French Legal Translation and False Friends
By Maeva Cifuentes
In French legal translation, it is paramount to use terminology accurately. Confusing false friends is a mistake neither you nor your client can afford. A professional legal translator will be aware of the nuances. Although there is no substitute for studying both systems and thoroughly understanding their respective terminologies, it’s good to have an idea of some betraying words to watch out for.
Some of these words function as cognates in layman English, which makes them even trickier when drafting legal texts. Often the cognates that work plain English have no meaning in legal English. Double check all words that may look like your friends!
|Action||Share in a company, while in legal English ‘action’ means a lawsuit.|
|Acte||Legal files, records, and dossiers.|
|(société) Anonyme||Publicly held company. Does not mean an anonymous company.|
|Associé||Partner (in a law firm)|
|Audience||Hearing, pleading in court|
|Bail||Real estate lease|
|État civil||A person’s vital statistics|
|Ignore||Not being aware of|
|Réalise||Carry out, effectuate|
|Rédaction||Write, prepare, draft|
|Transaction||Settlement of a dispute|
Do you know any other false friends in Legal French and English?