Back in the day job, this afternoon, alongside my counterpart at the Committee of the Regions, Gerhard Stahl, I gave a short welcoming address to a meeting of all of the translation staff of the two Committees, who were holding a directorate meeting in order to address some of the common challenges they face. In a revolutionary and, to my mind, exemplary, arrangement the two Committees pool their resources in various areas in order to achieve synergies and economies of scale. Translation is one of those areas. My messages were simple. The work the translators do is vital – vital for the European Union’s cultural identity and indispensable for the work of our members, whether representatives of local and regional authorities or of civil society organisations. I brought my weekend’s experience to bear tangentially. Commendably, the translators set themselves exacting standards. Quite a few of them are, indeed, literary translators in their spare time. I recounted how on Saturday afternoon we had spent an inordinate amount of time with Adam Foulds pondering over the meaning of just one word in a William Morris poem. So I knew and saluted the importance of literary excellence. However, the most important aspect of translation for our members is not literary excellence but effective communication. It means constantly compromising between excellence and pragmatism, between deliberation and speed. It is often the way of our world.