Tuesday, June 2, 2015


EUR-Lex provides free online access to all EU documentation, so it is particularly useful to retrieve information included in the Official Journal of the European Union, EU law (EU treaties, directives, regulations, decisions, consolidated legislation, etc.), preparatory acts (legislative proposals, reports, green and white papers, etc.), EU case-law (judgements, orders, etc.), international agreements, EFTA documents, other public documents. All this is provided in 24 official languages and the portal itself is in all 24 official languages.

Why is Eur-Lex useful?
Certain financial and medical texts, or other documents pertaining highly regulated fields, might mention EU Directives or Regulations and use the same terminology used within those texts. Being able to access them is vital to maintain your translation consistent with approved terminology. In addition it might save you a lot of research time and improve the final quality. In fact, those official documents are the ones that professionals in the field have to keep in mind and refer to when they draft their own reports, contracts, statements, etc., and by using the same language, you are proving to be an expert in the field.

How to navigate Eur-Lex
The best way to navigate the website is through its Search functions. On the home page (http://eur-lex.europa.eu) you will immediately find the “Search” box and the “Find results by” box.

The Search box is self-explanatory and will result in a list of documents that contain that term/group of terms. If you type more than one word and are looking for exact matches, use “” as suggested. In the “Find results by” box you can search by document type and number. For example, if your source text refers to Directive 95/46/EC you can easily retrieve it here.
Both search types (simple and by document) take you to the results page which displays all relevant documents. After you find what you are looking for, you can view it in all languages and formats available and even with multilingual parallel view, up to three languages at the same time.

What happens if you don’t use official terminology?
If your source text mentions or refers to an official EU document, not following or retrieving official terminology might cost you more than you think:
1. You will waste time researching and deciding on terms/groups of terms that have already been translated and approved in the industry;
2. Your target audience might find your translation vague or ambiguous – if not plain incorrect – since , chances are, they will be familiar with official terms in their field;
3. You will not present yourself as an expert.

That's why EUR-Lex is an excellent resource and every translator dealing with EU references should make sure to use it regularly.

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