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英语合同的特点(2)

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  英语合同的用词特点(Formal term)

  合同英语的用词极其考究,具有特定性。要求选词专业化(professional)、正式(formal)、准确(accurate)。具体体现在下列方面:

1、May, shall, must ,may not (或shall not) 的使用

May, shall , must ,may not (或shall not)对学过英语的人再熟悉不过,但在合同中用这些词时要极其谨慎。权利义务的约见定部分构成了合同的主体。这几个词如选用不当,可能会引起纠纷。

may 旨在约定当事人的权利(可以做什么),Shall约定当事人的义务(应当做什么时候), must 用于强制性义务(必须做什么),may not (或shall not)用于禁止性义务(不得做什么)。May do 不能说成can do shall do,不能说成should do 或ought to do,may not do 在美国一些法律文件可以用shall not,但绝不能用can not do或must not )

例如,在约定解决争议的途径时的,可以说:

The parties hereto shall, first of all, settle any dispute arising from or in connection with the contract by friendly negotiations. Should such negotiations fail, such dispute may be referred to the People‘s Court having jurisdiction on such dispute for settlement in the absence of any arbitration clause in the disputed contract or in default of agreement reached after such dispute occurs.

本句中的shall 和may表达准确。出现争议后应当先行协商,所以采用了义务性“约定”,如果协商解决不了,作为当事人的权利,用选择性约定may也很妥当。如果may和shall 调换位置会怎么样? 前半句的shall换用may后,意思变成了当事人可以通过协商解决,意思上说得过去,但后半句的may换用shall 后,变成了应当诉讼解决,好象一出事,就要先见官,这就有些不友好了。

本句可译:双方首先应通过友好协商,解决因合同而发生的或与合同有关的争议。如果协商未果,合同中又无仲裁条款约定或争议发生后未就仲裁达成协方的,可将争议提交有管辖权的人民法院解决。

2、正式用语(formal term)

合同英语有着严肃的风格,与其它英语作品有很大不同。

例如:

“因为”的短语多用“by virtue of ",远远多于“due to”一般不用“because of ”;

“财务年度末”一般用“at the close of the fiscal year”,而不用“in the end of the fiscal year”;

“在……之前”一般用“prior to”,而不用“before”;

“关于”常用“as regards”, “concerning”或“relating to”,而不会用“about”;

“事实上”用“in effect”,而不用“in fact”;

“开始”用“commencement”,而不用“start”或“begin”;

“停止做”用“cease to do”,而不用“stop to do”;

“何时开会并由某某主持”的表述为:The meeting shall be convened and presided by sb. 其中“召开”不用“hold 或call”,而用“convene”;“主持”不用“chair”或“be in charge of ”,而用“preside”;

“其他事项”用“miscellaneous”, 而不用“other matters/events”;

“理解合同”用“construe a contract” 或“comprehend a contract”,而不用“understand a contract”;

“认为”用“deem”,用“consider”少,不用“think”或“believe”;

“愿意做”用“intend to do”或“desrie to do”,而不用“want to do”, “wish to do”。

用词专业(Technical Terms)

合同用词不以大众是否理解和接受为转移,它是合同语言准确表达的保障。如合同出现的“瑕疵”、“救济”、“不可抗力”、“管辖”、“损毁”、“灭失”等就可能让非行业人士费解,在英语以上表达分别为defect、remedy、force majuere/Act of God、jurisdiction、damage and/or loss)。另外几乎每个合同都少不了hereinafter referred to as , whereas, in witness whereof, for and on behalf of , hereby, thereof 等虚词。这也是合同英语的一大特色。

其它例子还有:

“赔偿”用“indemnities”,而不用“compensation”

“不动产转让”用“conveyance”,而不用“trnasfer of real estate”

“房屋出租”用“tenancy”,而“财产出租”用“lease of property”

“停业”用“wind up a business”或“cease (名词是cessation) a business”,而不用“end/stop a business”

专利许可中的“特许权使用费”只用“royalities”

还款或专利申请的“宽限期”英文“grace”,

“当事人在破产中的和解”用“composition”

以实物出资为“investment in kind”

“依照合同相关规定”一般说“pursuant to provisions contained herein”或“as provided herein”等,不说“according to relevant terms and conditions in the contract”

“合同任何一方当事人不得转让本合同”英文表述为“Neither party hereto may assign this contract”,其中“hereto”表示“to the contract”,选用“Neither party to the contract”较少。

3、同义词、近义词、相关词的序列

FOR value RECEIVED,the undersigned does hereby sell, transfer, assign and set over to ______ all his right, tile and interest in and to a certain contract dated ______, 19____ by and between the undersigned and ______,a copy of which is annexed hereto.

在这里的同义词和近义词并列(如sell, transfer, assign and set over,right和 tile and interest),在英文合同里十分普遍。这是出于严谨和杜绝漏洞的考虑,有的也属于合同用语的固定模式。如:

This agreement is made and entered into by and between Party A and Party B.句中“made and entered into”和“by and between”两组分别属于同义词和相关词并列。

For and in consideration of mutual covenants and agreements contained herein, the parties hereby covenant and agree as follows: 句中“for and in consideration of ”, “covenants and agreements”三组同义司和近义词并列。

The parties have agreed to vary the Management on the terms and subject to the conditions contained herein. 这里的“on the terms”和“subject to the conditions”是一个意思都表示“依照本协议的条款规定”。合同条款的固定模式是“terms and conditions”

再例如:

“Party A wishes to be released and discharged from agreement as from the feective date”,一句中的“realease”和“discharge”意思几乎相同。

并列的词还有:
ships and vessels
support and maintenance
licenses and permits
charges, fees, costs and expenses
any and all
any duties, obligations or liabilities
the partners, their heirs, successors and assigns

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