Singular or Plural (collective)
Thread poster: Skalione

Skalione
Bulgaria
Local time: 15:46
Bulgarian to English
Jun 12, 2014

How shall I treat the Client (the Bank) - as a Sg. (he/she) or collective (they)?

In case that the Client (the Bank) send(S) text messages in violation of this Contract and the current legislation, HE/SHE (THEY) shall fully compensate the Provider for any property damages sustained by the latter as a direct consequence of the breach of the law by the Client (the Bank), including penalties paid by the Provider to third parties


 

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
It Jun 12, 2014

Shouldn't the bank, as an institution, be referred to as "it'' rather than being personified?

[Edited at 2014-06-12 09:02 GMT]


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:46
English to German
+ ...
See link Jun 12, 2014

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/Pages/home.aspx

 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:46
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Avoid the problem Jun 12, 2014

I would most likely avoid the problem by writing nouns instead of pronouns, and here the client is clearly singular. (& I'd write "In the case that..." or "If..."). e.g.:

If the Client (the Bank) sends text messages in violation of this Contract and the current legislation, the Client shall fully compensate the Provider for . . . .

Oliver


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Caveat Jun 12, 2014

Skalione wrote:

How shall I treat the Client (the Bank) - as a Sg. (he/she) or collective (they)?

In case that the Client (the Bank) send(S) text messages in violation of this Contract and the current legislation, HE/SHE (THEY) shall fully compensate the Provider for any property damages sustained by the latter as a direct consequence of the breach of the law by the Client (the Bank), including penalties paid by the Provider to third parties


Apart from the singular/plural question, I certainly wouldn't start the conditional sentence above with "In case that", but rather "In the event that..." or "Should the Client (Bank) send text messages... "

The distinction between damage (physical to property) and damages (compensation payments) also seems, if not erroneous, at least blurred in the sample text.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Baby and bathwater, again Jun 12, 2014

DJ Hartmann wrote:

Shouldn't the bank, as an institution, be referred to as "it'' rather than being personified?

[Edited at 2014-06-12 09:02 GMT]


Not if you ask me. When referring to "it" as an institution, then fair enough. When referring to the bank, company, etc, as a set of component parts (departments, people...) I quite freely use "they".

I often use both when describing companies for a fruit and veg magazine client. You might start of with "X is a family business located in.... It was founded in... "... and end up with something like " Today, they export their produce to several countries..."

Number is in the eye of the beholder...


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
It versus they Jun 12, 2014



Indeed, in article in the link, the bank is referred to as "it". However, when referring to the Committee, you might use "they/their". Then again, I wouldn't take this example as proof that a company, bank or similar entity should always be referred to in the singular every time we mention it, especially if describing joint efforts.

PS: Right now I'm translating a text and I just wrote "the Administration and its suppliers "... but further down the page I might just as easily refer to the Admin as "they", as long as it sits comfortably within the whole.
However, I do agree that in legal contracts it's best to keep everything clear cut and avoid any hint of ambiguity from the use of pronouns. The Spanish "su" is a constant bugbear in this sense.

[Edited at 2014-06-13 08:24 GMT]


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:46
English to German
+ ...
I agree with neilmac Jun 12, 2014

I read "company and its" and "company and their".

Try "Microsoft and its" and "Microsoft and their", and you will get millions of Google hits for both versions.


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:46
French to English
Single party to a contract Jun 12, 2014

Ergo "it".
Oliver is also correct, and if you want to go proper old school, then no pronoun should be used at all, just repeat the noun. Probably not a bad idea here, just to be crystal clear which party is being referred to.

Nothing wrong with "they" in other less formal contexts, certainly (in my view, at least) but best avoided for what appears to be a contract.

I'd be interested to see what kind of text message causes property damage(s) though...icon_smile.gif


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:46
German to English
Really "bank" and "text messages"? Jun 12, 2014

Company names are almost never treated as collective nouns in the US in any context. In the US, if the department or the employees are meant, then you really have to write "The employees of the bank are ...": I know that these are very often treated in the way described by neilmac in the UK, but I could also imagine that this would be odd in a contract (as suggested by Charlie and Oliver). "It" seems like the obvious (safest and probably also generally best) solution here.

I'm also wondering if the uncertainty about whether a bank has male or female genitals or none at all (it's - almost - that easy in English) is even the most questionable part of the question.

Is the source contract really about "banks" sending "text messages"?



[Edited at 2014-06-12 12:23 GMT]


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 20:46
Chinese to English
British vs American English Jun 12, 2014

As I understand it, Americans usually demand singular pronouns and verbs to go with their singular nouns: "The team plays well when it kicks well."

In British English we are more relaxed about it: "The team play well when they shoot well."

But for a contract I would choose the American style because it seems to offer greater precision, and maybe no pronouns at all, as Oliver suggested.

--
Why shouldn't a contract with a bank involve text messages? It looks like it's a mobile operator corporate contract, so it might well involve reference to specific mobile services.


 


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