Legal Translation Pitfall to Avoid: Assigning Obligations

Published on October 24, 2018 by Charles Eddy |   Share on Facebook

Original photo (without added text) by : Johanna Kosinska

A common legal translation error involves using the concept of assignment for obligations.

This mistake happens because ‘cession’ is often translated by ‘assignment’ in a legal context, and already translated texts on sites like Linguee help perpetuate this error.

For instance, ‘X ne pourra céder ses droits ou obligations’ is often seen translated as ‘X shall not assign its rights or obligations’.

This is wrong, however, because assignment refers to the transfer of a right from one party to a third party, and it isn’t used to talk about obligations.

So in the above example, one possible translation would be ‘X shall not transfer its rights or obligations’.

That being said, obligations can be transferred to a third party: by novation.

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