Italy hopes English translation will draw foreign investment

On his first state visit to London last week, Italy’s new Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, announced an additional tweak to his country’s labour market rules that could make a significant difference to its still-ailing economy. The labour code articles will be translated into English.

By doing so, Renzi hopes to attract a greater degree of foreign investment into Italy. It is part of a grand reform that is currently being discussed in Parliament.

Announcing the translation at a press conference alongside UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Renzi said: In Italy today there are 2,100 articles dealing with rules on the labour market. Obviously, in the end you always end up in court.

“Today, we want only 50 or 60 articles, which are also written in English, for investors, so that if you carry out an operation you know how long it will take, who carried out this operation and what the rules are.”

It is an incredibly simple approach that surprisingly – especially in today’s globalised, multicultural climate – has only been adopted by a handful of countries. (These include China, the Czech Republic and Egypt.)

Making laws readily available and officially translated on the Government’s website makes perfect sense for a country such as Italy, whose economy has been ailing for the last 13 years. Symbolically, translated labour laws serve as a welcoming gesture for business owners looking to expand their global footprint and hire staff within that markets, all while avoiding any potentially unlawful practice.

This is a trend that will only develop further going forward. English, being the world’s supposed “business language” is a sensiblen first translation to have, but why stop there? Non-English speaking countries ranked among the top countries holding overseas stock in direct foreign investment include France, Germany, Hong-Kong, Japan and Switzerland. Having the necessary legal codes translated and made readily available on Government websites can only help in cutting red tape and encouraging cross-border investment.

We look forward to seeing what benefits the translation might have on Italy’s economy.