, Germany
  • Ingrid Bon, Netherlands
  • Genevieve Clavel, Switzerland
  • Felipe Martinez, Mexico
  • Tone Moseid, Norway
  • Pascal Sanz, France (Governing Board Member 2007-2011)
  • Web & IT Manager, IFLA HQ


  • Develop the structure of the IFLA website to allow for all of the non-English IFLA working languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Russian and Spanish and use of electronic translation tools;
  • Investigate opportunities for increasing translations of key IFLA documents and simultaneous interpretation at the IFLA Congress in all IFLA languages;
  • Revise the IFLA translation structure to develop a proper translation workflow for continuing maintenance of the multilingual IFLA website.

Key Priorities 2012

  • To have key parts of the IFLA website available in French and Spanish, up and running in parallel with the English website, by the beginning of December 2012.
  • To have key parts of the IFLA website available in Arabic, Chinese, German and Russian, up and running in parallel with the English website, during 2013 and 2014.
  • To have the first implementation steps of a reviewed model for Simultaneous Interpretation in place at the 2013 IFLA Congress.

    Some of the additional topics the Multilingualism Working Group is planning to deal with are:

    • Advice on the multilingual approach in the IFLA Publishing Programme that is currently under revision;
    • Development of a translation policy to handle translations in the Professional Programme
    • Advice on multilingualism in the IFLA discussion lists

    The Working Group on Multilingualism meets 3 times per year during the Governing Board weeks and regularly through Skype for teleconferences.

    Last update: 3 September 2014