Shall/will

English translation: Shall

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:Shall/will
English translation:Shall
Entered by: Cathalina Depoorter
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09:44 Dec 5, 2016
English to English translations [PRO]
Law/Patents - Law: Contract(s) / Terms and conditions
English term or phrase: Shall/will
I was wondering which word to use when writing/translating terms and conditions. I often see companies that only use "shall" whereas other companies only use "will" or a combination of both. Some even use only the present tense.
Could anyone tell me what is correct?
Thank you!
Cathalina Depoorter
Belgium
Local time: 16:48
Shall
Explanation:
Both are possible, but "shall", which here has a sense of obligation and not merely of futurity, is stronger and clearer.
Selected response from:

Neil Crockford
Local time: 15:48
Grading comment
Thank you all for participating in the discussion!
I see that there is a lot of disagreement regarding this subject. Before this discussion I was not so sure whether to use "shall", as I was afraid that the text would become too old-fashioned that way. I now know that was because I often saw for ex. general conditions in which only "shall" was used and to be honest, that makes it indeed look a bit "weird" (not really pleasant to read). I think Tony M describes very well in only a few words how we should use both "shall" and "will". In any case we should not simply use "shall" or "will" randomly, there really is a difference between the two!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +14Shall
Neil Crockford
5 -3will
W Schouten
Summary of reference entries provided
A minefield, except in legal documents
B D Finch

Discussion entries: 19





  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -3
will


Explanation:
shall is a bit old fashioned

W Schouten
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:48
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in DutchDutch, Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  danya: not in the legal context
41 mins

neutral  Tony M: As Danya says, there is an important difference in a legal context between the simple future tense and the prescriptive use of 'shall'. It would be quite wrong to replace 'shall' with 'will' in situations where it is prescriptive.
48 mins

neutral  Kirsten Bodart: Sorry no. Unless strictly future, 'shall' expresses obligation.
57 mins

neutral  writeaway: 100% sure? Where did you hear/read shall is a bit old-fashioned? It's much simpler in Dutch. Zal no matter what......
3 hrs

disagree  AllegroTrans: There is nothing old-fashioned about "shall" and it's clear that you haven't read many legal contracts
10 hrs

disagree  Cilian O'Tuama: in such contexts, shall implies mandatory
13 hrs

agree  philgoddard: This is perfectly OK, and increasingly common in plain-English contracts. I use it.
19 hrs

disagree  B D Finch: Better risk being thought "old-fashioned" than inaccurate or sloppy when translating a legal document. "Will" could be open to challenge as only meaning intention, not duty.
1 day 7 hrs

disagree  acetran: disagree
5 days
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11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +14
Shall


Explanation:
Both are possible, but "shall", which here has a sense of obligation and not merely of futurity, is stronger and clearer.

Neil Crockford
Local time: 15:48
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thank you all for participating in the discussion!
I see that there is a lot of disagreement regarding this subject. Before this discussion I was not so sure whether to use "shall", as I was afraid that the text would become too old-fashioned that way. I now know that was because I often saw for ex. general conditions in which only "shall" was used and to be honest, that makes it indeed look a bit "weird" (not really pleasant to read). I think Tony M describes very well in only a few words how we should use both "shall" and "will". In any case we should not simply use "shall" or "will" randomly, there really is a difference between the two!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Marijke Singer: I tend to use shall too for contracts for this reason.
4 mins

agree  EdithK
28 mins

agree  danya
34 mins

agree  Tony M: Where the intenion is prescriptive, then 'shall' is correct; where it is simply expressing a future tense, then you should use 'will' — and in a legal context, it's very important to differentiate between those two!
42 mins

agree  Kirsten Bodart: I always use shall too, unless the client insists otherwise, in which case they are wrong...
48 mins

agree  B D Finch
1 hr

agree  Charles Davis: Yes, when it is prescriptive. Tony's point is important, though; since you are often translating a future tense (from Spanish in my case) you have to consider in each case whether the ST expresses obligation or futurity and use shall or will accordingly.
1 hr

agree  Yasutomo Kanazawa
2 hrs

agree  writeaway: oeuf corse
2 hrs

agree  klp
2 hrs

agree  Yvonne Gallagher: with Charles and Tony...need to distinguish
3 hrs

agree  AllegroTrans: "shall" for obligations, "will" for something that will happen as a matter of course, or as a favour etc.
9 hrs

agree  Cilian O'Tuama
13 hrs

agree  jccantrell: When I was in the technical requirements writing business, 'shall' indicated something that must be done to satisfy the contract, 'will' was used as something to aim for but not achieving it would not jeopardize the contract.
1 day 6 hrs

disagree  Charlesp: if the choice is between shall or will, that is one story.
1 day 8 hrs

agree  acetran
5 days
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Reference comments


1 hr peer agreement (net): +2
Reference: A minefield, except in legal documents

Reference information:
The well known story of the Scotsman drowning in the Thames and the Englishman drowning in the Clyde points out that it all depends where the speaker/writer and their audience are from. However, with legal documents, Neil is right. Here's an attempt at explanation:


    https://goo.gl/iDlYMy
B D Finch
France
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  Cilian O'Tuama: Nice. FWIW, "shall" was not part of my vernacular growing up.
12 hrs
  -> Thanks Cilian.
agree  Björn Vrooman: Fascinated by the chart on that page, I had somehow overlooked that you had already pointed to the Thames example. My apologies. I think your link is a good example of why "shall" is disappearing in AmE, even in legal documents. But that's North America.
1 day 8 hrs
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