Conference on legal translation in Korea

On 22 April 2016, Thierry Fontenelle, the Head of the Translation Department, was in Seoul, South Korea, to deliver a lecture at a conference organised by the Center for Legal Translation (CLT) of the Korea Legislation Research Institute (KLRI). Also present were Rytis Martikonis, Director-General of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation (DGT), who had been invited by the KLRI to give a keynote speech on EU multilingual law making, and Hans te-Winkel, Senior Expert at the Legal Service of the European Commission.

The mission of the KLRI includes the translation of Korean legislation into English. A delegation from the institute visited the Translation Centre and other EU translation services based in Brussels in November 2015 to learn about the EU approach to dealing with the many challenges in the field of legal translation. Following that visit (see here for details), the KLRI invited three representatives from the EU to participate in an international conference in Seoul on the development of legal translation.

The conference was attended by approximately 120 participants, and was formally opened by the Minister of Government Legislation, Je Jeong-Boo, by the President of the KLRI, Lee Won and by Mr Martikonis. The conference was also attended by Gerhard Sabathil, European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. In addition to the three European Union representatives, each of whom presented a different aspect of the complex multilingual context in which we operate, the organisers also invited speakers from Japan, Hong Kong, China, Australia, and, of course, Korea. The conference topics included the translation of Japanese statutes, the translation into English of Chinese legal terms, and the activities of the national standards and accreditation body for translators and interpreters in Australia. KLRI’s specific activities were also presented in more detail.

Of particular interest to the participants was the Translation Centre’s special business model that is partly based on the outsourcing of translations. Its quality assurance model and how it responds to clients’ evolving needs and to increasingly complex challenges in our ever-changing world also attracted a lot of attention and interest. The conference was a unique opportunity to present new initiatives, such as the Centre’s role in the Online Dispute Resolution project in collaboration with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (DG JUST), and also to discuss how we use innovative communication channels to provide translations of new classes of goods and services in the intellectual property domain and how we contribute to fostering EU agencies’ presence on social media with the subtitling into all official EU languages of videos presenting their missions and activities.

About the Korea Legislation Research Institute

The KLRI was established in 1999 as the only legislation research institute funded by the Korean government. It helps Korea’s legislative system to advance and go global by gathering and providing information on other countries’ legislative systems and by translating Korean statutes into English and making these available. The translations into English are made available to the public via an open application programming interface (API) service ( KLRI also published the first Korean-English Glossary of Legal Terms in 2001 and updates this on a regular basis.