Mistranslation of “personal property”


Although not a frequent translation mistake, I have seen “personal property” translated several times literally as bienes personales. But of course there is really nothing personal about personal property! Also called “personalty” and sometimes “chattels,”  personal property is the common law counterpart of bienes muebles. This contrasts with “real property,” also called “real estate” or “realty,”  which is bienes inmuebles in Spanish. In English-speaking civil law jurisdictions, in bijural jurisidictions (such as Canada) and in international organizations such as the EU or the Council of Europe,  personal property and real property may also be referred to respectively as “movable property (or) movables”  and  “immovable property (or) immovables.” Thus, (just as a recap):

bienes muebles—personal property; personalty; chattels; movable property; movables

bienes inmuebles—real property; real estate; realty; immovable property; immovables

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s