the necessary changes having been made
A number of similar renderings are possible, of course.
Thought you might be amused by the following:
While we're at it, we could introduce some less common foreign phrases. I've long been partial to "mutatis mutandis" (Latin for "with the necessary changes being made"); perhaps this could best be rendered in English as "mutate mutants." People say "time flies" all the time, but rarely does anyone exclaim "tempis fuggit!" (particularly appropriate when all of one's time has flown and one is now late). To find out how a friend is doing, you could ask "V gates?" The gang slang language Nadsat from Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange is a rich source of such terms (mostly adapted from Russian), from "horrorshow" (for "good") to "droog" ("friend").
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Law Society Journal (NSW, Australia), September 1996, page 36. Cite as (1996) 34 (8) LSJ 36
Departments - Plain Language
Probably the only good thing about using mutatis mutandis is the feeling you get when you say it aloud. It draws on the particularly pleasant power of alliteration. However, other than for this pleasant distraction, we do not recommend using the phrase mutatis mutandis.
Mutatis mutandis is a Latin phrase that means: "with the necessary changes"; "changing what ought to be changed; the same except for a change of details"; "with things changed that must be changed"; "taking into consideration or allowing for changes that must be made".
Use in law
Frequent use of Latin phrases is one of the distinguishing features of the language of law. But although a phrase may have the sound and smell of the law, that alone does not make it superior or a term of art. Mutatis mutandis conveys no delicate nuance understood by lawyers alone. Its meaning is not technical or controversial. It is not a term of art.
Garner considers mutatis mutandis to be useful in formal legal writing. He gives an example applying the phrase: " ... What we have said in connection with the counterclaim applies mutatis mutandis to his defense [sic] to the complaint." He argues that the only English equivalents for this example would be far more verbose.
However, some lawyers are not careful when they use mutatis mutandis. The reader is left wondering what specifically the phrase refers to, or what 'the necessary changes' are. Even when a lawyer clearly references what they mean when they use mutatis mutandis there may be problems. This Latin phrase tends " ... to spread into documents and letters to clients. When it does that, it ought to be translated or left out".
A lawyer's use of the phrase mutatis mutandis can baffle, alienate and annoy a non-lawyer. It is daunting and looks affected. Sometimes the use of ... "foreign words and phrases give the impression that the writer is showing off". By way of comparison, what would you think of a mathematician who wrote 437/1748 instead of 1/4?
Often lawyers use a Latin phrase out of habit or haste. They have never taken time to consider its use. Other times they use it " ... believing mistakenly that the old phrase's meaning cannot be expressed in ordinary English, or that the old phrase is somehow more precise than ordinary English." This needless use of Latin has led to a tradition of mocking law: " ... As the law classically expresses it, a kitchen is 'camera necessaria pro uses cookare: cum sauce-pannis, stew-pannis, scullero, dressero, coalholo, stovis, smoak-jacko; pro roastandum, boilandum, fryandum, et plum-pudding-mixandum'."
A plain language alternative
Plain language avoids archaic words, jargon, unnecessary technical expressions and complex language. But it is not simplistic English. Plain language aims at communicating information in the most efficient and effective way possible while remaining technically correct. It achieves this by considering the needs of the intended users of the documents.
Lawyers should consider simplifying their documents and letters wherever this is possible. As words are the tools of lawyers, care should be taken in using them. Wydick recommends that: " ... A lawyer's words should not differ without reason from the words used in ordinary English." A thoughtful lawyer asks: who is going to read this document or letter? Can its content be said or explained in a plainer way? And, with foreign phrases, asks: is there an English equivalent that explains the concept as well, or better?
Using mutatis mutandis may be a convenient shorthand between lawyers, but it is unhelpful when its use seeps out to non-lawyers. Unless you know that your readers understand Latin, it is not an effective way of communicating. The phrase is no more precise than its more comprehensible English translation. For example, you could explain the concept of mutatis mutandis to mean: "What we have said about [x] document also applies to [y] document allowing for the changes in detail to [y] document that must follow."
In addition to writing in English you will better communicate information if you state clear references about how the changes you are making affect each document. It is unimportant that your alternative to mutatis mutandis is wordier. The aim of plain language is not to write short documents, but to write clear documents.
|DR. RICHARD BAVRY (X)|
PRO pts in pair: 8