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On or about 7 November 2009, I happened to be in Amsterdam during a very interesting and, may I add, warm event.

The event was the presentation by the translators of a new translation into English of the entire (eight book) Netherlands Civil Code.

It took them … not long at all to complete the task, only twenty years. (In contrast, the Lithuanian Civil Code was translated EXTREMELY poorly in less than a year, and, as is typical in the East, it was a government sponsored deal …).

The Netherlands code translators held to the idea that what is translated must be understood in the language it is translated into. Therefore words like ‘mandate’ and so forth (words that essentially no English speaker understands, that is, which have been cooked up by specialists in Continental law) do not appear.

An interesting tidbit: the ninth book of the Code was to govern software contracts. It has not yet been written, apparently because the experts can’t agree. Software is a very problematic area of contract law … .

The translation was published by Walters Kluwer and is available here.

The translators: Hans Warendorf, Richard Thomas, and Ian Curry-Sumner.
The event was held at the University of Amsterdam Faculty of Law.


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