Google Spain’s ECJ Ruling Mistranslated in Italian

The Italian translation of the European Court of Justice’s Google Spain ruling is affected by serious translation errors that undermine its meaning.

The first recital of the conclusions read, in Italian

L’articolo 2, lettere b) e d), della direttiva 95/46/CE … deve essere interpretato nel senso che, da un lato, l’attività di un motore di ricerca … deve essere qualificata come  ?trattamento di dati personali ?, … e che, dall’altro lato, il gestore di detto motore di ricerca deve essere considerato come il  ?responsabile ? (enphasis added) del trattamento summenzionato, ai sensi dell’articolo 2, lettera d), di cui sopra.

The same word, “responsable” appears in the Spanish text, ? while the English text uses the words “data controller”, that Under Sect. 2 of the Dir 95/46/CE is a different legal position

Article 2(b) and (d) of Directive 95/46/EC … are to be interpreted as meaning that, first, the activity of a search engine … must be classified as ‘processing of personal data’, … second, the operator of the search engine must be regarded as the ‘controller’ in respect of that processing, within the meaning of Article 2(d).

The difference between Google being “data processor” or “data controller” is a serious one so it is of the utmost importance to find out which translation is the correct one, since the Italian courts and the Data Protection Authority are likely to refer to the Italian text.

The answer is the the English text is correct and both the Italian and Spanish are wrong. This conclusion comes from the fact that the recital points to sect. 2 lett. d) of the Directive that contains the definition of “data controller”.

But the mistakes of the Italian text don’t stop there. Talking about the role of the websites and blog owners, the translations uses the word “editori” as a false friend of the English word “publishers”. “Editore” in Italian means an entrepreneur whose business is selecting and publishing books and, broadly speaking, contents. While the Court is obviously referring to everybody handles a website, no matter if for business or what.