Constitution centennial marked by new English translation

Estonian constitution in paper format.
Estonian constitution in paper format. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

A new English translation of the Estonian Constitution has been published, to mark the 100th anniversary of the original Constitution, which fell on Tuesday. The newer translation also updates terminology which had become outdated.

The new English translation is available on the State Gazette (Riigi Teataja) site here; this version will now supersede the previous English translation for use in international courts and elsewhere needed. The Estonian-language Constitution remains the official version.

Jüri Heinla, who heads up the State Gazette, itself a department of the Ministry of Justice, said: "The translation of the Constitution as the primary Estonian legal text underwent a thorough expert analysis, comparing Estonian and English legal language and terminology used to denote terms, and taking into account various legal aspects in order to ensure high-quality translation."

This involved over 600 terms being reviewed, with a large proportion of these being updated, in conjunction with the Estonian Language Institute (EKI).

The new translation was compiled by lawyer and linguist Siiri Aulik and terminology specialist Ülle Allsalu, in collaboration with legal and constitutional experts including Anneli Albi, Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Kent, U.K., and Madis Ernits, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Tartu. 

The current Estonian Constitution dates back to June 1992, following the restoration of independence and a referendum on the matter, and is the fourth such document to have been in force since the initial version appeared in December 1920.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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