EU Legislative Texts and Translation

Authored by: Colin Robertson

The Ashgate Handbook of Legal Translation

Print publication date:  November  2014
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409469667
eBook ISBN: 9781315612706
Adobe ISBN: 9781317044239


 Download Chapter



The aim of this chapter is to provide information about the translation of European Union (EU) legislative texts. 2 The emphasis is mainly on the texts that are translated, but they are placed within a broader setting to reveal the precise legal and linguistic ambition of EU legislative texts, which has implications for choice of term and allocation of meaning. The voice is of a practitioner in legal-linguistic revision (lawyer-linguist) who has worked with EU legislative texts for many years, and there is an emphasis on legal and structural issues at the expense of more specifically language issues such as how to render particular words and sentences from language A to language B, C, or D. The reason is that such information is more widely available. Furthermore, if one is familiar with EU texts, their structure, styles and ambitions, as well as the tools for extracting and comparing documents, it becomes easier to address individual linguistic questions through comparative study of the many thousands of pages of EU acquis in each of the increasing number of EU languages. EU legislative texts are frequently hyper-complex and technical, and they aim at the highest levels of legal precision compatible with a multilingual and multicultural drafting environment shared between member states, which have diverse systems of law to be accommodated. The nodal point on which the EU arrangements turn is language and by extension drafting and translation, and EU legislative translation needs to be seen in that light. It is law-making for 27, and more, European states written in their languages. The translator does not usually think of her/himself as a drafter but with EU legislative texts it is translators who draft the language versions, from a source language, of legislative texts, which become legally operational and determining for the national legislative systems. Thus it is desirable from the outset to place the EU legislative translator, alongside the legislative drafter and the legal-linguistic reviser, as part of a combined multilingual EU legislative team.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.