labrar una acta

Porteño

Member Emeritus
British English
Hello forumers (just to be different),

I've been fighting with this expression for years when translating reports of investigations into damage arising from sinkings, collisions, fires, etc. of ships. There are many instances here in Argentina (where lawyers rule!) where people are required to 'labrar una acta' to state the results of an investigation, be it a car accident, an argument in a bar resulting in a fight and injury, a dispute between the players and the referee in a soccer game, etc., etc. - the list is endless.

Since, as far as I am aware, such formalities are not usual in countries, mainly Anglo-Saxon, where 'common' law prevails, I've always had difficulty in coming up with a reasonable translation into English.

The literal translation of 'preparing/making a sworn statement', doesn't sound right to my British ears. Has anybody got a better idea? I've searched the WR but haven't found anything related to this.:)
 
  • Loitey

    Senior Member
    Uruguay Spanish
    Es dificil lo tuyo , aqui se le dice igual y no sé la Traducción ,¿ Podría ser ? " To legalize a Fact "
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    Yes, I know - it's much the same throughout Latin America (we have too many lawyers!!!). The point is that to 'legalise' in English is more usually concerned with making a previously 'criminal' act legally acceptable as the result of a Parliamentary decision. For example, homosexual behaviour between consenting adults over the age of 21 was legalised in 1957. Prostitution has not yet been legalised.

    In the case I am referring to it is simply a matter of signing a joint statement between two parties agreeing to a specific, something which would not require a legal deed under 'common' law.

    But thanks anyway. All suggestions are welcome.
     

    silvia fernanda

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hola,
    cosa dificil has pedido.
    Por labrar encontré: to issue a written statement y to draw up ( a document)
    por acta encontré: written record, document which certifies...

    No sé si esto te servirá

    silvia
     

    cipotarebelde

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I was coming here for answers and found only more questions... ;-)

    Maybe the situation is that the acta, depending on what it is, is translated differently into English. Sometimes it is a written agreement, sometimes a signed record, sometimes an affidavit. Because, as I understand it, it is not always a sworn statement. Am I right?

    I guess I have be more diligent in finding out what kind of "acta" we are levantando or labrando at any given moment in order to know what the English should be?
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    I was coming here for answers and found only more questions... ;-)

    Maybe the situation is that the acta, depending on what it is, is translated differently into English. Sometimes it is a written agreement, sometimes a signed record, sometimes an affidavit. Because, as I understand it, it is not always a sworn statement. Am I right?

    I guess I have be more diligent in finding out what kind of "acta" we are levantando or labrando at any given moment in order to know what the English should be?

    Precisely. I have just had a case in point where the document was in fact merely the minutes of a meeting duly signed by all the participants where they had agreed to undertake various tasks. Whether or not this document has any force in law I have really no idea (I am not a lawyer, just an accountant).:)
     

    Nicholas Basily

    Member
    Argentina - English and Spanish
    Hi Porteño, just a note to let you know it's "labrar UN acta" for the same reason we say "el agua" or "un hada" or "el hacha". Cheers!
     

    luchosays

    New Member
    Spanish/Cuba
    labrar has the meaning of gradually add to something

    levantar also points in the direction of "building"

    to build a record of the case or facts
     

    cipotarebelde

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I started reading this again with the new posts and it occurs to me in the original post that it simply refers to "making a written statement". I am not sure that means it is a "sworn" statement, which here would be a "declaración jurada".
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    Thank you later contributors to solving this conundrum. I have to say I like your suggestion cipotarebelde, it makes a lot of sense, particularly since in many cases it is not strictly a sworn statement even though it is made to the local authorities, usually the Argentine Coast Guard whose jurisdiction appears to much broader than their UK or US counterparts.
     
    Last edited:

    pbweill

    Member
    English-USA
    I am thinking something like "file." My context is that the representative of a funeral home is authorized by the informant (person reporting the death) to "labrar" (complete, fill out, file) the certification of death for Argentina, which must be filled out by hand.
     

    Polyglot Jurist

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    I came across this in the first episode of "The Kingdom" (Argentinian TV show on Netflix). After the guy dies, the prosecutor sends an investigator to talk to the accused and says "decile de qué se lo acusa, leele los derechos, labrá el acta".

    I'm a lawyer in Canada. Here, the instruction would be to "go take his statement" in this context. I agree with others that the exact translation would vary depending on the situation. In its English subtitles for the show, Netflix has translated it as "fill out the form", which I don't think captures it (an English speaker would not understand this to be a form with the statement of the accused).
     
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