Among the ellipses that constantly appear in legal Spanish documents, in procedural law contexts the expressions la absolutoria and la condenatoria obviously refer to sentencias (“judgments”): la sentencia absolutoria; la sentencia condenatoria.
But (¡ojo!) the correct English rendering will depend on whether the text to be translated concerns civil or criminal procedure. In civil proceedings la absolutoria refers to a “judgment for the defendant,” while la condenatoria denotes a “judgment for the plaintiff (or) claimant.” In contrast, in the context of criminal proceedings la absolutoria denotes a “judgment of not guilty” or an “acquittal,” while la condenatoria is a “judgment of guilty” or a “conviction.” Thus,
- sentencia absolutoria =
- judgment for the defendant (in civil proceedings)
- acquittal (of the defendant in criminal proceedings)
- sentencia condenatoria =
- judgment for the plaintiff/claimant (in civil proceedings)
- conviction (of the defendant in criminal proceedings)
4 thoughts on “Ellipsis in Legal Spanish: la absolutoria; la condenatoria”
Thank you, Rebecca. I always appreciate your attention to these sorts of details which are often overlooked but are so critical.
Hi, Jason. There are actually dozens of ellipses in legal Spanish. Lawyers, judges and other legal professionals seem to have a telegraphic language that is not always obvious to nonlawyer translators. I’ll include other examples of legal ellipses in future blog entries.
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