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Colin D. Robertson: EU Legal Language, Translation and Terminology ...


Abstract: This paper aims to offer a series of snapshot viewpoints drawn from practical experience and use them as starting points to reflect on a range of topics that illustrate certain features and dimensions of EU law-making methods. Thus, EU legislative acts may be considered messages that are communicated, but also performative utterances. They are multilingual, according to EU treaties, which leads to several linguistic implications. EU legislative acts aim for singularity, are standardised as much as possible and are intended to have consequences within the national legal systems. EU legal meaning does not always align on linguistic meaning. EU language is a variant of the national language and can be analysed using “semiotic” methods. EU law is one out of several interlinked legal orders and EU legislative drafters take into account the fact that the legislative acts will be translated into EU national languages. In this respect, there are databases of documents and terminology resources that help translators carry out their task.

Keywords: EU legislative acts, EU legal language, EU law, translation, terminology, multilingualism, standardization


EU accession treaties:

EU legal acts:;

EU drafting:

Interinstitutional Style Guide:

Joint practical guide of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission for persons involved in the drafting of European Union legislation:

Manual of precedents for acts established within the Council of the European Union: (Can Romania be added?)

EU legal interpretation:

EU linguistic regime:

EU multilingualism:

EU terminology:

IATE (Interactive Terminology for Europe):

see also:


EU translation:

EU Commission DGT:

EU Court of Justice:

Translation Centre for Bodies of the EU:

see also:

Performative utterances:


Other sites:

Legislative Observatory:

Official website of the European Union:

The Court of Justice of the European Union:

Publications office of the European Union:

Van Gend en Loos, Case 26-62, judgment of 5 February 1962:

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