The Slovenian language in the European Union
The principle of multilingualism is enshrined in the Union’s legal foundations. Its main aspects are set out in the Treaties, EEC Council (1958) Regulation No 1 and the accession acts of any new Member State that opts for its national language to become one of the EU official languages. Multilingualism is a guarantee of democracy, transparency, and legal certainty for all citizens of the Union.
Multilingualism – A fundamental principle of the European Union
EU legislation is available in all official languages. Interpreting is provided at the sessions of the European Parliament, the European Council, and the Council of the EU, including at certain working groups’ meetings. Most EU institutions' web pages are multilingual, and citizens and legal entities have the right to communicate with EU institutions in their own languages.
More information on multilingualism is available at the European Union website.
Slovenian as an official language of the EU
With Slovenia joining the EU, Slovenian became one of the official languages. However, even prior to its EU accession, all EU legislation had to be translated into the Slovenian language, i.e. thousands of legal acts classified under specific chapters of EU legislation accounting for approximately 90,000 pages of the EU Official Journal. This major legal translation project was aimed at ensuring the Slovenian version of the EU acquis prior to Slovenia’s accession, which required the effective organisation of working procedures, systematic interdisciplinary cooperation, and a standardised methodology.
One of the chapters of the Resolution on the National Programme for Language Policy 2020-2024 is dedicated to Slovenian as one of the EU’s official languages. The Resolution envisages measures for providing linguistic assistance to Slovenian departments in EU institutions.
More on this topic is available at Jezikovna Slovenija.
Use of the Slovenian language in EU work processes
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs monitors the use of Slovenian as an official EU language and fosters closer inter-institutional cooperation between Slovenian translation and interpretation departments and lawyer-linguists in EU institutions and experts in Slovenian state authorities and academic institutions.
The various aspects of using Slovenian in the legislative process – translation and interpretation – are provided in the manual Slovenian in EU Institutions (available only in the Slovenian language), which contains a number of relevant mailboxes and links.
Slovene translators, interpreters, and lawyer-linguists in EU institutions
As of 1 May 2004, legislation in Slovene has been drafted by EU institutions, which employ more than 170 Slovene translators and lawyer-linguists. Legislation in Slovene versions of EU legislation which is published daily in the Official Journal of the EU are available in the EU’s legislative database EUR-Lex.
Almost all EU institutions and bodies have their own translation services covering all official languages. The Translation Centre for the Bodies of the EU is an EU agency providing language services to the specialised decentralised agencies and other bodies of the EU. Some institutions employ Slovene lawyer-linguists who are involved in the drafting of EU legislation and edit the final texts in Slovene.
For more information on linguistic principles and language departments for national languages in EU institutions, please visit:
- European Commission
- Council of the EU
- European Parliament
- EU Court of Justice
- Translation Joint Services of the EESC/CoR
- European Court of Auditors
- European Central Bank
- Translation Centre for the Bodies of the EU
Interpretation services are provided in three EU institutions: the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the EU Court of Justice. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Interpretation (also referred to as SCIC – Service Commun Interprétation-Conférences) also provides interpreters for other EU institutions. Interpretation in EU institutions has a long tradition, with established interpretation regimes and rules.
Terminology development and databases
Technical terminology is key to Slovenia’s activities at various levels. The EU’s legal and technical terminology was developed as part of the project of translating EU legislation into Slovene prior to Slovenia’s accession. An online multilingual term database (Evroterm) has been available online since 2000. Some years later, it was followed by the bilingual corpus (Evrokorpus) and the multilingual thesaurus of the European Parliament (Eurovoc). The latter contains more than 7,000 descriptors covering different fields of activity of both the EU and the Member States. It is also used for indexing documents in document management systems of EU institutions and in online legislative databases such as EUR-Lex.
Since Slovenia’s EU accession, new EU terminology in Slovene has been developed by the EU institutions and fed to the interinstitutional terminology database (IATE).