Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



The CISG (Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods) has remarkably facilitated commercial transactions across boundaries and different legal systems. This article, to be published as a Book Chapter, discusses some possible difficulties caused by using different languages, or words which might be interpreted differently, and some solutions and ways to deal with these difficulties. Three kinds of issues have appeared: the first has to do with drafting issues, and the peculiar problem of the six official languages of the Convention. The second set of issues deals with the interpretation of the Convention and the so-called homeward trend. The third set of issues consists of contract problems among the parties involving translated documents, documents written in a language not understood by one of the parties, or by the court in charge of the litigation. Even though there is a rich literature on these issues, language and translation issues do not seem to have caused major problems in the application of the CISG, at least from the reported cases in the various databases available.


An updated version of this working paper can be found in the forthcoming publication:

Claire M. Germain, CISG Translation Issues: Reducing Legal Babelism in International Sales Law: A Global Challenge, 51 (Larry A. DiMatteo, ed., forthcoming Feb. 2014)