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Why is the party leader debate interpreted into English?

Published onsdag 11 oktober kl 09.20
Maria Elgstrand: It started as a service to the diplomatic corps
(3:06 min)
Woman facing the camera in front of an old door.
Maria Elgstrand, head of the international department of the Swedish Parliament. Credit: Ulla Engberg/Sveriges Radio

Approximately five times per year, the Swedish parliament provides live English interpretation from the chamber of the Riksdag.

Maria Elgstrand, head of the international department of the Swedish parliament, says this is part of their work to be open and accessible.

"We want as many listeners as possible, and it is important for everyone to get access to the political life of Sweden," she told Radio Sweden.

The English interpretation is provided at the party leader debate three times per year, but also during the foreign policy debate in the spring, and the ceremonial opening of the parliamentary session in September.

"It started as a service to the diplomatic corps, but as we introduced more and more information on our website, we found that there was a demand for this. So then we also opened up for live interpretation on the website."

There are no available figures as to how many people actually listen to the English interpretation, but some 50 diplomats are usually present in parliament at these sessions, listening in. The cost of interpreting one party leader debate is approximately SEK 35,000, according to the Riksdag press office.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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