The EU policy of language equality situates language at the core of the EU law-making process; however, the role of language in national law-making is often overlooked. Bearing this in mind, in our paper we seek to foreground the essential role that language plays in law-making both at the supranational and national levels in the EU context. To do so, we will unravel how language contributes to the production of EU directives and to their subsequent transposition into national law, and subsequently, we will use an EU directive and its transposition into British law to showcase how language impacts on the implementation of these instruments. Our findings show that language is not a mere tool in supranational and national law-making, but a vital part of it that needs to be considered to understand not only how law-making works, but more importantly, which factors may or may not contribute to a subsequent correct transposition.
Cite as: Ruiz-Cortés, JLL 8 (2019): 34–49, DOI: 10.14762/jll.2019.034
language, EU law-making, EU translation, directives, transposition, national law-making, vertical linguistic analysis
Elena Ruiz-Cortés, FHEA, holds a Translation and Interpreting BA degree, an MA in Immigration Law and an MA in Professional Translation specialising in Legal Translation. Currently she is concluding her doctoral research on Translation and Migration as a researcher of the AVANTI Research Group at the University of Granada (Spain). Elena has worked as Language Assistant in the UK and she has been a practising translator and an official sworn translator and interpreter of English-Spanish since 2013.
- Baaij, C. J. W. (2012). The EU policy on institutional multilingualism: Between principles and practicality. International Journal of Language & Law, 1, 14–32. DOI: 10.14762/jll.2012.014.
- Biel, Ł. (2007). Translation of multilingual EU law as a sub-genre of legal translation. In D. Kierzkowska (Ed.), Court Interpreting and Legal Translation in the Enlarged Europe, 144–163. Warsaw: Translegis.
- Biel, Ł. (2014). Lost in the Eurofog: The Textual Fit of Translated Law. Frankfurt am Mein: Peter Lang.
- Doczekalska, A. (2009). Drafting and interpretation of EU law: Paradoxes of legal multilingualism. In G. Grewendorf & M. Rathert (Eds.), Formal Linguistics and Law, 339–370. Berlin: de Gruyter. DOI: 10.1515/9783110218398.4.339.
- Felici, A. (2015). Translating EU legislation from a lingua franca: Advantages and disadvantages. In S. Šarčević (Ed.), Language and Culture in EU Law: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 123–140. Farnham: Ashgate.
- Frame, I. (2005). Linguistic oddities in European Union legislation: Don’t shoot the translator. Clarity – Journal of the International Association Promoting Plain Legal Language, 53, 21–24.
- Hanzl, J. & Beaven, J. (2017). Quality assurance at the Council of the EU’s Translation Service. In Svoboda, Biel & Łoboda (2017). DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1048196.
- Haverland, M. & Romeijn, M. (2007). Do Member States make European legislation work? Analysing the EU transposition deﬁcit. Public Administration, 85(3), 757–778. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9299.2007.00670.x.
- Kaeding, M. (2008). In search of better quality of EU regulations for prompt transposition: The Brussels perspective. European Law Journal, 14(5), 583–603. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0386.2008.00431.x.
- Koskinen, K. (2000). Institutional illusions: Translating in the EU Commission. The Translator, 6(1), 49–65. DOI: 10.1080/13556509.2000.10799055.
- Koskinen, K. (2001). How to research EU translation? Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, 9(4), 293–300. DOI: 10.1080/0907676X.2001.9961425.
- Koskinen, K. (2008). Translating Institutions: An Ethnographic Study of EU Translation. Manchester: St. Jerome.
- Garcimartín Alférez, F. J. (2018). The linguistic aspects in the negotiation of international texts: A personal experience. Paper presented at Eurolanguage in Private International Law: Legislating, Translating and Applying (University Rovira i Virgili, June 2018).
- Guggeis, M. (2014). The role of the Council lawyer-linguists in improving the formal quality of EU legislation. The Theory and Practice of Legislation, 2(3), 273–281. DOI: 10.5235/2050-88184.108.40.2063.
- McAuliffe, K. (2015). Translating ambiguity. The Journal of Comparative Law, 9(2), 49–71.
- Meunier, V. (2013). Ensuring quality and homogeneity of EU law in all language versions: Methods and tools (including drafting style guides). Paper presented at Erster Rechtslinguistischer Worshop Drafting and Translation in EU Law: Do They Work for a Common Goal? (University of Cologne, April 2013).
- Mori, L. (Ed.) (2018). Observing Eurolects: Corpus Analysis of Linguistic Variation in EU Law (Studies in Corpus Linguistics, 86). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. DOI: 10.1075/scl.86.
- Mousmouti, M. (2014). Effectiveness as an aspect of quality of EU legislation: Is it feasible? The Theory and Practice of Legislation, 2(3), 311–330. DOI: 10.5235/12050-88220.127.116.119.
- Pozzo, B. (2014). The myth of equivalence in legal translation. In B. Pasa & L. Morra (Eds.), Translating the CESL and Drafting the CESL. A Pragmatic Perspective, 29–46. Munich: Sellier European Law Publishers.
- Prechal, S. (1995). Directives in European Community Law: A Study of Directives and Their Enforcement in National Courts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Prieto Ramos, F. (2014). International and supranational law in translation: From multilingual lawmaking to adjudication. The Translator, 20(2), 313–331. DOI: 10.1080/13556509.2014.904080.
- Prieto Ramos, F. (Ed.) (2018). Institutional Translation for International Governance: Enhancing Quality in Multilingual Legal Communication. London: Bloomsbury. DOI: 10.5040/9781474292320.
- Robertson, C. (2010). LSP and EU legal language. In C. Heine & J. Engberg (Eds.), Reconceptualizing LSP. Online proceedings of the XVII European LSP Symposium 2009. Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University. Available at bcom.au.dk/fileadmin/www.asb.dk/isek/robertson.pdf (accessed 21 October 2019].
- Robertson, C. (2011). Multilingual legislation in the European Union: EU and national legislative-language styles and terminology. Research in Language, 9(1), 51–67. DOI: 10.2478/v10015-011-0011-3.
- Robertson, C. (2012). Translation in context: St Jerome and modern multilingual EU law. SYNAPS – A Journal of Professional Communication, 27, 16–30. Available at hdl.handle.net/11250/2393969.
- Robertson, C. (2015). EU multilingual law: Interfaces of law, language and culture. In S. Šarčević (Ed.), Language and Culture in EU Law: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 33–52. Farnham: Ashgate.
- Robertson, C. (2018). Legal-linguistic profiling as translation aid: The example of an EU agency. In F. Prieto Ramos (Ed.), Institutional Translation for International Governance: Enhancing Quality in Multilingual Legal Communication, 113–125. London: Bloomsbury. DOI: 10.5040/9781474292320.0017.
- Robinson, W. (2005). How the European Commission drafts legislation in 20 languages. Clarity – Journal of the International Association Promoting Plain Legal Language, 53, 4–10.
- Robinson, W. (2012). Drafting European Union Legislation. Available at europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/note/join/2012/462442/IPOL-JURI_NT(2012)462442_EN.pdf (accessed 21 October 2019].
- Robinson, W. (2014). Drafting EU legislation in the European Commission: A collaborative process. The Theory and Practice of Legislation, 2(3), 249–272. DOI: 10.5235/2050-8818.104.22.168.
- Ruiz-Cortés, E. (2019). Comparación de la traducción de recursos digitales en un procedimiento de extranjería en España y en el Reino Unido: un estudio de caso. [Comparison of the translation of digital materials in an immigration procedure in Spain and in the United Kingdom: A case study]. Revista de Llengua i Dret, Journal of Language and Law, 71, 223–237. DOI: 10.2436/rld.i71.2019.3245.
- Šarčević, S. (1997). New Approach to Legal Translation. The Hague: Kluwer.
- Šarčević, S. (2013). Multilingual lawmaking and legal (un)certainty in the European Union. International Journal of Law, Language & Discourse, 3(1), 1–29. Available in ijlld.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/volume %203.1%202013.pdf.
- Šarčević, S. (2014). Legal translation and legal certainty/uncertainty: From the DCFR to the CESL proposal. In B. Pasa & L. Morra (Eds.), Translating the CESL and Drafting the CESL. A Pragmatic Perspective, 47–70. Munich: Sellier European Law Publishers.
- Šarčević, S. (Ed.) (2015). Language and Culture in EU Law: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Farnham: Ashgate. DOI: 10.1556/084.2015.16.2.9.
- Šarčević, S. (2018). Challenges to legal translators in institutional settings. In F. Prieto Ramos (Ed.), Institutional Translation for International Governance: Enhancing Quality in Multilingual Legal Communication, 9–24. London: Bloomsbury. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199572120.013.0014.
- Shaw, J. & Miller, N. (2013). When legal worlds collide: An exploration of what happens when EU free movement law meets UK immigration law. European Law Review, 38(2), 1–34.
- Stefaniak, K. (2017). Terminology work in the European Commission: Ensuring high-quality translation in a multilingual environment. In Svoboda, Biel & Łoboda (2017). DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1048192.
- Svoboda, T., Biel, Ł., & Łoboda, K. (Eds.) (2017). Quality Aspects in Institutional Translation. Berlin: Language Science Press. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1048173.
- Svoboda, T. (2017). Translation manuals and style guides as quality assurance indicators: The case of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation. In Svoboda, Biel & Łoboda (2017). DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1048190.
- Steunenberg, B. (2007). A policy solution to the European Union’s transposition puzzle: Interaction of interests in different domestic arenas. West European Politics, 30(1), 23–49. DOI: 10.1080/01402380601019639.
- Strandvik, I. (2018). Towards a more structured approach to quality assurance: DGT’s quality journey. In F. Prieto Ramos (Ed.), Institutional Translation for International Governance: Enhancing Quality in Multilingual Legal Communication, 51–62. London: Bloomsbury. DOI: 10.5040/9781474292320.0013.
- Thomson, R. (2010). Opposition through the back door in the transposition of EU directives. European Union Politics, 11(4), 577–596. DOI: 10.1177/1465116510380283.
- Trklja, A. (2019). The impact of language on law-making and norm-making: JLL call for papers. International Journal of Language & Law, 8, 9–11. DOI: 10.14762/jll.2019.009.
- Wagner, E., Bech, S., & Martínez, J. M. (2002). Translating for the European Union Institutions (Translation Practices Explained). Manchester: St. Jerome.
- Zhelyazkova, A. & Torenvlied, R. (2011). The successful transposition of European provisions by member states: An application to the Framework Equality Directive. Journal of European Public Policy, 18(5), 690–708. DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2011.586799.
- Zhelyazkova, A., Kaya, C., & Schrama, R. (2018). When practice goes beyond legislators’ expectations: Analysis of practical implementation exceeding legal compliance with EU directives. Journal of Common Market Studies, 56(3), 520–538. DOI: 10.1111/jcms.12637.