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The “Europeanization of Law” in the Context of German Legal Translation

Is it enough to only be aware of German law when translating written legal texts from the German language? Since Germany is a part of Europe, attention should not only be paid to its national law but also the European law.

1. “Europäisierung des Rechts” – “Europeanization of German law” 

As many of you might already know, the advances in the “Europeanization of German law” (Europäisierung des deutschen Rechts in German) have already been made for more than 20 years. This fact must be recognized when translating any types of legal and business documents, not only contracts.

Obviously, such “Europeanization” is not only limited to law. This process has been progressing within the member states of the European Union (EU) and the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement regarding various policies. It goes without saying that it is vital for the countries outside the EU, also including Japan, which have relations with its member states, to be aware of such tendencies.

2. EU’s Directives and Regulations

When translating legal or business documents from German to Japanese, rather than regulations, called Verordnung in German, such as General Data Protection Regulation (abbreviated as GDPR in English or DSGVO in German), it is directives, or Richtlinien in German, that needs to be taken note of.

The former, so regulations, directly apply to the EU citizens once they actually come into effect. Opposed to that, the goal of the directive in question is required to be implemented, but the individual member states are left up to decide on how to do so. In most cases, the policy objectives of the directive are achieved by amending national law corresponding to the directive or, if necessary, by making new laws.

3. Examples of how German National Law complies with the EU law

You don’t have to specifically look for examples of how the EU law is implemented through German law since they can be found in any field of law. Germany takes measures to comply with EU law starting, of course, from the primary fields of law, such as German Commercial Code (abbreviated as HGB in German) and German Civil Code (abbreviated as BGB in German), which are important for relations between Germany and Japan from the legal and the economic point of view. The measures are also taken in terms of corporate, labor, and social security laws and systems, as well as antimonopoly law represented by the Act Against Restraints of Competition (abbreviated as GWB in German). Moreover, the same applies to the fields of criminal law, including economic criminal laws and system.

Establishing new sections, for example, is one way to comply with the EU law. Newly created sections are numbered by adding a letter to it, the same way as it is done in Japan. To give one example, in the German Commercial Code there is a Section 9b European System of Interconnection of Registers; Authorisation to Issue Ordinances (§9b Europäisches System der Registervernetzung; Verordnungsermächtigung), which follows Section 9 Access to the Commercial Register and the Business Register (§9 Einsichtnahme in das Handelsregister und das Unternehmensregister). Also, this Section 9b specifies the EU Directives from 2009 to 2013 on which the Article is based.

4. German legal Translation and EU law

No matter the field or the format of the document, it has now become necessary to always pay attention to the EU law when translating German legal documents, such as a judge’s decision, contracts, terms and conditions, as well as business and patent-related documentation.

When translating German legal and business documents, we refer to the original English language version of the EU directives and their German translations, along with the relevant articles of the German law. Our translators spend their days learning how to provide accurate translations.

Transeuro has a team of translators with a legal background who are in charge of translating legal documents. They are here to help you whether you need to translate German or English documents starting from contracts to trial documentation. If you need a translation of legal documents, feel free to contact us, and we will provide you with a free quotation.

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