lunes, 11 de mayo de 2015

English Tips for Spanish Lawyers (xii)

Por Nick Potter

In this series we look at real-life examples of the most common mistakes in English by native Spanish lawyers. These and lots more invaluable tips are available in a new e-book/paperback, here: 50 English Tips for Spanish Professionals.

allegations / execution

False friends are words or expressions that have a similar form to one in a person's native language, but a different meaning. 

According to the RAE, alegar in Spanish means: citar, traer a favor de su propósito, como prueba, disculpa o defensa, algún hecho, dicho, ejemplo.

Not surprisingly, many people translate alegación as the similar "allegation".

Question: Which ONE of A – C below is correct?

Once the appeal is filed, the other party will have five business days to make allegations
The Company has sufficient ammunition therefore to refute the Employee's allegations
Preparation of the allegations against the surcharge from the Spanish tax authorities

In English, allegation means: a claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof. A synonym is: accusation.

Examples of correct usage:
  • Barclays takes new Libor rate-rigging allegations to appeal court
  • Lionel Messi, the Barcelona and Argentina footballer, appeared in a Spanish court on Friday to defend himself against allegations of evading € 4.2m of taxes (Author's note: this would never happen at Nottingham Forest)
There are many possible translations of alegaciones, depending on the context. These include: arguments, assertions, pleadings or pleas, and statements of case.

So, only B is correct. The Employee is making accusations against the Company. Possible corrections to A and C are as follows:

Once the appeal is filed, the other party will have five business days to make allegations file pleadings / respond
The Company has sufficient ammunition therefore to refute the Employee's allegations [CORRECT]
Preparation of the allegations arguments / case against the surcharge from the Spanish tax authorities
With many false friends, context is everything.

Take ejecutar in Spanish and its noun form as seen in all kinds of Spanish business documents, ejecución

Question: In which ONE of A – F below would ejecución translate as execution?

Las medidas necesarias para la ejecución de la presente Directiva
La ejecución por el banco de la prenda sobre acciones
La ejecución de la Resolución del Tribunal
Obligaciones relativas a la gestión y ejecución de órdenes
Los derechos y obligaciones de las partes y la ejecución del contrato
Retraso en la ejecución de las obras

In English, execution can mean the following;
  • the carrying out of a plan, order, or course of action ("carrying out" or "implementation" are more commonly used than execution – however, stock brokers execute client orders, for example).
  • the carrying out of a death sentence (this shouldn't be relevant to you, unless you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong US state).
  • [legal] the process of signing a document to make it contractual or legal; the signing, sealing, and delivery of a deed (related terms in Spanish: firmar, otorgar/otorgamiento, elevar a público).
  • So: only in D above could ejecución be translated as execution. In all the other examples, execution is a false friend. Possible translations:

The measures necessary for the implementation of this Directive
The bank's enforcement of its security over shares
Enforcement of the court's judgment
Obligations relating to the management and execution of orders [by stock brokers]
The rights and obligations of the parties and performance of the contract
Delay in carrying out / completing the work

As you can see, a number of translations of ejecución are possible. As a very basic guideline I suggest the following:

Ejecución de

garantías, resoluciones, cláusulas = enforcement
contratos (cumplimiento) = execution (performance)
facultades = use
obras, instrucciones, proyectos, planes = carrying out, implementation, completion


In the case of ejecución hipotecaria, this is usually translated as mortgage enforcement when referring to proceedings in Spain (e.g. the European Court of Justice judgement of 14 March 2013 (C-415/11)). However, the equivalent proceedings are known as repossession in the UK and foreclosure in the US.

1 comentario:

Anónimo dijo...

Muy interesante! Parece que me he pasado años entendiendo mal la letra de "You can call me Al", de Paul Simon, cuando dice aquello de:

"all along, and along
there were incidents and accidents
hints and allegations" :(

Muchas gracias por sus "Tips". Looking forward to the next one. Keep on the good work!

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