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?

A Bank X will be acting in its condition of facility agent
B The tenant should leave the property in the same condition as when they took possession
C There will also be indirect damage to the bank in its condition of shareholder of the company
D In 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”:

A Bank X will be acting in its condition of capacity as facility agent
B The tenant should leave the property in the same condition as when they took possession [CORRECT]
C There will also be indirect damage to the bank in its condition of as a shareholder of the company
D In 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?

A We have taken a proactive approach by celebrating two meetings with the regulator
B The hearing was not celebrated because there was no evidence to be practiced
C The 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:

A We have taken a proactive approach by celebrating holding two meetings with the regulator
B No hearing took place / was conducted celebrated because there was no evidence to be examined
C The 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).

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