False Friends Fridays: imposición and “imposition”

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In legal contexts imposición (and imponer) can rarely be rendered literally as “imposition” (or “to impose”). In banking law imposición refers to a “deposit,” as in fecha de imposición (“deposit date”); imposición a plazo fijo (“time deposit”); imposición minima (“minimum deposit”) or “imposición en efectivo (“cash deposit”). In the context of tax law imposición denotes “taxation:” imposición directa (“direct taxation”); imposición indirecta (“indirect taxation”); doble imposición (“double taxation”) or convenio de doble imposición (“double tax treaty,” “treaty for the avoidance of double taxation”).

In procedural law imposición de costas is a court’s “award of costs.” Se imponen a la parte demandada las costas indicates that the “defendant is ordered to pay (the plaintiff’s/claimant’s) costs,” usually expressed in English from the perspective of the successful party, in this case as “plaintiff/claimant is awarded costs.” And in the context of criminal law, imposición de la pena refers in general to “sentencing,” as in imponer pena de prisión (“to sentence to prision,” “to impose a prison sentence”); imponer pena de multa (“to fine,” “to impose a fine”) or imponer la pena de privación del derecho de conducir (“to suspend/ revoke a driver’s license,” “to disqualify from driving”).

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