What is the literal meaning of Article 82(1) GDPR in each of the EU’s 24 official languages?

GDPRI’m trying to work out what Article 82(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC) says and means in each of the 24 official languages of the EU institutions, and I’d be very grateful for your help. In English, Article 82(1) GDPR provides

Any person who has suffered material or non-material damage as a result of an infringement of this Regulation shall have the right to receive compensation from the controller or processor for the damage suffered.

As I have said before on this blog (here, here, here), I think that this formulation is rather odd. It does not provide, in the present tense, that a person whose rights have been infringed “has” the right to receive compensation. Instead, it provides, in a much more congtingent fashion, that a plaintiff “shall have” such a right, which seems to imply that there is something more to be done in national law before plaintiffs actually have the claim. Although the language seems contingent, it does not replicate any of the usual strictures in a Directive, that Member States shall “provide” or “ensure” or “introduce” or “lay down” measures to achieve an outcome, such as a claim for compensation. Even so, the formulation in Article 82(1) GDPR still seems to envisage some national law mechanism in ensuring that a plaintiff “shall” have a claim to compensation. I’m interested in whether the text of Article 82(1) GDPR in other official languages uses a version of the present tense, or whether the formulation is as contingent as it seems to be in English. I have, therefore, set out below the text of that Article in each of the 24 official languages; I have highlighted the words that seem to me to be most relevant to that question; and I have provided a first attempt at a translation of those words. What I need now is a literal translation of these provisions by a native speakers, irrespective of what the EU Commission’s official translation or Google Translate might say. In particular, I need confirmation whether I have identified the relevant words, and translated them accurately. I’m not particularly interested in the various synonyms for damages (compensation, indemnification, reparation, and so on) so much as in the accompanying verbs, and in particular in whether those verbs are clearly in the present tense or whether they are more contingent. I know what Google Translate’s crowd-sourced machine-translation says, indeed it was one of the sources I used to zero in on what seem to me to be the relevant words in the various languages, but that is as far as I am prepared to go with it, as its translations will be very heavily influenced by the EU’s official translations. Instead, as I say, I am in need of human judgment as to the appropriate literal translations of the various texts of Article 82(1) GDPR.

The literal meaning of the precise wording may very well matter a very great deal in assessing whether Article 82(1) is sufficiently clear, precise and unambiguous to be horizontally directly effective. The contingent nature of the English text may not be, leading to potential problems which I have begun to explore here. Other texts may differ. For example, the French text of Article 82(1) GDPR (a le droit d’obtenir … reparation = has the right to obtain … compensation) is more likely to support a conclusion of horizontal direct effect, and the German text (hat Anspruch auf Schadenersatz = has a claim for compensation is entitled to compensation) is even more likely to do so, because they are both in the present tense (a, hat) rather than in more contingent terms. Indeed, of the 24 official languages of the EU institutions, if the assessments and translations below are correct, the text of the claim for compensation in Article 82(1) GDPR seems to be in the present tense in 19 of them: 12 are like the French text (the plaintiff “has the right to [receive/obtain] compensation”: Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, Finnish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovenian); 4 have a similar formulation 5 are like the German text (the plaintiff “is entitled to compensation”: Bulgarian, Estonian, German, Greek, Hungarian), and 3 are like the German text 2 others have a similar formulation (the plaintiff “has [a claim for/the right to] compensation”: Croatian, German, Slovak). Only 5 seem to have a contingent text like the English (the plaintiff “shall have the right to [receive] compensation”: English, Maltese, Spanish, Swedish; the plaintiff “shall be entitled to compensation”: Irish).

Moreover, of the three EEA countries, Norway has begun the process of incorporating the GDPR. The literal English translation of the Norwegian text is “shall be entitled to receive compensation”, which is a sixth example of a contingent “shall”.

All help in confirming whether this is an accurate assessment or not – via the comments below, or better via the contact page on this blog – will be very gratefully appreciated indeed. [Note: as you can see, this paragraph has been updated to reflect a consensus on the German text which is different from my own initial assessment; this is exactly why I’m grateful for all help].

Article 82(1) GDPR in the EU’s 24 official languages



BG: Bulgarski* (Bulgarian): Vsyako litse, koeto e preturpyalo materialni ili nematerialni vredi v rezultat na narushenie na nastoyashtiya reglament, ima pravo da poluchi obezshtetenie ot administratora ili obrabotvashtiya lichni danni za nanesenite vredi.

is entitled to compensation



ES: Español (Spanish): Toda persona que haya sufrido daños y perjuicios materiales o inmateriales como consecuencia de una infracción del presente Reglamento tendrá derecho a recibir del responsable o el encargado del tratamiento una indemnización por los daños y perjuicios sufridos.

shall have the right to receive … compensation



CS: Ceština* (Czech): Kdokoli, kdo v dusledku porušení tohoto narízení utrpel hmotnou ci nehmotnou újmu, má právo obdržet od správce nebo zpracovatele náhradu utrpuné újmy.

has the right to receive … compensation



DA: Dansk (Danish): Enhver, som har lidt materiel eller immateriel skade som følge af en overtrædelse af denne forordning, har ret til erstatning for den forvoldte skade fra den dataansvarlige eller databehandleren.

has the right to compensation



DE: Deutsche (German): Jede Person, der wegen eines Verstoßes gegen diese Verordnung ein materieller oder immaterieller Schaden entstanden ist, hat Anspruch auf Schadenersatz gegen den Verantwortlichen oder gegen den Auftragsverarbeiter.

has a claim for compensation is entitled to compensation



ET: Eesti keel (Estonian): Igal isikul, kes on kandnud käesoleva määruse rikkumise tulemusel materiaalset või mittemateriaalset kahju, on õigus saada vastutavalt töötlejalt või volitatud töötlejalt hüvitist tekitatud kahju eest.

is entitled to … compensation



EL: Elliniká* (Greek): Káthe prósopo to opoío ypésti ylikí í mi ylikí zimía os apotélesma paravíasis tou paróntos kanonismoú dikaioútai apozimíosi apó ton ypéfthyno epexergasías í ton ekteloúnta tin epexergasía gia ti zimía pou ypésti.

is entitled to compensation



EN English (English): Any person who has suffered material or non-material damage as a result of an infringement of this Regulation shall have the right to receive compensation from the controller or processor for the damage suffered.

shall have the right to receive compensation



FR Français (French): Toute personne ayant subi un dommage matériel ou moral du fait d’une violation du présent règlement a le droit d’obtenir du responsable du traitement ou du sous-traitant réparation du préjudice subi.

has the right to obtain … compensation



GA Gaeilge (Irish): Aon duine a mbaineann damáiste ábhartha nó neamhábhartha dó mar thoradh ar shárú an Rialacháin seo, beidh sé i dteideal cúiteamh a fháil ón rialaitheoir nó ón bpróiseálaí as an damáiste a bhain dó.

shall be entitled to compensation



HR Hrvatski (Croatian): Svaka osoba koja je pretrpjela materijalnu ili nematerijalnu štetu zbog kršenja ove Uredbe ima pravo na naknadu od voditelja obrade ili izvršitelja obrade za pretrpljenu štetu.

has the right to compensation



IT Italiano (Italian): Chiunque subisca un danno materiale o immateriale causato da una violazione del presente regolamento ha il diritto di ottenere il risarcimento del danno dal titolare del trattamento o dal responsabile del trattamento.

has the right to obtain compensation



LV Latviešu* (Latvian): Jebkurai personai, kurai šis regulas parkapuma rezultata ir nodarits materials vai nematerials kaitejums, ir tiesibas no parzina vai apstradataja sanemt kompensaciju par tai nodarito kaitejumu.

has the right … to receive compensation



LT Lietuviškai* (Lithuanian): Bet kuris asmuo, patyres materialine ar nematerialine žala del šio reglamento pažeidimo, turi teise iš duomenu valdytojo arba duomenu tvarkytojo gauti kompensacija už patirta žala.

has the right … to receive compensation



HU Magyar* (Hungarian): Minden olyan személy, aki e rendelet megsértésének eredményeként vagyoni vagy nem vagyoni kárt szenvedett, az elszenvedett kárért az adatkezelotol vagy az adatfeldolgozótól kártérítésre jogosult.

is entitled to compensation



MT Malti* (Maltese): Kwalunkwe persuna li tkun garrbet xi dannu materjali jew mhux materjali b’rizultat ta’ ksur ta’ dan ir-Regolament ghandu jkollha d-dritt li tircievi kumpens mill-kontrollur jew il-processur ghad-dannu mgarrab.

shall have the right to receive compensation



NL Nederlands (Dutch): Eenieder die materiële of immateriële schade heeft geleden ten gevolge van een inbreuk op deze verordening, heeft het recht om van de verwerkingsverantwoordelijke of de verwerker schadevergoeding te ontvangen voor de geleden schade.

has the right … to receive compensation



PL Polskie* (Polish): Kazda osoba, która poniosla szkode majatkowa lub niemajatkowa w wyniku naruszenia niniejszego rozporzadzenia, ma prawo uzyskac od administratora lub podmiotu przetwarzajacego odszkodowanie za poniesiona szkode.

has the right to obtain … compensation



PT Português (Portuguese): Qualquer pessoa que tenha sofrido danos materiais ou imateriais devido a uma violação do presente regulamento tem direito a receber uma indemnização do responsável pelo tratamento ou do subcontratante pelos danos sofridos.

has the right to receive compensation



RO Româna* (Romanian): Orice persoana care a suferit un prejudiciu materialesau moral ca urmare a unei încalcari a prezentului regulament are dreptul sa obtina despagubiri de la operator sau de la persoana împuternicita de operator pentru prejudiciul suferit.

has the right to obtain compensation



SK Slovenský* (Slovak): Každá osoba, ktorá utrpela majetkovú alebo nemajetkovú ujmu v dôsledku porušenia tohto nariadenia, má právo na náhradu utrpenej škody od prevádzkovatel’a alebo sprostredkovatel’a.

has the right to compensation



SL Slovenscina* (Slovenian): Vsak posameznik, ki je utrpel premoženjsko ali nepremoženjsko škodo kot posledico kršitve te uredbe, ima pravico, da od upravljavca ali obdelovalca dobi odškodnino za nastalo škodo.

has the right … to receive compensation



FI Suomalainen (Finnish): Jos henkilölle aiheutuu tämän asetuksen rikkomisesta aineellista tai aineetonta vahinkoa, hänellä on oikeus saada rekisterinpitäjältä tai henkilötietojen käsittelijältä korvaus aiheutuneesta vahingosta.

has the right to receive … compensation



SV Svenska (Swedish): Varje person som har lidit materiell eller immateriell skada till följd av en överträdelse av denna förordning ska ha rätt till ersättning från den personuppgiftsansvarige eller personuppgiftsbiträdet för den uppkomna skadan.

shall have the right to compensation


European Economic Area (EEA): Since the GDPR is a text with EEA relevance, its incorporation into domestic law in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway is also relevant. In Norway, the Norwegian translation of the GDPR, Article 82(1) provides:

Enhver person som har lidd materiell eller ikke-materiell skade som følge av en overtredelse av denne forordning, skal ha rett til å motta erstatning fra den behandlingsansvarlige eller databehandleren for den forvoldte skaden.

shall be entitled to receive compensation (updated)


* My apologies. Due to limitations on the font set on this theme, I had to transliterate Bulgarian and Greek, and drop some accents in Czech, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, and Slovenian. I am very sorry about this. I will try to upgrade my font set here; please bear with me for now.

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