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  • Betreff


    What article do you give legal entities such as banks or companies? He, it, they, etc.?
    Verfasser Pipper (917363) 23 Jan. 15, 12:35
    Ergebnisse aus dem Wörterbuch
    benchdie Bank  Pl.: die Bänke
    to bank  | banked, banked |Bankgeschäfte machen
    so.'s main bank [FINAN.]die Hausbank  Pl.: die Hausbanken
    across the board durch die Bank
    on the left bank of links  Präp.  +Gen.   - eines Flusses
    to the collecting bankan die Inkassobank
    every single onedurch die Bank [fig.]
    A bank is an "it" if you refer to personal pronouns.

    Maybe "she" if you love your bank very much ;)
    #1Verfassercodero (790632) 23 Jan. 15, 12:38
    it (singular), they (plural)
    #2VerfasserAlibabar (481461) 23 Jan. 15, 12:38
    OT, why would you ask that if English is your first language?
    #3Verfassercodero (790632) 23 Jan. 15, 12:39
    Die Bank, die Firma / die Gesellschaft

    die Banken, die Firmen / die Gesellschaften
    #4Verfasser hereami (863914) 23 Jan. 15, 12:40
    Auch : es, das Bankhaus ...
    #5Verfasser no me bré (700807) 23 Jan. 15, 12:43
    My first instinct is "it", but when the bank is personified as a "creditor"? Is it still "it"?

    #3: English is my mother tongue, but my parents didn't speak legalese to me growing up ;-)

    #4, #5: I'm asking about the English.
    #6Verfasser Pipper (917363) 23 Jan. 15, 13:06
    I would stick with "it" even in that case. (#6)

    Possibly OT: I'm not sure if BE would do the singular/plural switch for a bank that it does so frequently with concepts such as "team," i.e. singular ("the team is") if the team as a whole is meant, but plural "the team are" if the emphasis is on the members of the team -- but just in case. That rarely (if at all) happens in AE (as most people speak it, at least).
    #7Verfasser hbberlin (420040) 23 Jan. 15, 13:22
    This is always a tricky one.

    The rule in BE is that you say "it" if you are thinking about a thing, and "they" if you are thinking about the individuals that make up that thing.

    I always demonstrate it using this example:

    The team is looking forward to its next match.
    The team are wearing their new jerseys.

    Edit: It's "it" here


    And "they" here


    So even the experts aren't sure.

    #8Verfasserfailsworthpole (393014) 23 Jan. 15, 13:28
    Hier noch ein Querverweis zu einer älteren Diskussion zum Thema:
    Siehe auch: company = she???
    #9Verfasser mad (239053) 23 Jan. 15, 13:40
    Aside from things with an obvious gender (e.g. people, animals), almost everything in English is "it". Objects have no gender. This isn't anything to do with legalese.

    There are a few exceptions; ships - at least in Britain, presumably as a relict of the Empire's maritime past - are a "she". In poetry etc. you will also come across (generally) female genders for "things", like the Earth, or "Mother Earth" if you so prefer.

    The fact that bank has a gender in German is irrelevant to the English.


    Whether a single entity (e.g. a team) is treated as an individual or a collective also has a strong BE/AE difference; BE tends to use view a group made up of individual as a plural, not so in AE with a few exceptions like "police" IIRC.

    In BE the same term, e.g. Manchester United may take either a singular or plural form depending on the context, i.e. whether being referred to as a single entity or a collective. "Manchester United is up for sale" takes the singular because a single entity (the club) is being sold. "Manchester United are being sloppy with their passing" is plural because the players (plural) are being sloppy, i.e. as a collective unit made up of several individuals.
    #10Verfassersjm (380044) 23 Jan. 15, 13:46
    #10: The discussion has progressed to the articles concerning "borrower" and "lender". As a native speaker, I have never heard these referred to as anything other than "he/she". Having translated numerous contracts from German to English over the years, I still find it jarring, in English, to call a "borrower" "it" - hence the discussion. So yes, I think when it comes to contract English it is safe to say we are talking about "legalese".

    Does anyone render "Darlehensnehmer" as "the borrowing party" or something similar to make the article "it" less strange-sounding?
    #11Verfasser Pipper (917363) 23 Jan. 15, 14:09
    Just a thought, but is it necessary for you to use a pronoun?

    Would it be possible for you to just write the sentence using bank in place of it?

    Just an idea, there may be times when using the actual noun doesn't fit well in the sentence, but it would greatly improve legibility and reduce ambiguity by specifically referencing the particular entity.
    #12Verfasser Mein Fritz (862420) 23 Jan. 15, 14:34
    Yes, sometimes, when it doesn't sound too absurd. Unfortunately my current quandary means I will just have to go with "it" for creditor/lender/borrower/mortgager etc. etc.
    #13Verfasser Pipper (917363) 23 Jan. 15, 14:38
    In a contract - assuming the borrower/creditor is a party to the contract or governed by the contract - I'd go with "Borrower/Creditor" over "it/he/she". This solves any issues of ambiguity and removes the need to use "he" for a woman etc. It also avoids using "he/she" for an institute/company/bank - after all the Creditor/Licensee/Whoever could be both natural persons or juridical persons. Especially since they are normally listed at the top of the contract where it says "herafter Creditor/Licensee/Customer/Whoever".

    If I really need a placeholder a la he/she/it, my personal preference is "they" - which I realise raises other people's hackles - rather than the incorrect gender or genderless. I agree that "it" for a person sounds really strange, but so does "he" for a company or woman.

    To me the easiest solution is thus to always use the noun - and while that's my personal preference, it avoids these irksome issues, and there's nothing wrong with repeating the same noun in a legal text whose prime purpose is to be unambiguous. After all, that's why you define the term at the start and capitalise it in the text. It's not a novel/newspaper article.
    #14Verfassersjm (380044) 23 Jan. 15, 15:15
    I have not fully read all of the postings, I'll admit.
    I work for a large financial institution (bank and other financial divisions)
    In our translations, we use the rather neutral "they" for the company
    #15Verfasser RES-can (330291) 23 Jan. 15, 15:20
    @ #13, just a thought, it might help if you, in the beginning of the contract, define these terms and their relative derivatives. Like, it, its, the company's, their, theirs, etc. when referring to the creditor / lender.

    For example, "the use of it, its, etc. shall refer to the financial institution, creditor, mortgage company, lender, etc. The use of you shall mean borrower, debtor, etc...."

    It will give the contract some definition regarding pronouns and what they mean.
    #16Verfasser Mein Fritz (862420) 23 Jan. 15, 15:44
    Thanks for your replies. This isn't an easy translation question to google.
    #17Verfasser Pipper (917363) 23 Jan. 15, 16:43
    Just wanted to add this link (see last section of it); it refers to gender-neutral speech, but the same can apply to entities

    #18Verfasser RES-can (330291) 23 Jan. 15, 17:30
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