EULITA or Legal Interpreting and Translation in the EU

June 6, 2017 11:33 am

The European Legal Interpreters and Translators Association (EULITA) celebrated its 7th General Assembly last April, 2017 and the association has experienced new changes that announce a new era full of challenges to continue protecting and advocating for the interests of legal & court translators and interpreters in the EU. On this occasion, KU Leuven Emeritus Professor Dr. Erik Hertog has written a post for TermCoord reflecting about the recent research carried out in the field of legal translation & interpreting. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Eulita banner

With the 7th General Assembly of EULITA  in Vienna on 1 April a new chapter has begun in the history of the association. At the end of three days of court visits, a DG Translation “Translating Europe ” workshop and a conference on “The Many Facets of Legal Interpreting and Translation” (you can access the presentations on this link  and this other link), Daniela Amodeo Perillo accepted to succeed Liese Katschinka as EULITA President and now faces, with her new Executive Committee and the whole membership, the challenging task to further implement the objectives of the association’s mission statement.

EULITA Presidents

Lingering a bit longer on the EULITA website reminds us of the fact that since the first Grotius project (1998) some 20-odd EU DG Justice funded projects have been completed on the provision and quality of legal interpreting and translation (LIT) in the EU. Glancing at a few recent ones, we notice AVIDICUS 3 on assessment of video-mediated interpreting in criminal and civil proceedings; JUSTISIGNS on the competencies and training for sign language interpreting in legal settings; Qualitas on improving LI quality through valid testing and certification. Two projects focus on vulnerable groups, Co-Minor-IN/QUEST on victims, suspects and witnesses under the age of 18 and SOS-VICS: Speak Out for Support on the training of LIs in gender and domestic violence conflicts. TraiLLD  presents methods of training LIs in languages of lesser diffusion while Understanding Justice seeks to adapt the existing corpus of knowledge and recommendations in criminal justice to the delivery of LI in civil justice, c.q. interpreting in mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution.

One project of special interest to the readers of this blog is QUALETRA.  Starting from a generic analysis of the essential document types listed in Directive 2010/64/EU and of the European Arrest Warrant (where deficiency of translation quality was highlighted as a major concern), it defines indicators, templates and terminology in order to achieve, with the help of multilingual term bases and translation memories, better translation quality of such documents. The project has also developed core curricula and training materials for legal translation including testing and assessment procedures and materials. As a result, translators and the beneficiaries of legal translation services such as the police, prosecutors, court staff, judges, lawyers and other professionals will be able to interact more reliably and more efficiently. All these project descriptions, materials, recommendations and reports can be downloaded from the EULITA webpage.


Erik hertog

Written by Erik Hertog, Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies and both Conference and Public Services Interpreting Studies in the Faculty of Arts, KU Leuven, Campus Antwerp. He is the ‘founding father’ of EULITA and was also rapporteur of the Reflection Forum on Multilingualism and Interpreter Training for the former EU Commissioner for Multilingualism.

Post edited by Doris Fernandes del Pozo – Journalist, Translator-Interpreter and Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. She is pursuing a PhD as part of the Communication and Contemporary Information Programme of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain).

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