Translating “hechos” across Legal Disciplines

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One of my lawyer students of Legal English recently asked me how to translate hechos, whether they are “acts,” “facts,” “events” or something else. And of course I had to reply that it depends on the context (in legal translation, context is everything). Here are a few examples from Spanish law with (possible / approximate) English translations (there may be others):

Derecho registral

  • hechos inscribibles (recordable events)

Derecho de daños

  • responsabilidad por hechos propios (personal liability)
  • responsabilidad por hechos ajenos (vicarious liability)

Derecho procesal

  • hechos aducidos (facts alleged [in pleadings, etc.])
  • hechos controvertidos (facts in issue; facts in dispute)
  • hechos no controvertidos (undisputed/uncontested facts)
  • hechos probados (proven facts; facts as found)
  • hechos notorios (facts that are common knowledge)
  • hechos notorios no necesitados de prueba (judicial facts; judicially-noticed facts)
  • hechos nuevos o de nueva noticia (new or after-discovered evidence)

Derecho penal

  • hecho típico (criminal offense; act/action/conduct defined as a criminal offense)
  • hecho constitutivo de la infracción penal (conduct constituting a criminal offense)
  • lugar de los hechos (crime scene)

Derecho tributario

  • hecho imponible (taxable event)

Derecho de familia

  • unión de hecho (nonmarital union; domestic partnership)
  • pareja de hecho (nonmarital/unmarried couple)
  • guarda de hecho (de facto guardianship)

Derecho de sociedades

  • comunicación de hechos relevantes (notice/disclosure of material events)

Derecho contable

  • hechos posteriores al cierre (events after the reporting period)

Source: Rebecca Jowers. Léxico temático de terminología jurídica español-inglés. Valencia: Tirant lo Blanch, 2015.

2 thoughts on “Translating “hechos” across Legal Disciplines

  1. Don’t forget “(comunicación de) hecho relevante” with the parenthetical text usually left out, in the securities field. I’ve seen this translated variously as “relevant fact”, “relevant event”, “significant event”, etc.

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    • Hello, Steve,
      As you can see I included “comunicación de hechos relevantes” under “Derecho de sociedades,” since this is one of the obligations of publicly-traded companies in Spain (although the expression certainly also falls under the category of “Derecho bursátil” or “Derecho de los mercados de valores..”) I translate this as “notice/disclosure of material events” since “material events” is the expression used by the US Securities and Exchange Commission” although, as you indicate, Spanish corporations often use “relevant fact/event,” etc.

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