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The Challenges of Legal Translation in Multilingual Contexts

Valentina Jacometti


The increasing multilateralism in international relations has led to the spreading of the principle of official multilingualism within the international and supranational organizations, which involves the need to produce legal texts in multiple languages. This paper aims to highlight the features of multilingual legal drafting within different contexts: first, within national legal systems, such as Canada and Switzerland; second, within international organizations, with particular attention to multilingual treaties and taking as paradigmatic example the United Nations’ activity; and third, within the European Union, highlighting the complexity of the multilingual legislative drafting in view of the independent, multilingual and directly applicable nature of EU law. These contexts are profoundly different in various ways, such as the reasons and the legal basis of multilingualism and the criteria and methods of drafting, adopting and interpreting multilingual legal texts.


co-drafting; international and supranational organizations; legal translation; multilingual legal drafting; multilingual states.

Full Text:



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/lcm-2020-001-jaco

Copyright (©) 2020 Valentina Jacometti – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

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Lingue Culture Mediazioni - Languages Cultures Mediation
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Dipartimento di Lingue, Letterature, Culture e Mediazioni  
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Section Managers: Maria Matilde Benzoni, Università degli Studi di Milano (Modern history) - Paola Cotta Ramusino, Università degli Studi di Milano (Russian linguistics and translation) - Mario de Benedittis, Università degli Studi di Milano (Sociology) - Kim Grego Università degli Studi di Milano (English linguistics and translation) - Giovanna Mapelli, Università degli Studi di Milano (Spanish linguistics and translation) - Bettina Mottura, University of Milan (Chinese studies) - Mauro Giacomo Novelli, Università degli Studi di Milano (Contemporary Italian literature and culture) - Letizia Osti, Università degli Studi di Milano (Arab studies) - Maria Cristina Paganoni, Università degli Studi di Milano (English linguistics and translation) - Giuseppe Sergio, Università degli Studi di Milano (Italian linguistics) - Virginia Sica, Università degli Studi di Milano (Japanese studies)

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