CE Marking and its Effects on Translation

In today’s global economy, the concept of “free movement” is almost essential for the existence of singular yet interconnected market spaces; an economic system in which services, goods, labour, and capital circulate without hurdles but within pre-stipulated regulations.

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For this purpose, the European Single Market (or Internal Market) was created in 1993, with the main goal of implementing measures that would bring down commercial barriers, speed up bureaucratic processes, and allow for the free movement of goods.

As part of this approach, the EU established product regulations and conformity assessments for the Member States part of this new agreement. This scheme, overseen by the CE marking association, allows each industry to make decisions and maintain its respective obligations without government intervention.

So, if you are a company with plans to commercialize your product in Europe, you may want to learn more about what is CE marking and how it affects your business.

What is CE Marking

The CE marking – which stands for \"Conformité Européene”  or “European Conformity” - is essentially a certification that points out and validates a given product under the EEA’s (European Economic Area) standards of environmental protection, safety, and health. This measure is insured by the CE marking directive 93 68 EEC (a document instituted in 1993 by the EU) and was introduced as a means to facilitate the movement of goods between the Member States of the European Union.

As part of the system, each manufacturer who wishes to commercialize a given product within the European Union has the responsibility to warrant that the goods provided abide by Europe’s standards – which is done by affixing the CE marking on it. That being said, not all products traded in Europe need a CE marking and so it is important to check with your designated standard agency in Europe.

Moreover, this process means that:

  • each EU country government officials are assured a given product can be sold legally;
  • the product can be commercialized without restrictions within the EU Internal Market and;
  • European customs and other authorities have the right to remove any product that doesn’t comply with the guidelines.

In addition, it is worth pointing out that the CE marking does not relate to the quality of a product, but rather its safety. Also, although some products may need to be tested by independent bodies to confirm that they fit in EU standards, having a CE marking doesn’t officially certify they were indeed checked.

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CE Marking Translation

The language in which a CE marking should be translated into will depend on the Member State country the given product will be commercialized and its particular language specifications. For instance, while in France the CE marking of a product should only be translated into German, French, in Belgium they should bear French translations, and Dutch CE marking translations. Hence, manufacturers should address the designated authority of each and every country where they plan to sell their products, find out the languages required and translate accordingly.

Usually, the requirements for CE marking translation fall into three categories, all of which should be provided in the languages specified by each country.

  1. Declaration of Conformity – a conformity according to the product’s specific directive.
  2. Maintenance & Operation – any manual or document related to the operation of the product.
  3. Technical Registers – files and documents mentioning all materials and technical aspects of the product.

In any case, the documents that must be translated and submitted to the CE authority of each importing countries  often involve:

  • Marketing-related documents
  • Any product safety documentation
  • User manual and product instructions
  • Packaging and Labels


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Hence, in order to correctly and effectively translate all CE marking-related files and materials, a translation professional or translation service should not only be able to provide a high-quality translation into the necessary target-language (out of the EU’s 23 official languages) but also understand the specifics of each directive.