How Should European Union (EU) Documents Be Translated?

Here is a question we have received from several clients in the past. “Are you certified and eligible to translate EU documents?†One such project involved the translation of some Framework Contracts into several European languages.

So, are there any special requirements for EU Document Translation? Well, we’ll give the secret away already – not really. The linguists working on documents translated to be used by the European Commission or its entities and bodies, have to meet certain qualifications such as being subject-matter experts and native (in-Country) speakers with extensive translation experience.

However, the fact that they are EU Documents doesn’t mean the translation process itself is unique. Instead, It is more about meeting specific translation quality criteria and considering terminology preferences while following commonly known translation guidelines.2 Let’s expand on this!

The Official EU Document Translation Process

Let’s start a bit more broadly and then zone in on a more specific example. Because EU Documents can encompass many different things, right? In broad terms, it can refer to:

Each of these documents will need a different focus in terms of subject matter specialization, terminology usage, and expertise, but the linguistic process will, for each and every one of them, be centered around complete accuracy and confidentiality.

By way of example, let’s look at the Framework Contract a bit more deeply. Framework Contracts are put in place to help establish either international or domestic partnerships. In essence, the contract is put into place to establish the fundamental compromises necessary for a relationship to move forward.

This can mean many things. But what we are dealing with most of the time, is a sensitive document with information that needs to adhere to local and / or international laws and be free of any ambiguity. So, both legal and diplomatic requirements will need to be taken into account here.

With specific terminology, strict protocols and formalities unique to each jurisdiction, human translation is paramount. Possible errors and ambiguities can have serious consequences. This is why each linguist will follow the rigorous Translation, Editing, and Proofreading process (TEP), which prioritizes consistency and precision down to the letter.

Here’s What Translators Need to be Aware Of

In the case of EU Document Translation, this can be quite straight-forward. Since the EU has strict guidelines to follow, this will reflect in the use of style and terminology. The preferred terminology is communicated through the so-called Glossaries, a collection of terms the client expects the translator to stick to religiously. This will help maintain consistency and accuracy throughout the document and will also provide the translator with context.

Any stylistic preferences both textually and visually will be communicated through a style guide. This includes rules about voice, the style of writing style, sentence structure, spelling, and so on. Since the document will often have a specific purpose as a legal, diplomatic, or any other content type, the stylistic preferences will predominantly be tied to this.

Here’s How The Best Quality EU Document Translation is Obtained 

The following items can be ticked off the list in order to obtain the best translation quality outcome

  • The translators should have previous experience and must be familiar with the terminology.
  • Translators should be familiar with the laws and regulations mentioned in the document and have extensive experiences translating content. Given that with EU Documents the connection with local political systems and culture is just as important as the language, your translator should be located in the target locale.
  • The Translators can provide translations that are simple and easy to read, free of ambiguity. This means that The Translators have to be a Subject Matter Expert and have proven experience in the industry and content type you are requiring a translation into.
  • In addition to being an expert, The translators should possess a generous amount of creativity. It can, for example, happen that some terms do not have a legal or diplomatic equivalent in the target language, but a solution will still need to be found.
  • The Translators understand that strict confidentiality is essential in these types of translation exchanges. For this reason, they must sign a non-disclosure agreement so that any information handled by them will never leave the confines of the translation team.

EU Documents And Quality Control

We’ve said it before, accuracy matters. In the case of official documents circulated within the EU, this matters a whole lot! The translation project itself has Quality Assurance added through the TEP Process, but the process itself should also be streamlined within a strict workflow designed with an eye on Quality Control.

The central protagonist is the Project Manager who will serve as the initial contact and bring together the best team for your industry, language pair, and specialization. They do this based on a detailed understanding of the technical requirements, style/tone, and strategy. Additionally, they will make sure to:

  • Each translation process can be customized according to your specific needs.
  • Create and monitor the QA checklists
  • Maintain effective communication at each linguistic issue
  • Manage the glossaries, style guides, and Translation Memory (TM) specific to your project


So, is EU Document Translation so vastly different from others? No, they are not. They can include any number of industries, all of which need to meet the standards of quality and accuracy. This means that the professional subject matter specialists and linguistic references such as  glossaries and style guides can be different, but assembling the right translators and maintaining a complete translation process with rigorous Quality Control remain a challenge. That’s why finding the right Language Service Provider (LSP) is the key element to successfully obtaining the quality translation you need.

With Laoret, you can meet your deadlines with a pre-order cost calculator through which you can conveniently approximate timelines and fees for your translation projects. In order to cater to your timeframe, we remain available around-the-clock to deliver the highest quality documents with the fastest possible turnaround times. All communication and transactions between you and our professional document translation services are safeguarded by end-to-end encryption and make certain that all information is protected by tightly constructed non-disclosure agreements for everyone involved in your translation projects.

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