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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.

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

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Lingue Culture Mediazioni - Languages Cultures Mediation
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (27/11/2013 n. 380)
Online ISSN 2421-0293 - Print ISSN 2284-1881

Dipartimento di Scienze della Mediazione Linguistica e di Studi Interculturali
Università degli Studi di Milano

Editors-in-Chief: Paola Catenaccio, Giuliana Garzone
Editors:  Marina Brambilla, Luigi Bruti Liberati, Maria Vittoria Calvi, Gabriella Cartago, Lidia De Michelis, Dino Gavinelli, Marie-Christine Jullion, Alessandra Lavagnino, Chiara Molinari, Giovanni Turchetta.
Sub-Editors: Maria Matilde Benzoni, Paola Cotta Ramusino, Mario De Benedittis, Kim Grego, Giovanna Mapelli, Fabio Mollica, Bettina Marta Mottura, Mauro Giacomo Novelli, Letizia Osti, Maria Cristina Paganoni, Giuseppe Sergio, Virginia Sica, Nicoletta Vallorani.
International Advisory Board: James Archibald (Translation Studies) - Hugo de Burgh (Chinese Media Studies) - Kristen Brustad (Arabic Linguistics) - Daniel Coste (French Language) - Luciano Curreri (Italian Literature) - Claudio Di Meola (German Linguistics) - Donatella Dolcini (Hindi Studies) - Johann Drumbl (German Linguistics) - Denis Ferraris (Italian Literature) - Lawrence Grossberg (Cultural Studies) - Stephen Gundle (Film and Television Studies) - Tsuchiya Junji (Sociology) - John McLeod (Post-colonial Studies) - Estrella Montolío Durán (Spanish Language) - Silvia Morgana (Italian Linguistics) - Samir Marzouki (Translation, Cultural Relations) - Mbare Ngom (Post-Colonial Literatures) - Christiane Nord (Translation Studies) - Roberto Perin (History) - Giovanni Rovere (Italian Linguistics) - Lara Ryazanova-Clarke (Russian Studies) - Shi-Xu (Discourse and Cultural Studies) - Srikant Sarangi (Discourse analysis) - Françoise Sabban, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine (Chinese Studies) - Itala Vivan (Cultural Studies, Museum Studies)

Editor of LCM - The Series: Marie-Christine Jullion

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