Translation in
law: part two
26 May 2008
EU: drafting legislation in 23
български (Bălgarski) - BG
- Bulgarian
Čeština - CS – Czech
Dansk - DA - Danish
Deutsch - DE - German
Eesti - ET - Estonian
Elinika - EL - Greek
English - EN
Español - ES - Spanish
Français - FR - French
Gaeilge - GA - Irish
Italiano - IT - Italian
Latviesu valoda - LV - Latvian
Lietuviu kalba - LT Lithuanian
Magyar - HU - Hungarian
Malti - MT - Maltese
Nederlands - NL - Dutch
Polski - PL - Polish
Português - PT - Portuguese
Română - RO - Romanian
Slovenčina - SK – Slovak
Slovenščina - SL - Slovene
Suomi - FI - Finnish
Svenska - SV - Swedish
Pragmatic solutions for the
Tower of Babel
“Some institutions have opted for a single internal
working language: French for the European Court
of Justice, English for the European Central Bank,
for example. The European Commission has a
policy of using three languages for internal
purposes: English, French and German. In practice,
French and English are the main languages of
internal communication and drafting. Formerly
French enjoyed a clear predominance but in recent
years the balance has shifted and now within the
Commission most drafting is done in English”.
How the Commission drafts
Step 1—First draft written by technical
The first drafts are generally written not by lawyers
but by technical experts such as economists or
Drafters must write in either English or French. So
most write in a foreign language, and it is harder
for them to write exactly what they want to say.
One result is a tendency for drafters to follow
precedents. Unfortunately the precedents chosen
may not be best suited to the new circumstances.
Step 2—Consultation within the
The preliminary draft is then submitted to the other
Commission departments.
The Commission’s Legal Service has to be consulted
on all draft legislation.
The Commission’s legal revisers, who all have dual
legal and language qualifications, will examine it for
compliance with the rules on form and presentation
of legislation: far-reaching changes can be
suggested if the legal revisers believe them
Generally the Legal Service’s suggestions must be
followed although it does not have the power to
block a text altogether.
Step 3—Translation into the
other official languages
The text must then be translated into all the official
languages by the Translation Directorate-General,
before formal adoption by the Commission.
The legal revisers may have another opportunity to
revise the text but they must confine themselves to
correcting formal or terminological errors and
ensuring that the legal scope is exactly the same in
the different language versions.
The Commission’s proposal is then submitted to the
European Parliament and the Council, where it
passes through those institutions’ internal preadoption procedures.
A unique feature of EU legislation is that it exists in
23 language versions, each of which has equal
But each text passes through various stages and at
each stage mistakes may creep in. A term used in
one language may lead to misunderstanding in
However, the positive side of this complex
procedure is that mistakes or lack of clarity or
consistency in the original are often brought to light
by the translation process and corrected.
EU legislation becomes more complex because it
has to deal with many different cultures and
divergent local conditions. The animal health rules
contain many examples.
Taking account of multiculturalism is a dynamic
process since local conditions are evolving at
different speeds in different countries. For example,
marriage has generally been regarded as an
institution with common core features across the
EU. Since the introduction of same-sex marriages in
the Netherlands, however, some people there find it
is no longer enough to say they are married but
feel it necessary to specify the sex of their partner.
Steps taken to improve drafting
On 22 December 1998 the institutions
adopted an Interinstitutional Agreement
setting out 22 guidelines for drafting:
draft in clear, simple and precise terms;
think of the addressees;
keep sentences and provisions short;
use plain language; be consistent both
within one act and between acts in the
same field.
How (un)readable is the EU
“I think the greatest mistake was to make the
Constitution unreadable. I bet there's no more than
a dozen people who have read every page of it and
even those with a lot of suffering”
“A constitution should be readable and accessible to
the population. It should not be a document of 480
pages, with some 400 more pages of appendixes
and declarations. That's really crazy”.
The most common words
cultural, religious and
humanist inheritance of
Europe, from which have
developed the universal
values of the inviolable and
inalienable rights of the
human person, freedom,
democracy, equality and the
rule of law,
ISPIRANDOSI alle eredità
umanistiche dell'Europa, da
cui si sono
sviluppati i
valori universali dei diritti
inviolabili e inalienabili della
persona, della libertà, della
dell'uguaglianza, e dello
Stato di diritto;
experiences, intends to
continue along the path of
civilisation, progress and
prosperity, for the good of
all its inhabitants, including
the weakest and most
deprived; that it wishes to
remain a continent open to
culture, learning and social
progress; and that it wishes
to deepen the democratic
and transparent nature of
its public life, and to strive
for peace, justice and
solidarity throughout the
world (…);
CONVINTI che l'Europa, ormai
riunificata dopo esperienze
dolorose, intende avanzare
sulla via della civiltà, del
prosperità per il bene di
compresi i più deboli e
aperto alla cultura, al
sapere e al progresso
approfondire il carattere
democratico e trasparente
operare a favore della
pace, della giustizia e della
solidarietà nel mondo (…);
CONVINCED that, thus
"United in diversity",
Europe offers them the
pursuing, with due
regard for the rights of
each individual and in
awareness of their
responsibilities towards
future generations and
the Earth, the great
venture which makes
of it a special area of
human hope,
CERTI che, «Unita nella
diversità», l'Europa offre ai
suoi popoli le migliori
possibilità di proseguire, nel
consapevolezza delle loro
responsabilità nei confronti
delle generazioni future e
della Terra, la grande
avventura che fa di essa
uno spazio privilegiato della
speranza umana;
EU Constitution 2004
The Union's objectives
1. The Union's aim is to
promote peace, its values
and the well-being of its
2. The Union shall offer its
citizens an area of freedom,
security and justice without
internal frontiers, and an
internal market where
competition is free and
Obiettivi dell'Unione
1. L'Unione si prefigge di
promuovere la pace, i suoi
valori e il benessere dei suoi
2. L'Unione offre ai suoi
cittadini uno spazio di
libertà, sicurezza e giustizia
senza frontiere interne e un
mercato interno nel quale la
concorrenza è libera e non
è falsata.
3. The Union shall
work for the
development of Europe
based on balanced
economic growth and
price stability, a highly
competitive social
market economy,
aiming at full
employment and social
progress, and a high
level of protection and
improvement of the
quality of the
3. L'Unione si adopera
per lo sviluppo
sostenibile dell'Europa,
basato su una crescita
economica equilibrata
e sulla stabilità dei
prezzi, su un'economia
sociale di mercato
competitiva, che mira
alla piena occupazione
e al progresso sociale,
e su un elevato livello
di tutela e di
miglioramento della
qualità dell'ambiente.
It shall promote
scientific and
technological advance.
It shall combat social
exclusion and
discrimination, and shall
promote social justice
and protection, equality
between women and
men, solidarity between
generations and
protection of the rights
of the child.
It shall promote
economic, social and
territorial cohesion, and
solidarity among
Member States. It shall
respect its rich cultural
and linguistic diversity,
and shall ensure that
Europe's cultural
heritage is safeguarded
and enhanced.
Essa promuove il
progresso scientifico e
L'Unione combatte
l'esclusione sociale e le
discriminazioni e
promuove la giustizia e
la protezione sociali, la
parità tra donne e
uomini, la solidarietà tra
le generazioni e la tutela
dei diritti del minore.
Essa promuove la
coesione economica,
sociale e territoriale, e la
solidarietà tra gli Stati
Essa rispetta la
ricchezza della sua
diversità culturale e
linguistica e vigila sulla
salvaguardia e sullo
sviluppo del patrimonio
culturale europeo.
4. In its relations with the
wider world, the Union
shall uphold and promote
its values and interests. It
shall contribute to peace,
security, the sustainable
development of the Earth,
solidarity and mutual
respect among peoples,
free and fair trade,
eradication of poverty and
the protection of human
rights, in particular the
rights of the child, as well
as to the strict observance
and the development of
international law, including
respect for the principles of
the United Nations Charter.
5. The Union shall pursue
its objectives by
appropriate means
commensurate with the
competences which are
conferred upon it in the
4. Nelle relazioni con il
resto del mondo l'Unione
afferma e promuove i suoi
valori e interessi.
Contribuisce alla pace, alla
sicurezza, allo sviluppo
sostenibile della Terra, alla
solidarietà e al rispetto
reciproco tra i popoli, al
commercio libero ed equo,
all'eliminazione della
povertà e alla tutela dei
diritti umani, in particolare
dei diritti del minore, e alla
rigorosa osservanza e allo
sviluppo del diritto
internazionale, in
particolare al rispetto dei
principi della Carta delle
Nazioni Unite.
5. L'Unione persegue i suoi
obiettivi con i mezzi
appropriati, in ragione
delle competenze che le
sono attribuite nella
pursuant to
conformemente a
without prejudice to
fatto salvo
in conformity with (the procedure)
secondo (le procedure)
by way of derogation from
in deroga a
mutatis mutandis
in camera
inter alia
in law or in fact
mutatis mutandis
a porte chiuse
tra l’altro
numero legale
de jure o de facto
EC Commission Regulation no.
103/2008 of 4 February
2008 approving nonminor amendments to
the specification for a
name entered in the
register of protected
designations of origin
and protected
geographical indications
— Mozzarella di Bufala
Campana (PDO)
103/2008 DELLA
febbraio 2008 recante
approvazione delle
modifiche non
secondarie del
disciplinare di una
registrata nel registro
delle denominazioni
d’origine protette e delle
indicazioni geografiche
protette — Mozzarella di
Bufala Campana (DOP)
Having regard to the
Treaty establishing the
European Community,
Having regard to
Council Regulation (EC)
No 510/2006 of 20
March 2006 on the
protection of
indications and
designations of origin
for agricultural
products and
foodstuffs, and in
particular the first
subparagraph of Article
7(4) thereof,
visto il trattato che
istituisce la Comunità
visto il regolamento
(CE) n. 510/2006 del
Consiglio, del 20 marzo
2006, relativo alla
protezione delle
indicazioni geografiche
e delle denominazioni
d’origine dei prodotti
agricoli e alimentari, in
particolare l’articolo 7,
paragrafo 4, primo
(1) In accordance with
the first subparagraph
of Article 9(1), and in
application of Article
17(2) of Regulation
(EC) No 510/2006, the
Commission has
examined Italy’s
application for the
approval of
amendments to the
specification of the
protected designation
of origin ‘Mozzarella di
Bufala Campana’
registered on the basis
of Commission
Regulation (EC) No
considerando quanto
(1) A norma dell’articolo
9, paragrafo 1, primo
comma, e in applicazione
dell’articolo 17, paragrafo
2, del regolamento (CE)
n. 510/2006, la
Commissione ha
esaminato la domanda
dell’Italia relativa
all’approvazione di
modifiche del disciplinare
della denominazione
d’origine protetta
«Mozzarella di Bufala
Campana», registrata
con il regolamento (CE)
n. 1107/96 della
(2) As the amendments
in question were not
found to be minor within
the meaning of Article 9
of Regulation (EC) No
510/2006, the
Commission published
the application for
amendments in the
Official Journal of the
European Union, in
application of the first
subparagraph of Article
6(2) of that Regulation.
As no objections were
notified to the
Commission under
Article 7 of Regulation
(EC) No 510/2006, the
amendments should be
(2) Trattandosi di
modifiche non secondarie
ai sensi dell’articolo 9 del
regolamento (CE) n.
510/2006, la Commissione
ha pubblicato la domanda
di modifica nella Gazzetta
ufficiale dell’Unione
europea, secondo quanto
disposto all’articolo 6,
paragrafo 2, primo comma,
del suddetto regolamento.
Poiché non è stata
notificata alla Commissione
alcuna dichiarazione di
opposizione, a norma
dell’articolo 7 del
regolamento (CE) n.
510/2006, le modifiche
devono essere approvate,
Article 1
The amendments to the
specification published in the
This Regulation shall enter
into force on the 20th day
following its publication in
the Official Journal of the
European Union. This
Regulation shall be binding in
its entirety and directly
applicable in all Member
Done at Brussels, 4 February
Le modifiche del disciplinare
pubblicate nella Gazzetta
concernenti la denominazione
che figura nell’allegato del
presente regolamento sono
the name in the Annex to
this Regulation are hereby
Article 2
Articolo 1
ufficiale dell’Unione europea
Official Journal of the
European Union regarding
Articolo 2
Il presente regolamento entra
in vigore il ventesimo giorno
successivo alla pubblicazione
nella Gazzetta ufficiale
dell’Unione europea. Il
presente regolamento è
obbligatorio in tutti i suoi
elementi e direttamente
applicabile in ciascuno degli
Stati membri.
Fatto a Bruxelles, il 4 febbraio
The language of the Law of
The wordiness resulting from the influence
of the English case law system is particularly
noticeable in the Law of Contract.
Perseverance of outdated ritualism, much
contested by the Plain Language movement.
“If the parties omit something from the
contract, they cannot rely on the courts to
insert it later … under common law the
terms of a contract are always interpreted
literally and narrowly”.
Boilerplate is any text that can be reused
in new contexts or applications without
being changed much from the original.
Many computer programmers often use the
term boilerplate code. A legal boilerplate is a
standard provision in a contract.
Boilerplate = le clausole standard
(ricorrenti) che si trovano in un contratto
Modello di contratto di
distribuzione per l’estero
Garanzia per vizi dei
1 Il Fornitore si impegna a
porre rimedio a qualsiasi
difetto di conformità (vizio)
dei Prodotti a lui imputabile,
verificatosi entro
ventiquattro mesi dalla
consegna dei Prodotti al
Distributore, purché tale
difetto di conformità gli si
stato notificato
tempestivamente in
conformità all'art. 2. In tal
caso il Fornitore
provvederà, a sua scelta,
alla sostituzione o
riparazione dei Prodotti (o
parti di essi) risultati
Warranty for defects of
the Products
1 The Supplier undertakes
to remedy any nonconformity (defect) of the
Products for which he is
liable, occurring within
twenty-four months from
delivery of the Products to
the Distributor, provided he
has been notified timely
(promptly) about such (a)
defect according to Article
2. In such (a) case the
Supplier will, at his choice,
either replace or repair the
Products (or parts of the
Products) which result (turn
out) to be defective.
2 Eventuali reclami relativi
allo stato dell'imballo,
quantità o caratteristiche
esteriori dei Prodotti (vizi
apparenti), dovranno essere
notificati al Fornitore per
iscritto, a pena di
decadenza, entro 15 giorni
dalla data di ricevimento dei
Prodotti. Eventuali reclami
relativi a difetti non
individuabili mediante un
diligente controllo al
momento del ricevimento
(vizi occulti) dovranno
essere notificati al
Fornitore, a pena di
decadenza, entro 15 giorni
dalla data della scoperta del
difetto. Il reclamo dovrà
specificare con precisione il
difetto riscontrato ed i
Prodotti cui esso si riferisce.
2 Any complaints
concerning the conditions
of packing, quantity or
outward features of the
Products (apparent
defects) must be notified
to the Supplier in writing
within 15 days from receipt
of the Products; failing
such notification the
Purchaser‘s right to claim
the above defects will be
forfeited. Any complaints
relating to defects which
cannot be discovered on
the basis of a careful
inspection upon receipt
(hidden defects) must be
notified to the Supplier in
writing within 15 days
from discovery of the
defect; failing such
notification the Purchaser's
right to claim the above
defects will be forfeited.
The notice must indicate
precisely the defect and
the Products to which it
General Terms and Conditions of Purchase
Carl Zeiss Optronics GmbH
1 General
1.1 Any of the Supplier's terms differing from or
supplementary to these General Terms and
Conditions of Purchase shall not be binding for the
Purchaser, even if the Purchaser does not expressly
contradict or if the Supplier declares that he wishes
to supply only on the basis of his own terms.
1.2 Orders, the acknowledgment of orders and any
amendments and additions shall be made in
writing. Any verbal agreements made on the
conclusion of the contract shall only be valid if
confirmed in writing by the Purchaser.
1.3 If the Supplier does not acknowledge an order
within 14 days, the Purchaser shall be entitled to
withdraw his order.

Translation in law: Part two