bistro is the Information System for Legal Terminology created by researchers at the Institute for Applied Linguistics of Eurac Research. It was first developed in 2001 as a support tool for communication, writing and translations within a legal context. In 2013 work on an updated version began in collaboration with the department for Information Technologies of Eurac Research and the Office for Language Issues of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano with the intention of creating a flexible and reliable tool able to meet the various needs of users, whether they be law professionals, translators, students or people who need valid support in the understanding and translation of texts and legal documents.
True to its origins, bistro aims to facilitate the correct use of terminology in the legal sector in Italian, German and Ladin. The diverse and specific nature of different regulations in the legal sector present a variety of linguistic and conceptual problems, especially during writing and translation.
THE SOUTH TYROLEAN TERMINOLOGY COMMISSION
bistro contains the terms standardised by the South Tyrolean Terminology Commission. It is a body established by art. 6, par. 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic no. 574/1988, for the legal equalisation of the German language to Italian enshrined in Articles 99 and 100 of the Statute of Autonomy for the Trentino-South Tyrol Region of 1972. The Commission was given the task of assessing, updating or validating the German legal and administrative terminology in use in the Province of Bolzano by their various bodies, offices and public sector concessionaires.
Operational since 1994, the Terminology Commission has standardised terms relating especially to administrative law, civil law, civil procedural law, criminal law, criminal procedural law and university law. In this sense, the Commission’s work has particularly contributed to eliminating terminological variants posing potential uncertainty and replaced the terms that were incorrect from a legal or linguistic point of view.
The use of terminology standardised by the Commission is the subject of a specific regulatory provision. Article. 6, par. 3 of the decree mentioned above delineates that situations in which bilingual drafting is required must observe the terminology determined by the Commission. The use of this terminology is therefore an obligation for those who work in public administration.
The decisions of the Commission are also available on the website of the Legal Council of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano.
bistro consists of a legal terminology database in Italian, German (South Tyrolean, Austrian, German, Swiss, European Union and international law variants) and Ladin (Val Gardena and Val Badia variants).
The terminology is constantly refined and updated, and currently consists of terminology records related to various areas of law, including:
- administrative law
- civil law
- commercial law
- civil procedural law
- company law
- criminal law
- criminal procedural law
- European Union law
- family law
- international law
- occupational health and safety
It also contains the terminology in German approved by the South Tyrolean Terminology Commission, which was established by art. 6 of the Decree of the President of the Republic no. 574/1988.
The database has an onomasiological structure, i.e. concept-oriented structure. This is evident through the terminological entries, self-contained units with all the language, cataloguing and legal information about a given concept and its designated term or terms. For more information on the terminological entry, click here (information available in Italian and German).
The terminological entries used by bistro follow traditional terminology principles taking into account the particularities of the legal sector: in a specific legal field, the concepts and terms denoting them are identified on the basis of reliable and authoritative reference material (e.g. manuals, legal texts, etc.). Every concept is subsequently documented by bibliographic references and explained, where possible, with definitions and contexts of use.
This type of research follows a contrastive analysis between the legal systems investigated (the Italian one on the one hand and the German-speaking ones on the other, i.e. Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the European Union, and international law) in order to search for specific equivalences between concepts or to highlight any discrepancies.
The analysis occurs within the confines of a micro-comparison as it takes place between individual concepts belonging to different legal systems. In this context, it operates at:
- an interlingual level, in cases where comparisons are made between legal systems using different languages;
- an intralingual level, where comparisons are made between legal systems in the same language.
A further element is added by comparing concepts that, while belonging to the same legal system, are in different languages, as is the case within the Italian legal system where texts may be in German or Ladin. Therefore, in South Tyrol one must assess the equivalence between the original Italian concept and its German or Ladin translation.
Definitions, contexts and comments shown in bistro’s terminological entries are based on literary and web sources and relate to the linguistic/cultural area of the specific term. The Italian concepts are therefore supported by Italian sources, the German ones by Austrian, German, Swiss, European and international sources, depending on the legal system used in each case. The Italian concepts in German and Ladin for South Tyrol are supported respectively by German and Ladin sources relevant to the region of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano.
The preference of the bibliographic source is generally given, in order, through legislation, manuals, case law and official websites (e.g. ministerial websites).
Bibliographic references are available by clicking on a designated symbol taking the user to the full reference entry. For more information, click here (information available in Italian and German).
The processing of the right terminology in multiple languages requires a close collaboration between terminologists, translators and legal experts in order to ensure objectivity and accuracy of the processed content.
We would like to thank all the staff and trainees who contributed to the development of bistro and its contents in the past.
The layout was designed by the Communication department of Eurac Research.
Suggestions, recommendations or comments are welcome via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.