When considering international sales law, language is significant and must be chosen with care – particularly given the possibility for domestic courts to distort the meaning of the international legal principles contained in instruments like the CISG by applying domestic legal interpretation rules. Aside from attempting to reflect a meaning appropriate to international commercial law and the CISG, it is important not to be unnecessarily parochial. It is essential that a principle with no common law or civil law bias is adopted to ensure that "regard is to be had to its international character and to the need to promote uniformity in its application and the observance of good faith in international trade." Indeed this was recognised by the drafters of the CISG who deliberately chose what was intended to be neutral language. It is a difficult task exemplified simply by noting that there are potentially significant differences in each of the official UN language versions.
However, harmonisation of meaning and understanding can be realistically achieved by developing an international sales law thesaurus. The thesaurus has a controlled vocabulary, through which the very language of international sales law can achieve a level of uniformity. Alternative terms, phrases and expressions used in the variety of legal systems around the world are cross referenced to the controlled vocabulary. The thesaurus will serve as an important tool for uniform interpretation and overcome the trials and tribulations language difficulties.
Global Sales and Contract Law