Internal Rules of the Conference of Translation Services of European States (COTSOES)

The Member Services of the Conference of Translation Services of European States (hereinafter called "the Conference"), meeting at Madrid on 16 October 2008,

Based on the experience gained in the field of cooperation under the Rules of the Conference adopted at Bern on 19 October 1982,

Desiring to enhance their cooperation,

Have agreed to lay down the following Internal Rules of the Conference:

Article I - Aims and function

  1. The Conference shall work for effective cooperation among the central government translation, terminology and/or interpretation services of European States.
  2. To that end the Conference shall promote:
    (a) exchanges of information and experience in the field of translation, terminology, interpretation and of the relevant documentation;
    (b) mutual assistance in the field of translation, terminology, interpretation and the relevant documentation;
    (c) the coordination and implementation of programmes and projects relating to translation, terminology and interpretation;
    (d) cooperation in the field of professional training and in all other fields affecting translators, terminologists and interpreters in the public service.

Article II - Member Services

  1. Central government translation, terminology and/or interpretation services of European States, which were Member Services on 16 October 2008, shall be deemed to be Member Services.
  2. Central government translation, terminology and/or interpretation services of European States may apply to join the Conference as Member Services from the time these Internal Rules enter into force. To that end they shall make a written application for membership to the Presidency, which shall notify all Member Services of the application within two months of its receipt. The application shall be deemed to have been approved unless, within two months of notification by the Presidency, a Member Service has called for the application to be referred to the Assembly, which shall then take a decision.
  3. The Member Services undertake to cooperate to the best of their ability in furthering the aims of the Conference.
  4. The Member Services are listed in the Annex, which shall be updated by the Presidency on a regular basis.

Article III - Participating Services

The following bodies may apply to take part in the activities of the Conference, without being entitled to vote:

(a) central government translation, terminology and/or interpretation services of States outside Europe;

(b) translation, terminology and/or interpretation services of intergovernmental organizations.

Article II (2) and (4) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article IV - Organs

The organs of the Conference shall be the Assembly and the Presidency.

Article V - Assembly

  1. The Assembly shall be made up of delegates from the Member Services,, normally two from any one service.
  2. Each Participating Service may send a representative to sessions of the Assembly, who shall be entitled to put forward suggestions but shall not be entitled to vote. The Presidency shall decide which items of business are to be discussed by the Member Services only.
  3. The Assembly shall:
    (a) define the forms to be taken by the cooperation referred to in Article I;
    (b) adopt the recommendations of the Conference;
    (c) take decisions on the setting- up and terms of reference of working groups;
    (d) consider the reports and proposals presented to it by the working groups and Member Services;
    (e) consider the account of the activities of the Conference, prepared by the Presidency in accordance with Article VI (2) (e);
    (f) elect the incoming Presidency of the Conference and designate the following Presidency;
    (g) take any decisions concerning cooperation with other institutions pursuing similar aims.
  4. The Assembly shall meet every two years in ordinary session. It may meet in extraordinary session, either if it so decides or at the request of at least one third of the Member Services. In the latter event the venue for the session shall be fixed by the Presidency.
  5. Except as otherwise provided by these Internal Rules, decisions of the Assembly shall be taken by a double two-thirds majority of the Member Services present and voting and of the countries represented by them. Each Member Service shall have only one vote. Members who abstain from voting shall not be deemed to have voted.

Article VI - Presidency

  1. The Presidency of the Conference shall be held for a period of two years by the Member Service elected in accordance with Article V (3) (f), from 1 January following the end of the session of the Assembly by which it is elected. The outgoing Presidency shall render assistance to ensure continuity.
  2. The Presidency shall:
    (a) draw up the agenda for sessions of the Assembly;
    (b) organise and direct the activities of the Assembly, if need be with the assistance of another Member Service;
    (c) circulate the decisions and recommendations adopted by the Assembly;
    (d) circulate to the Member Services and Participating Services the reports and proposals of the working groups;
    (e) at the end of its term of office, prepare an account of the activities of the Conference;
    (f) perform to the best of its ability any other function assigned to it by the Assembly;
    (g) invite or agree to invite representatives of services or institutions other than Member Services or Participating Services, to attend the proceedings of the Assembly as observers. Observers shall not have the right to vote nor the possibility of putting forward suggestions;
    (h) archive on the website of the Conference all relevant documents arising during its term of office.

Article VII – Working groups

  1. The working groups shall be made up of voluntary representatives of Member Services and Participating Services.
  2. Each working group shall designate a chairperson and a vice-chairperson from among its members. It shall inform the Presidency thereof.
  3. Working groups may, if necessary, call in experts, provided that this does not entail costs for the Conference.
  4. Working groups shall report to the Assembly.

Article VIII - Archives

One of the Member Services shall have responsibility for the custody of all paper Conference documents from the inception of the Conference until the end of the Dutch Presidency in 2006. As of January 2007 documents shall be archived in digital form only on the website of the Conference.

Article IX - Languages

  1. The working languages of the Conference shall be English, French and German, in which languages the documents of the Conference shall be drawn up. During sessions of the Assembly the Presidency shall provide a summary of proceedings into any of those languages where this is necessary to enable delegates to follow proceedings.
  2. During the sessions, any participant may use his or her own language if that language is not a working language, on condition that he or she provides interpretation services, at his or her own expense, into at least one of the three working languages of the Conference.
  3. If a Service is unable to comply with the principles mentioned above with its own means, other Services shall provide assistance.

Article X - Cost of participation

The Member Services and Participating Services shall bear the cost of their participation in the activities of the Conference. Dues shall not be charged. There shall be no obligation to incur costs as a result of decisions or recommendations of the Conference.

Article XI - Amendments

  1. Any Member Service may propose an amendment to these Internal Rules. It shall send its proposal to the Presidency which shall in turn communicate it immediately to Member Services and Participating Services at least four months before the session of the Assembly at which it will be on the agenda. Any proposal to modify such an amendment must be communicated to Member Services and Participating Services two months before the session of the Assembly.
  2. Amendments entailing financial obligations must be adopted unanimously. Other amendments shall be adopted in accordance with the provisions of Article V (5). Amendments thus adopted shall enter into force two months after the Presidency has notified all Member Services and Participating Services hereof.

Article XII - Withdrawal

  1. Any Member Service or Participating Service may withdraw from the Conference after giving three months' notice in writing. The Presidency shall inform all Member Services and Participating Services hereof as soon as possible.
  2. Where the the Assembly observes that a Service:
    (a) has ceased all activities in the domains described in Article I, or
    (b) has failed to fulfil the obligations of its membership, particularly if it has not taken part in the activities of the Conference for four consecutive years;
    it shall ask the Presidency to invite this Service to decide whether it wishes to continue to take part in the activities of the Conference.
  3. If there is no response within three months or in the event of a negative response, this Service shall be deemed to have withdrawn from the Conference. The Assembly shall take official note of this withdrawal.
  4. The Assembly shall take a decision on the exclusion of a Service which during the subsequent two years has still not taken part in the activities of the Conference.

Article XIII- Dissolution

The Conference shall be dissolved if the number of countries represented by the Member Services falls below five. It may be dissolved at any time by a unanimous decision of the Member Services.

Article XIV – Final provisions

  1. The Rules of the Conference adopted at Bern on 19 October 1982 and its running register are hereby repealed.
  2. These Internal Rules are adopted by a double two-thirds majority of the Member Services present and voting and the countries they represent.
  3. They shall enter into force immediately.

Done at Madrid on 16 October 2008

in English, French and German, all three texts being equally authentic.