Welcome to the LETRINT project!

Studies of translation in international organizations have traditionally focused on European Union (EU) institutions and legislative genres. However, and despite its relevance within Translation Studies, the field of legal and institutional translation still lacks an empirical characterization of its broader scope, main features and quality issues. In order to fill this gap, the LETRINT project investigates the multilingual text production of several intergovernmental and supranational organizations that are considered representative of institutional legal translation because of their law-/policy-making, compliance monitoring and adjudicative functions: (1) the United Nations (UN), the central cornerstone of international law and relations, and its International Court of Justice (ICJ); (2) the World Trade Organization (WTO), a specialized organization with an important dispute settlement function; and (3) the EU, the world’s most complex and multilingual supranational legal order, including its law-making institutions (the Commission, the Parliament and the Council) and its Court of Justice (CJEU).

The full mapping and legal contextualization of multilingual text production (Phase 1) is the first step to build a series of tailored corpora for the analysis of discourse features and translation quality indicators (Phase 2), particularly as regards terminological hybridity and decision-making, as well as translation issues leading to formal corrigenda. In turn, these analyses inform the selection of sample texts for the assessment of levels and perceptions of legal translation quality, and their relation to legal translation competence (Phase 3), with a view to supporting quality assurance applications and recommendations (Phase 4) (see more details of phases completed or near completion in “Findings and outputs”).

The project builds on four pillars developed by LETRINT’s principal investigator, Prof. Fernando PRIETO RAMOS, in the interdisciplinary field of Legal Translation Studies: (1) the central functions and common challenges of legal translation in the development of international and supranational law (Prieto Ramos 2014a); (2) a multidimensional model for decision-making in legal translation (Prieto Ramos 2014b); (3) an integrative model of competence development in this area (Prieto Ramos 2011); and (4) a holistic approach to legal translation quality, encompassing process, competence and product (Prieto Ramos 2015).

LETRINT is funded by a Consolidator Grant according to the selection criteria and conditions of the European Research Council (ERC), as applied by the Swiss National Science Foundation in the framework of the Temporary Backup Schemes of 2014. It is the first Consolidator Grant ever devoted to a project in Translation Studies in Europe. In light of its first findings and level of ambition, its initial 5-year duration was extended for 21 additional months, until July 2022. The project is conducted in cooperation with the translation services of the institutions selected for this research, and with the support of IAMLADP through its Universities Contact Group (UCG).