False Friends (25): redactar; redact

Oh, no! False Friends

redacción-redaction; redactar-redact

 In legal contexts in Spanish redacción is most often used in the sense of “drafting” or “drawing up” a document, such as a contract (redacción del contrato; redactar un contrato). But their English language look-alikes “redaction” and “to redact” often have very different meanings. Indeed, although “redaction” has the general meaning of “careful editing”, in many jurisdictions the term refers to editing out, removing or concealing certain sensitive information from documents filed in court and from judicial opinions, such as personal identification (social security or bank account numbers) or the names of victims, minors, etc. before they are made public. Thus in legal contexts it’s probably advisable to reserve “redaction” for this specific meaning, while translating redacción (de documentos, contratos, etc.) as “drafting” or “drawing up.” (In Spanish courts, redacting personal information from judicial decisions is called anonimización.)*

Below is an example of a redacted court document. Most of the essential information has literally been blacked out, making it fairly incomprehensible. An Internet search reveals many articles claiming that extensive redaction is sometimes considered an abusive measure used by the courts or by governmental agencies to conceal information from the public. Also of interest are the many motions to unseal excessively redacted information from judicial records,**as well as rules of court governing the sealing and redacting of court documents.*** Links to an example of  both are provided here:





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