By Nick Potter

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 compiled in two e-books/paperbacks, here: 50 English Tips for Spanish Professionals and More English Tips for Spanish Professionals.

condition and celebrate

False friends are words or expressions that have a similar form to one in a person’s native language, but a different meaning. There are a lot of them, and they cause a lot of mistakes, big and small, everyday. Let’s “unfriend” a couple often used by lawyers.

Of course, condición sometimes means condition. Condiciones suspensivas in agreements are conditions precedent, for example.

However…

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

ABank X will be acting in its condition of facility agent
BThe tenant should leave the property in the same condition as when they took possession
CThere will also be indirect damage to the bank in its condition of shareholder of the company
DIn respect of the Client, given its condition as a listed company…

 

B is correct. In A and B, the Spanish word “condición” means “capacity” or “status”, not condition.

So when referring to companies’ or people’s actions, “en su condición de” translate as “in its/his/her capacity as” or simply “as”:

ABank X will be acting in its condition of capacity as facility agent
BThe tenant should leave the property in the same condition as when they took possession [CORRECT]
CThere will also be indirect damage to the bank in its condition of as a shareholder of the company
DIn respect of the Client, given its condition as a listed company…

 

Note:en su calidad de” translates the same as above – capacity/status or simply “as”.

As you can see, many false friends are only occasionally false friends – words that sometimes mean the same thing but not always.

Take the Spanish verb celebrar.

Question: Which of A – C below is correct?

AWe have taken a proactive approach by celebrating two meetings with the regulator
BThe hearing was not celebrated because there was no evidence to be practiced
CThe fans celebrated Nottingham Forest’s fifth goal against Real Madrid

 

Unfortunately, to an English reader, A would seem to suggest “salimos de juerga para celebrar que tenemos dos reuniones con el regulador”. B seems to say “no salimos de juerga”. Only C is correct.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “celebrate” means: 1. Publicly acknowledge (a significant or happy day or event) with a social gathering or enjoyable activity 2. Perform a religious ceremony. 3. Honour or praise publicly.

According to the Real Academia Española, “celebrar” means: 1. tr. Conmemorar, festejar una fecha, un acontecimiento. 2. tr. Alabar, aplaudir algo 3. tr. Reverenciar, venerar solemnemente con culto público los misterios de la religión y la memoria de sus santos. 4. tr. Realizar un acto, una reunión, un espectáculo, etc.

So the false friend is meaning 4 – Realizar un acto, una reunión, un espectáculo, etc.

In these cases, possible English translations include: to hold, to conduct, to take place:

AWe have taken a proactive approach by celebrating holding two meetings with the regulator
BNo hearing took place / was conducted celebrated because there was no evidence to be examined
CThe fans celebrated Nottingham Forest’s fifth goal against Real Madrid [FANTASY, BUT CORRECT]

 

Bonus points if you spotted yet another occasional false friend in B: practicar in the sense of practicar las pruebas, for example, does not mean practice – a correct translation would be to examine (the evidence).