The Terminology of Cybercrime

Terminology ofCybercrime

In a previous post I looked at possible ways of translating “cybergrooming,” one of the criminal offenses that can be committed on the Internet. As an addition, here are some of the other terms and expressions related to what is generally known as “cybercrime” that I have collected in my readings to be included in my personal glossaries. (There may be other possible renderings. Also note that some of these terms may be written either as one word or two: i.e., “cybercrime” or “cyber crime.”)

  • cybercrime; computer crime (ciberdelito; cibercriminalidad; criminalidad informática; delito informático/telemático; ciberdelincuencia; delincuencia informática)
  • cybercriminal (ciberdelincuente; delincuente informático)
  • cybersecurity (ciberseguridad; seguridad informática)
  • cyberrisk (ciberriesgo; riesgo informático)
  • cyberinsurance (ciberseguros)
  • cyberattack (ciberataque; ataque informático; ataque digital; ataque cibernético)
  • cybersabotaje (sabotaje informático)
  • cyberterrorism (ciberterrorismo)
  • cyberespionage; cyberspying (ciberespionaje)
  • computer fraud (fraude informático; estafa informática)
  • cybertheft (hurto informático)
  • cyberextortion (ciberextorsión)
  • cyberbulling (ciberacoso)
  • child sexual grooming; sexual grooming of children (ciberacoso sexual a menores; ciberacoso sexual infantil)
  • hacking (piratería informática; intrusismo informático; acceso no autorizado a sistemas informáticos)
  • hacker (pirata informático)
  • cracking (violación de códigos de acceso)
  • identity theft (usurpación de identidad)
  • phishing (apoderamiento de datos de acceso)
  • web spoofing (suplantación de página web)
  • piggybacking (parasitismo informático)
  • denial-of-service attack, DoS attack (ataque de denegación de servicio; ataque DoS)
  • data leakage; information leakage (fuga de datos; divulgación no autorizado de datos reservados)
  • data scavenging (apropiación de información residual)


Translating “Cybergrooming”

crime scene do not cross signage
Photo by kat wilcox on

Last week one of Fundéu’s daily terminology recommendations concerned possible Spanish translations for the term “grooming” or “child grooming,” defined as “a premeditated behaviour intended to secure the trust and cooperation of children prior to engaging in sexual conduct.”*

For “cybergrooming” or “online child grooming,” Fundéu suggests ciberengaño pederasta or engaño pederasta por internet as possible renderings.** But it may be of interest to note that “cybergrooming” is widely known among Spanish penalistas and other criminal law professionals as ciberacoso sexual a menores or ciberacoso sexual infantil, and was included as a specific offense as article 183ter in a 2015 reform of the Spanish Código Penal.*** Ciberacoso sexual (a menores) likewise appears to be the preferred translation for “cybergrooming” in similar legislation in Argentina and Mexico.****

*Raymond Choo, Kim-Kwang. “Online Child Grooming: a Literature Review on the Misuse of Social Networking Sites for Grooming Children for Sexual Offences.” AIC Reports. Research and Public Policy Series, No. 103, July 2009, p. 7.


***Ley Orgánica 1/2015, de 30 de marzo, de reforma del Código Penal.

****Ley 5775 para la prevención de ciberacoso sexual a menores (grooming), Legislatura de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires (15 December 2016); Dictamen de la Cámara de Diputados de 14 de diciembre de 2016 para la Reforma del Código Penal Federal para tipificar los delitos de ciberacoso sexual y acoso sexual, así como para sancionar la difusión de fotografías o videos con contenido sexual sin la autorización de la persona afectada (

“Stepping Stones and Stumbling Blocks to Spanish-English Legal Translation”

Pitfalls of Spanish-English Legal Translation(2)

In March I was invited by the European Commission’s Spanish translators at the Directorate General for Translation (DGT) to give a conference on Spanish-English legal translation in Brussels and in Luxembourg. The conference is being published in three issues of puntoycoma, Boletín de los traductores españoles de las instituciones de la Unión Europea, and in the event it may prove of interest, the first installment entitled “Aciertos y desafíos en la traducción jurídica español-inglés” is available here:

Click to access pyc_152_es.pdf

In this article I examine four aspects of Spanish-English legal translation: “Traducciones que sí ‘encajan'” (concepts of Spanish law that fortunately have a close “functional equivalent” in Anglo-American law); “Traducciones (dudosas) generalmente aceptadas” (a controversial topic concerning generally accepted renderings that are actually mistranslations in certain contexts); “Traducciones inventadas” (a look at a couple of invented translations that, nevertheless, appear in Internet publications and elsewhere; and “Traducciones imposibles” (which addresses  the problem of translating legal terms that have no corresponding concept in Common Law).

Multiple Meanings of cuota

Legal Terms with Multiple Meanings

Cuota has no simple correspondence in English and often can’t be translated simply as “quota.” The term may denote “membership fees” or “dues” as in cuota de afiliación or cuota de socio (“membership fee”) or cuota sindical (“union dues”). In the context of social security law, cuota de cotización a la seguridad social is “social security contribution,” and refers either to a worker’s social security contribution (cuota personal) or an employer’s social security contribution (cuota patronal/empresarial). In criminal law contexts, in a day fine system (sistema de días-multa), cuota diaria is a “day-fine unit,” while in the context of tax law cuota often refers generically to “taxes due” as in cuota tributaria, cuota del gravamen or cuota del impuesto. Thus, in Spain deducciones en la cuota are “tax credits” and cuota a devolver denotes “tax refund.” When referring to a lawyer’s contingency fee, the expression is cuota litis, and pacto de cuota litis is a “contingency fee agreement” (or a “no win, no fee agreement”). And the expression cuota de mercado is simply “market share.” Finally, in many expressions cuota may certainly be translated directly as “quota” as in cuota de producción (“production quota”) and cuota de importaciones (“import quota”).

Confusing Terms: expressions with instancia

Legal Synonyms,Confusing Terms(what's the difference between..._)

tribunal de primera instancia; tribunal competente en primera instancia; tribunal competente en (primera y) única instancia; tribunal de última instancia; juzgado de primera instancia

These expressions are indeed confusingly similar, but are definitely not interchangeable. Tribunal de primera instancia is a general term for any court of first instance and can probably be best rendered in English simply as “trial court.” In contrast, tribunal competente en primera instancia denotes a “court of original jurisdiction,” i.e., a “court where an action is initiated and first heard” (Black’s Law Dictionary), which is not necessarily a first instance or trial court. Thus, competencia en primera instancia is “original jurisdiction.” As an example, in the event that a deputy or senator (diputado o senador) of the Spanish Parliament (Cortes Generales) were accused of a criminal offense, he would not be tried by a criminal first instance (or) trial court, but rather would have the privilege (called aforamiento) of being tried by the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court (Sala Segunda, de lo Penal, del Tribunal Supremo). Indeed, the Supreme Court is the “court of original jurisdiction” (tribunal competente en primera instancia) for trying Spanish deputies and senators for criminal offenses, or expressed otherwise, the Supreme Court has “original jurisdiction” (competencia en primera instancia) to hear criminal cases against deputies and senators.

If a court is described as competente en primera y única instancia (or simply en única instancia), it is a “court of first and last resort,” having original jurisdiction to first hear a case, but whose decisions are not subject to appeal. Tribunal de última instancia is a “court of last restort,” a court that hears the final appeal of a case. And, finally, in Spain juzgado de primera instancia is a specific type of court, being the first instance court for civil proceedings. In that regard, juzgado de primera instancia may be appropriately translated simply as “civil trial court.”

Multiple Meanings: pago al contado

Legal Terms with Multiple Meanings

When pago al contado refers to pago en dinero contante, it may be appropriately  translated as “cash payment” or “payment in cash.” But often the expression actually denotes making “immediate payment,” as opposed to pago a plazos (“payment in installments”). Thus, in this context a pago al contado can be made in cash (en efectivo), by credit or debit card (con tarjeta de crédito o débito) or by bank transfer (por transferencia bancaria). As an example, in my work as a freelance translator, when billing my clients my invoices show “contado” as my payment terms. Rather than expecting payment in cash, this denotes my preference for immediate payment, something that I may not get but, hey, as they say, “wishing is free.” In other respects, “payment in cash” may be rendered as pago en efectivo, pago en numerario or pago en metálico.