The Acquis Communautaire (AC) is the total body of European Union (EU) law applicable in the the EU Member States. This collection of legislative text changes continuously and currently comprises selected texts written between the 1950s and now. As of the beginning of the year 2007, the EU had 27 Member States and 23 official languages. The Acquis Communautaire texts exist in these languages, although Irish translations are not currently available. The Acquis Communautaire thus is a collection of parallel texts in the following 22 languages: Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, German, Greek, English, Spanish, Estonian, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Maltese, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene and Swedish.
The data release by the JRC is in line with the general effort of the European Commission to support multilingualism, language diversity and the re-use of Commission information.
The JRC did not receive an authoritative list of documents that belong to the Acquis Communautaire. In order to compile the document collection distributed here, we selected all those CELEX documents (see below) that were available in at least ten of the twenty EU-25 languages (the official languages of the EU before Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007) and that additionally existed in at least three of the nine languages that became official languages with the Enlargement of the EU in 2004 (i.e. Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Maltese, Polish, Slovak and Slovene). The collection distributed here is thus an approximation of the Acquis Communautaire which we call the JRC-Acquis. The JRC-Acquis must not be seen as a legal reference corpus. Instead, the purpose of the JRC-Acquis is to provide a large parallel corpus of documents for (computational) linguistics research purposes.
The linguistic research interest of the JRC-Acquis
Generally speaking, parallel corpora are useful for all types of cross-lingual research. The value of a parallel corpus grows with its size and with the number of languages for which translations exist. While parallel corpora for some languages exist abundantly, there are few or no parallel corpora for most other language pairs. To our knowledge, the Acquis Communautaire is the biggest parallel corpus in existence, if we take into consideration both its size and the large number of languages involved. The most outstanding advantage of the Acquis Communautaire - apart from being freely available - is the number of rare language pair combinations (e.g. Maltese-Estonian, Slovene-Finnish, etc.).
The AC and other Community legislation is publicly available on the European Commission's web sites. The Optima group of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy, has attempted to identify the documents that are part of the AC, has downloaded them and converted them to XML format. The Bulgarian and Romanian documents were processed by the Romanian Academy of Sciences. In further processing steps, the texts were cleaned of their footers and annexes, and they were sentence-aligned twice: once using Vanilla and once using HunAlign. Instead of using a single pivot language, all possible 231 language pair combinations were aligned individually. This is useful due to the n-to-n relationship between aligned sentences, which often differs depending on the language pair involved.
For some of the documents, only preliminary translations were available. For the online texts in some of the languages, only the title has been translated, but the text displayed is English. An automatic language recognition tool was therefore used to filter out those texts that are displayed as being one language, but which are actually English. No manual check was carried out.
The Publications Office of the European Union (OP) manages the distribution rights of this aligned multilingual parallel corpus. OP agreed that the corpus can be given to research partners for non-commercial use. See the section on licensing issues, below.
The JRC-Acquis corpus (version 3.0) is currently available in 22 languages with the following distribution:
Language ISO code
Number of texts
Total No words (text + signatures + annexes):
Total No words
Total No characters
Average No words
Total No words
Total No words
Size of version 3.0 of the JRC collection of the Acquis Communautaire in 22 of the official languages of the European Union. Numbers are given separately for the text body (the main text), the signature and the annexes.
Statistics on the alignment with Vanilla:
- Total of 4,350,447 aligned documents (all languages);
- Total of 243,187,303 links (all languages);
- Average of 18,833 aligned documents per language;
- Average of 1,052,759 links per language pair (average of all language pairs);
- Average of 85.43% of one-to-one links.
The two resources are rather similar in nature as they are both based on the Acquis Communautaire, but they are not identical and can both serve different purposes.
The main differences are the following:
- The collection of documents of both resources should mostly be the same, but they are not identical as both resources were collected in different ways. None of the resources is exactly equivalent to the Acquis Communautaire. The criteria for the collection of the JRC-Acquis were rather loose (all documents were collected which were available in at least ten languages of which at least three 'new' EU languages) so that the JRC-Acquis is bigger.
- The DGT Translation Memory is a collection of translation units, from which the full text cannot be reproduced. The JRC-Acquis is mostly a collection of full texts with additional information on which sentences are aligned with which others.
- Most parts of the DGT Translation Memory have been corrected manually using the Euramis alignment editor, while the alignment of the JRC-Acquis documents was done using the two alternative alignment software tools Vanilla and HunAlign, without manual correction.
- For the cleaning and pre-processing of the texts, different methods and tools were used.
- Most JRC-Acquis documents are acompanied by information on the manually assigned Eurovoc subject domain classes so that the JRC-Acquis can also be used to train automatic multi-label classification software.
Acquis Communautaire corpus
According to an agreement with the Publications Office of the European Union (OP), the AC corpus can be used and distributed for research purposes, but the following usage conditions must be adhered to:
The European Communities consider legislative and quasi-legislative documents published in the Official Journal of the European Union and related COM and SEC series as well as charters and treaties and ECJ case-law to be in the public domain. Prior written permission is thus not required for their reproduction/translation, and they may be reproduced/translated freely without restriction, including for the purpose of further non-commercial dissemination to final users, subject to the condition that appropriate acknowledgement is given to the European Communities and to the source, and provided that the additional guidelines set out below are respected.
- Whenever a document is reproduced verbatim from a source other than the printed version of the Official Journal of the European Union, a prominently positioned disclaimer should read: 'Only European Community legislation printed in the paper edition of the Official Journal of the European Union is deemed authentic.'
- For the reasons stated in the disclaimer above, it is advisable to ensure that translations are made from the printed, authentic version of the Official Journal. This precaution, while minimizing the risk of error, does not confer any legal status whatsoever to the translated text. The following notice shall accompany the translated text, printed below the acknowledgement: 'Originally published in the official languages of the European Union in the Official Journal of the European Union by the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. Responsibility for the translation into [specify language] from the original [specify language] edition lies entirely with [name of translation copyright holder].' Moreover, please note that we do not consider a "further commercial dissemination" the inclusion, as reference material for consultation purposes, of small amounts of relevant legislative texts in articles/thesis/studies/reports/books issued by third-party authors or publishers, whatever the means, and disseminated subject to payment.
Unlike the AC corpus, the EuroVoc Thesaurus must not be used or disseminated without prior written permission from the OP. If you want to get the rights to use Eurovoc and to receive a copy of the multilingual thesaurus, please contact OP at OP-INFO-COPYRIGHT@publications.europa.eu, mentioning the file reference number 2005-COP-395. To our knowledge, the licence is free of charge for research purposes. For a commercial licence, please contact OP.
AC Corpus - version 3.0 (by language)
AC aligned corpus using Vanilla aligner
AC aligned corpus using HunAlign
By downloading these resources, you agree to the usage conditions.
Previous version: JRC-ACQUIS Multilingual Parallel Corpus, Version 2.2.
Click here to see a history of changes regarding the preparation of this corpus.
A description of the JRC-Acquis corpus (version 2.2) was published in the paper below. Please use this reference publication when referring to the JRC-Acquis.
Steinberger Ralf, Bruno Pouliquen, Anna Widiger, Camelia Ignat, Tomaž Erjavec, Dan Tufis, Dániel Varga (2006). The JRC-Acquis: A multilingual aligned parallel corpus with 20+ languages. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'2006). Genoa, Italy, 24-26 May 2006.