MyHEH: intervju z Ren├ęe Van Hoof-Haferkamp


Ms Ren├ęe Van Hoof-Haferkamp has played a huge role in founding the interpreting service at the European institutions. The interview with Ms Ren├ęe Van Hoof-Haferkamp is conducted by Valter Mavri─Ź, Director-General of the Directorate-General for Translation at the European Parliament and is available on Moja hi┼ía evropske zgodovine platform. Visit the website and share your story!

Intervju je del Pogled na prihodnost, ki ga oblikuje preteklost serija, ki jo je pripravila prevajalska slu┼żba Evropskega parlamenta.

Being surrounded by many important figures of the last century, Ren├ęe step by step shaped her professional identity, and her own story fascinates. Ren├ęe counted four languages in her linguistic repertoire when she started working as an interpreter: German, French, Italian and Dutch. However, her memories go far beyond the linguistic side of her life and include the founding fathers of the European Union. 

Jean Monnet ÔÇô the founding father of the European Union

Ren├ęe recalls how she started working under the direction of Jean Monnet, who was a true European. Jean Monnet actively cooperated with interpreters during the first union with Germany, and Ren├ęe was present during the official meetings. Her interpreter’s job, above all, consisted in understanding the objectives Mr Monnet had in mind. For instance, the interpreters visited collieries and steelworks ÔÇô places vital for European integration, as the integration process started with coal and steel.

Ren├ęe Van Hoof-Haferkamp at the castle of Val Duchesse

Being a witness to the Common Market negotiations, where the European reality was shaped, Ren├ęe reminds that there were many difficulties on the way to establishing a proper interpreting service at the European institutions. Shortage of interpreters, poor equipment and hard to understand negotiations ÔÇô 6 young interpreters of different backgrounds had to cope with these challenges at the castle of Val Duchesse and deliver high-quality interpreting. A typical day at Val Duchesse included supervision by someone who was always checking the consecutive interpreter’s speech.

Must-have skills of an interpreter

At the age of 22, Ren├ęe’s knowledge of several European languages opened for her the door to UNICEF. She proved that being at the right time at the right place can bring big success. She shared what qualities are needed to become a professional interpreter. Apart from excellent language skills, an interpreter must have broad general knowledge of different subjects: law, medicine, finance. Moreover, an interpreter must be very disciplined. 

Oglejte si videoposnetek interview with Ren├ęe Van Hoof-Haferkamp (na voljo v vseh 24 uradnih jezikih EU)!


My House of European History. 2021. Ren├ęe Van Hoof-Haferkamp: a pioneer of interpretation in the European institutions. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 2 August 2021].

Napisal jih je Olena Khomiakova, Schumanova enota za usklajevanje terminologije. Trenutno je vpisana kot magistrska ┼ítudentka iz u─Źenja in komunikacij v ve─Źjezi─Źnem in multikulturnem kontekstu na Univerzi v Luxembourgu.