Italian monolinguals think in English

Do I have to have my terms and conditions translated?

Translations of general terms and conditions are very popular. But is a translation of the terms and conditions absolutely necessary? This is the question that companies deal with every day when they want to expand and do international business. We have put together some facts for you.

Translate terms and conditions - necessary or not?

German law stipulates that the retailer must inform the buyer of the required information “in a clear and understandable manner appropriate to the means of remote communication used”. This also includes the general terms and conditions and information requirements.

General terms and conditions as a means of information

The translation of a German legal text into another language mostly serves purely as information for international (foreign-language) customers, but in the case of questions of interpretation, the German version usually remains authoritative. This is generally true of any type of contract. In the legal field, there are often no 1-to-1 equivalents for technical terms, because the legal systems of the different countries are so different. Therefore, many translated terms and conditions contain neutral paraphrases in order to secure the content of the text in the respective language.

However, it is important that the translation is translated very closely to the German version so that the potential customer or contractual partner is properly informed. If you are unsure in an individual case, we recommend that you go to a legal entity such as a lawyer.

General terms and conditions translations for web shops

Translating the terms and conditions is particularly important if you operate an international web shop. Before a purchase is made, the customer must usually agree to the general terms and conditions or at least be advised of them. It is therefore particularly important that the terms and conditions are available in various languages ​​so that each of the international customers can understand the legal background and the contractual conditions. Think, for example, of the processing of returns or the terms of payment.

Monolingual web shops

If your contractual partner comes from abroad, you have to pay attention to a few things, as mentioned. However, a look at Section 312c of the German Civil Code (BGB) shows that if your entire website is exclusively in German, if the shop is monolingual in German and if your target group is only in German, German terms and conditions are generally sufficient. In all other cases this paragraph does not apply.

Multilingual web shops

But it looks different if you sell your products in two or more languages. Then the legal information must also be listed in the languages ​​used. A webshop in German, French and English therefore also requires general terms and conditions in these languages. For example, if an Italian customer buys in a solely German-speaking shop without knowing the language, he has nevertheless agreed to the German conditions. The contract language was German and the dealer taught correctly.

Do you have any questions on this topic or do you need a professional translation of your general terms and conditions? Then you can contact us at any time. Please give us a call or send us an email and we will discuss your individual translation project.