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notwithstanding

English translation: despite (more or less)

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:notwithstanding
English translation:despite (more or less)
Entered by: Fuad Yahya
Options:
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04:58 Aug 14, 2002
English to English translations [PRO]
Law/Patents - Law: Contract(s) / Contracts
English term or phrase: notwithstanding
I am trying to resolve a dispute in the English>Arabic language pair. The question revolves around the use of the word "notwithstanding" in contracts. The context provided reads:

Notwithstanding anything in the Articles of this agreement herein elsewhere, the total liability of the seller will be $20,000.

The respondents are so far divided into two groups:

Group One understands "notwithstanding" in the quoted sentence as a proposition that essentially means "in spite of." It means that regardless of what else might be mentioned in the contract to the contrary, the seller's total liability will be $20,000.

Group Two understands "notwithstanding" in exactly the opposite sense: The total seller liability is $20,000, but anything mentioned in the contract to the contrary shall prevail.

I am siding with the first group based on my understanding of plain English, but Group Two claims experience in the subject matter and in this kind of technical language.

Can those of you who have experience in texts of this nature parse this one for us? What does "notwithstanding" really mean here? Does it mean the same thing as in other contexts, or does it have a special, possibly contrary, meaning in contracts?

I thank you all on behalf of my English>Arabic colleagues.
Fuad Yahya
in spite of
Explanation:
I believe there is only one meaning for notwithstanding when it is used as a preposition, and that is in spite of. And so I agree with you Fuad. Regardless of what is stated in the articles, the liability is $20,000. $20,000.



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Note added at 2002-08-14 05:50:57 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Maybe the confusion may is based on the following native speaker error:

Modern American Usage, Wilson Follett: \"The commonest trouble with \'contrary\' as a noun occurs in the accurate and standard locution \'to the contrary nothwithstanding,\' which has attained some currency in a mutilated form that lops off \'nothwithstanding.\' Undoubtedly this practice defers to a feeling that a four-syllable, fifteen-letter word is something to avoid if one can. The question is: Can one? \'She believed, all previous expereriences to the contrary, that her new book would restore her to favor ... Unfortunately [in all these examples] the omitted \'notwithstanding\' is the word that does the work. Without it the idiom is as unpowered as a balloon. For \'all previous experiences to the contrary\' must be negated by some word, or the meaning is lost. A writer who finds \'notwithstanding\' unacceptable for this negative word had better give up \'to the contrary\' as well. The construction can often be replaced by \'in spite of\' or \'despite,\' with a gain in brevity: in spite of all previous experiences.\"
Selected response from:

Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 19:53
Grading comment
Thanks, Kim, and thanks everybody for educating me on this interesting point.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +5in spite of
Kim Metzger
5 +4Regardless of any other provisions..
Monica Colangelo
5 +3despite
Ildiko Santana
5 +1notwithstanding vs. unless otherwise provided
Barbara Østergaard
4 +1the others' correct answers notwithstanding...
Edward L. Crosby III


  

Answers


12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +4
Regardless of any other provisions..


Explanation:
HTH

Monica Colangelo
Argentina
Local time: 21:53
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Piotr Kurek
1 hr
  -> Thank you, Piotr

agree  MikeGarcia
8 hrs
  -> Gracias, Miguel

agree  claudia bagnardi: Group One no doubt
8 hrs
  -> Gracias, Clau

agree  Herman Vilella
3 days3 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +5
in spite of


Explanation:
I believe there is only one meaning for notwithstanding when it is used as a preposition, and that is in spite of. And so I agree with you Fuad. Regardless of what is stated in the articles, the liability is $20,000. $20,000.



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-08-14 05:50:57 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Maybe the confusion may is based on the following native speaker error:

Modern American Usage, Wilson Follett: \"The commonest trouble with \'contrary\' as a noun occurs in the accurate and standard locution \'to the contrary nothwithstanding,\' which has attained some currency in a mutilated form that lops off \'nothwithstanding.\' Undoubtedly this practice defers to a feeling that a four-syllable, fifteen-letter word is something to avoid if one can. The question is: Can one? \'She believed, all previous expereriences to the contrary, that her new book would restore her to favor ... Unfortunately [in all these examples] the omitted \'notwithstanding\' is the word that does the work. Without it the idiom is as unpowered as a balloon. For \'all previous experiences to the contrary\' must be negated by some word, or the meaning is lost. A writer who finds \'notwithstanding\' unacceptable for this negative word had better give up \'to the contrary\' as well. The construction can often be replaced by \'in spite of\' or \'despite,\' with a gain in brevity: in spite of all previous experiences.\"


Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 19:53
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 72
Grading comment
Thanks, Kim, and thanks everybody for educating me on this interesting point.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ildiko Santana
7 mins

agree  MikeGarcia
8 hrs

agree  claudia bagnardi: Group one is right. In spite of
8 hrs

agree  vixen
9 hrs

agree  Yuri Geifman
10 hrs
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19 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
despite


Explanation:
I think you are right when siding with the first group. Based on plain understanding of the english language, like you said.. :)
You may also quote the two references (below) if the second group has some doubts still.

Main Entry: 1not·with·stand·ing
Pronunciation: "nät-with-'stan-di[ng], -wi[th]-
Function: preposition
Etymology: Middle English notwithstonding, from not + withstonding, present participle of withstonden to withstand
Date: 14th century
: DESPITE <notwithstanding their lack of experience, they were an immediate success> -- often used after its object <the motion passed, our objection notwithstanding>
~~~~

not·with·stand·ing (ntwth-stndng, -wth-)
prep.
In spite of: The teams played on, notwithstanding the rain.

adv.
All the same; nevertheless: We proceeded, notwithstanding.

conj.
In spite of the fact that; although.

[Middle English notwithstandinge(translation of Medieval Latin nn obstante) : not, not; see not + withstanding, present participle of withstanden, to resist; see withstand.]

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Note added at 2002-08-14 05:21:09 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

P.S. What a shame, spelling error in the word \"English\"! My sincere apologies even though it was the Shift key\'s fault!! ;)


    Reference: http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=notwithstanding
    Reference: http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=notwithstandi...
Ildiko Santana
United States
Local time: 17:53
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in HungarianHungarian, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Yelena.
2 hrs

agree  John Kinory: The second group is simply wrong, no two ways about it. I translate this stuff quite a lot.
2 hrs

agree  MikeGarcia
8 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
notwithstanding vs. unless otherwise provided


Explanation:
I have experience in translating legal documents and fully agree with the first interpretation of the sentence, i.e. notwithstanding is synonymous with inspite of/regardless of/without regard to.

"Group Two" would have been right in its interpretation of the sentence if the context read "unless otherwise provided" (e.g. by the terms of this Agreement).

Hope this helps you!



Barbara Østergaard
Denmark
Local time: 02:53
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in DanishDanish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  MikeGarcia
6 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
the others' correct answers notwithstanding...


Explanation:
I wanted to add my own so I could reproduce the usage notes from the American Heritage Dictionary:

"Notwithstanding (prep). Synonyms: despite, in spite of. "Notwithstanding" is the weakest of three terms used to indicate opposition of varying intensity to contrary forces or circumstances. "Despite" is used when the opposition is relatively stronger and "in spite of" when the forces are resisted most actively and vigorously."

Edward L. Crosby III
Local time: 17:53
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  MikeGarcia
6 hrs
  -> Thanks, Miguel.
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