About rights of women [translation EN-PT]

< Previous | Next >


New Member
Portuguese Brazil
What do you understand in the sentence bellow?

"A woman could not inherit such property, that was the law. A woman might go to court, these days; the suffragettes were clamoring for law reform, for women’s rights; but that day had not yet arrived, and women had few legal rights, as they had no voting rights—none." (The Accursed, by joyce Caorl oates)

The brazilian translation says that a woman could not inherit a property, however, the women could appeal to justice. I understand the opposite: once she claim their rights, the woman can be tried in court. This can change completely the meaning. Is it an ambiguity in english or is there just a translation error?
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    At the time, women could not inherit such property.
    Today, these women might go to court. But in those days, that was no possible.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    You're right that 'might go to court' is possibly ambiguous between "appeal to justice, start a law case" and "be tried, get prosecuted". I can't see anything in that part of that sentence that makes it clear. You have to look at the statements before and after to work out which ones are evidence for the two meanings. If she could not inherit, what is the point of going to law? ('Going to law' is unambiguous.) But it is surely impossible that trying to claim your rights could lead to prosecution.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think there's a distinction, if a subtle one, between going to court (as the plaintiff) and being taken to court (as the respondent). So I do think the translation is correct; it's saying that women had acquired the right to bring legal cases in court, to 'appeal to justice', but had not yet acquired the right to own their own property.

    (Of course, it does work both ways; when women acquired the right to take legal action on their own behalf, they also became liable to being sued in their own name as well. But the quoted passage doesn't refer to that directly.)
    < Previous | Next >