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viernes, 27 de marzo de 2015

English Tips for Spanish Lawyers (vi)

Por Nick Potter


In the next in this series looking at real-life examples of the most common mistakes in English by native Spanish lawyers, the lesson is not to be contrary! These and lots more invaluable tips are available in a new e-book/paperback, here: 50 English Tips for Spanish Professionals.

contrary vs contrast


When giving advice at work, you often need to set out a range of possibilities. If A happens, it could lead to B. If the client doesn’t do C, there is a possibility of D (and believe me, you really don’t want D).

These outcomes could be the opposite (contrario). Or just different.

Question:


Which ONE of A – F below is correct?

A Over-indebted households and companies are unlikely to pile up more debt; on the contrary, they are trying to pay it down
B Companies that are currently insolvent are legally required to file for insolvency. On the contrary, where insolvency is imminent, filing is an option rather than an obligation
C If the two investment banks’ valuations differ by less than 10%, the FMV is the average of the two values. On the contrary, if the difference exceeds 10%, a third investment bank shall be appointed
D If the two companies are liquidated in the same tax period as that in which the capital gain is realised, there is no limit on the use of tax losses. On the contrary, if dividends are paid out, this limitation could apply
E If the judge considers it necessary to examine evidence he will convene a hearing and, on the contrary, if he thinks that the dispute is only legal in nature, he will issue a judgment directly
F On the contrary, if the above requirements are not met, the statutory procedure for changes in conditions would need to be followed

Before you read the answer, remember:


You may think that por el contrario always means “on the contrary”. To the contrary, it doesn’t at all.
We say on the contrary to mean “quite the opposite” (al contrario, todo el contrario).

In other words, to say that something is not true:
  • Some people think that capital punishment is a deterrent. On the contrary, it is no such thing, as the experience of many countries has shown
  • Despite claims that use of electronic cigarettes risks renormalising smoking, we found no evidence to support this view. On the contrary, electronic cigarettes may be helping to reduce smoking as more people use them as an aid to quitting”
  • The fans were confident that Nottingham Forest would improve in the second half. On the contrary, they were even worse than in the first
To describe situations that are just different, we use in contrast (por el contrario, en cambio):
  • The death penalty was abolished in the UK in the 1960s. In contrast, in the US it is still used
  • Smoking is declining among males in most high-income countries. In contrast, it is increasing in males in most low- and middle-income countries and in women worldwide
  • The Forest players looked half asleep. Their opponents, in contrast, played some good and exciting football
In these examples, both statements are true. As well as in contrast, we could also say: on the other hand, however, or conversely.

So:


Only A is correct because we are saying that something is not true – on the contrary (todo el contrario).

A Over-indebted households and companies are unlikely to pile up more debt; on the contrary, they are trying to pay it down [CORRECT]

In B – F, por el contrario / en cambio has been mistranslated as “on the contrary”. This is a serious mistake because it implies that something previously mentioned is not true. To compare situations that are merely different, we use “in contrast”:

B Companies that are currently insolvent are legally required to file for insolvency. On the contrary In contrast, where insolvency is imminent, filing is an option rather than an obligation
C If the two investment banks’ valuations differ by less than 10%, the FMV is the average of the two values. On the contrary, if If, however, the difference exceeds 10%, a third investment bank shall be appointed
D If the two companies are liquidated in the same tax period as that in which the capital gain is realised, there is no limit on the use of tax losses. On the contrary On the other hand, if dividends are paid out, this limitation could apply
E If the judge considers it necessary to examine evidence he will convene a hearing and, on the contrary conversely, if he thinks that the dispute is only legal in nature, he will issue a judgment directly
F On the contrary In contrast, if the above requirements are not met, the statutory procedure for changes in conditions would need to be followed

Note: 


Contrario can mean contrary and opposite but also otherwise:

Unless stated otherwise… (salvo indicación contraria)
Unless proven otherwise… (salvo prueba en contrario)

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