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Belgium Translation Style Guide

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Full name: Kingdom of Belgium.

 

Official languages: Dutch, French and German.

Geography

Cities

Use the forms Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Ostend.

 

Flemish vs French forms. Use Flemish names of places in Dutch-speaking areas (e.g. Leuven not Louvain, Kortrijk not Courtrai, Ieper not Ypres) and French for French-speaking areas (e.g. Mons not Bergen, Liège not Luik).

Bilingual Bruxelles/Brussel is always Brussels in English. Many of the 19 municipalities (FR communes, NL gemeenten) (and all streets) in the Brussels region have a French and a Dutch name, either of which may be used.

Some municipalities, known as Communes à facilités/Faciliteitengemeenten/Gemeinden mit Spracherleichterungen, have special linguistic provisions to protect the rights of their historic linguistic minorities.

In the Flemish Community this concerns six municipalities on the periphery of Brussels (Drogenbos, Kraainem/Crainhem, Linkebeek, Sint-Genesius-Rode/Rhode-Saint-Genèse, Wemmel and Wezembeek-Oppem) and six municipalities on the language border (Bever/Biévène, Herstappe, Mesen/Messines, Ronse/Renaix, Spiere-Helkijn/Espierres-Helchin and Voeren/Fourons).

In the French Community this also concerns six municipalities, four with special provisions for Dutch speakers (Enghien/Edingen, Mouscron/Moeskroen, Comines-Warneton/Komen-Waasten and Flobecq/Vloesberg) and two with special provisions for German speakers (Malmedy and Waimes/Weismes).

The nine municipalities that make up the German speaking Community all have special language provisions for French speakers.

It should be noted that these municipalities do not have bilingual status. When writing in English, the French names should be used for those in the French Community, the Flemish names for those in the Flemish Community and the German names for those in the German speaking Community.

Rivers

Use Meuse (Maas only if the context is solely Flanders or the Netherlands).

Regions

 

    • BELGIË-BELGIQUE*
      • BELGIUM

 

    • Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest/ Région de Bruxelles-Capitale**
      • Brussels Capital Region

 

    • Vlaams Gewest**
      • Flemish Region

 

    • Provincies
      • Provinces

 

    • Antwerpen
      • Antwerp

 

    • Limburg
      • Limburg

 

    • Oost-Vlaanderen
      • East Flanders

 

    • Vlaams-Brabant
      • Flemish Brabant

 

    • West-Vlaanderen
      • West Flanders

 

    • Région wallonne**
      • Walloon Region

 

    • Provinces
      • Provinces

 

    • Brabant Wallon
      • Walloon Brabant

 

    • Hainaut
      • Hainaut

 

    • Liège
      • Liège

 

    • Luxembourg
      • Luxembourg

 

  • Namur
    • Namur

* Regions of Belgium do not coincide with language communities.

** Note that the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region both have five provinces. The Brussels Capital Region is not part of a province and is not itself subdivided into provinces.

Judicial bodies

Only Dutch and French are covered in this section, as the use of German in the Belgian court system is limited.

DUTCH

 

 

  • Dutch
      • French

    • English
  • arbeidshof
    • cour du travail
    • labour court
  • arbeidsrechtbank
    • tribunal du travail
    • labour tribunal
  • arrondissementsrechtbank
    • tribunal d’arrondissement
    • district court
  • burgerlijke rechtbank
    • tribunal civil
    • civil court
  • correctionele rechtbank
    • tribunal correctionnel
    • criminal court
  • Grondwettelijk Hof
    • Cour constitutionnelle
    • Constitutional Court
  • hof van assisen
    • cour d’assises
    • court of assizes
  • hof van beroep
    • cour d’appel
    • court of appeal
  • Hof van Cassatie
    • Cour de cassation
    • Court of Cassation
  • Hoge Raad voor de Justitie
    • Conseil supérieur de la justice
    • High Council of Justice
  • jeugdrechtbank
    • tribunal de la jeunesse
    • juvenile court
  • politierechtbank
    • tribunal de police
    • police court (preferred), local criminal court
  • Raad van State
    • Conseil d’état
    • Council of State
  • rechtbank van eerste aanleg
    • tribunal de première instance
    • court of first instance
  • rechtbank van koophandel
    • tribunal de commerce
    • commercial court
  • vredegerecht
    • justice de paix
    • justice of the peace court (preferred), civil magistrate’s court
  • vrederechter
    • juge de paix
    • justice of the peace (preferred), civil magistrate

FRENCH

 

 

  • French
      • Dutch

    • English
  • Conseil d’état
    • Raad van State
    • Council of State
  • Conseil supérieur de la justice
    • Hoge Raad voor de Justitie
    • High Council of Justice
  • Cour constitutionnelle
    • Grondwettelijk Hof
    • Constitutional Court
  • cour d’appel
    • hof van beroep
    • court of appeal
  • cour d’assises
    • hof van assisen
    • court of assizes
  • Cour de cassation
    • Hof van Cassatie
    • Court of Cassation
  • cour du travail
    • arbeidshof
    • labour court
  • juge de paix
    • vrederechter
    • justice of the peace (preferred), civil magistrate
  • justice de paix
    • vredegerecht
    • justice of the peace court (preferred), civil magistrate’s court
  • tribunal civil
    • burgerlijke rechtbank
    • civil court
  • tribunal correctionnel
    • correctionele rechtbank
    • criminal court
  • tribunal d’arrondissement
    • arrondissementsrechtbank
    • district court
  • tribunal de commerce
    • rechtbank van koophandel
    • commercial court
  • tribunal de la jeunesse
    • jeugdrechtbank
    • juvenile court
  • tribunal de police
    • politierechtbank
    • police court (preferred), local criminal court
  • tribunal de première instance
    • rechtbank van eerste aanleg
    • court of first instance
  • tribunal du travail
    • arbeidsrechtbank
    • labour tribunal

Legal instruments

Only Dutch and French are covered in this section, as only a few Belgian laws are translated into German.

DUTCH

 

 

  • Dutch
      • French

    • English
  • besluit
    • arrêté
    • decree
  • Burgerlijk Wetboek
    • Code civil
    • Civil Code
  • decreet
    • décret
    • decree* [statutory instrument issued by the language communities/the Flemish and Walloon Regions]
  • Gerechtelijk Wetboek
    • Code judiciaire
    • Judicial Code
  • koninklijk besluit (KB)
    • arrêté royal (AR)
    • royal decree
  • ministerieel besluit
    • arrêté ministériel
    • ministerial decree
  • ordonnantie
    • ordonnance
    • order* [statutory instrument issued by Brussels Capital Region]
  • wet
    • loi
    • act/law
  • Wetboek van Strafrecht
    • Code pénal
    • Criminal Code
  • Wetboek van Strafvordering
    • Code d’instruction criminelle
    • Code of Criminal Procedure

FRENCH

 

 

  • French
      • Dutch

    • English
  • arrêté
    • besluit
    • decree
  • arrêté ministériel
    • ministerieel besluit
    • ministerial decree
  • arrêté royal (AR)
    • koninklijk besluit (KB)
    • royal decree
  • Code civil
    • Burgerlijk Wetboek
    • Civil Code
  • Code d’instruction criminelle
    • Wetboek van Strafvordering
    • Code of Criminal Procedure
  • Code judiciaire
    • Gerechtelijk Wetboek
    • Judicial Code
  • Code pénal
    • Wetboek van Strafrecht
    • Criminal Code
  • décret
    • decreet
    • decree* [statutory instrument issued by the language communities/the Flemish and Walloon Regions]
  • loi
    • wet
    • act/law
  • ordonnance
    • ordonnantie
    • order* [statutory instrument issued by Brussels Capital Region]

* These have equal status with federal laws and should not be confused with implementing decrees/orders.

Federal structure

Belgium is a federal kingdom made up of three regions:

  • the Flemish Region
    (het Vlaamse Gewest – la Région flamande – die Flämische Region),
  • the Walloon Region
    (het Waalse Gewest – la Région wallonne – die Wallonische Region), and
  • Brussels Capital Region
    (het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest – la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale – die Region Brüssel-Hauptstadt)

and three language communities:

  • the Flemish Community
    (de Vlaamse Gemeenschap – la Communauté flamande –
    die Flämische Gemeinschaft
    ),
  • the French Community (not French-speaking)
    (de Franse Gemeenschap – la Communauté française (Since May 2011 also commonly known as la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles)
    die Französische Gemeinschaft
    ), and
  • the German-speaking Community (not German)
    (de Duitstalige Gemeenschap – la Communauté germanophone –
    die Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft
    ).

The Flemish Region covers the north of the country down to a line running across the country just south of Brussels, but not including the Brussels Capital Region (which forms an enclave), while the Walloon Region covers the whole of the south of the country (including the German-speaking area). The regions may also be referred to informally as Flanders, Wallonia and the Brussels Region (to distinguish it from Ville de Bruxelles/Stad Brussel, which is only one of 19 municipalities in the region).

The Flemish Community covers Flanders, plus Brussels (for Dutch-speaking cultural matters); the French Community covers Wallonia minus the German-speaking area, plus Brussels (for French-speaking cultural matters); and the German-speaking Community covers the small German-speaking part of the country. In May 2011, the parliament of the French Community voted to use the name Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. However, the new name does not appear in the Belgian Constitution and is not universally accepted.

The regions exercise powers in a wide range of areas, while the communities are primarily responsible for education and cultural matters. Under the Constitution each region and community has an executive accountable to a parliament. However, all the

responsibilities of the Flemish Region have been transferred to the Community, so there is only one Flemish Government and one Flemish Parliament, both based in Brussels.

The executives of the other two regions are the Walloon Government, based in Namur, and the Government of the Brussels Capital Region. The leaders of all three executives wish to be described in English as Minister-President. Meanwhile, the French Community – based in Brussels and entirely separate from the Walloon Government in Namur – has handed over some of its responsibilities to the Region. The German-speaking Community, with its seat in Eupen, has fewer powers than the other two.

At federal level, the Belgian Government retains such pan-Belgian functions as foreign affairs, defence, justice, macroeconomic policy and the railways. In a Belgian context it may be referred to as the Federal Government.

 

Source: European Commission Directorate-General for Translation

 

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