Tue, Sep. 26, 2006

Translation of Code Withdrawn

EE - Washington.   After posting the German Civil Code in English on September 6, 2006 the Department of Justice in Berlin has withdrawn the translation from their website. A notification on the department's website cites flaws in the translation as the reason for its removal.

A number of blogs have commented on the difficulty in translating the German Code due to the style and nature of the language used, as well as the inherent difficulty of translating a piece of law, whose meaning is open to interpretation even in its original language.

Whether or not pulling the translation, however flawed, was a good idea is up for debate. Clearly, the German government must use caution when releasing an official translation, as such a translation presumably holds the same weight of law as the original code. However, making the translation available, even with flaws, provides an important and useful starting point for non-German speakers to navigate the German code.

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