How to translate de una parte and de otra parte into English (contract translation tip 9)

How should you translate into English the terms de una parte and de otra parte that you find at the start of Spanish contracts?


What’s the job of de una parte and de otra parte in a Spanish contract?

If you’ve read a couple of Spanish contracts, this seems obvious. But there is a trick to it.

De una parte and de otra parte, which you find in the section titled reunidos or comparecen, introduce the representatives or agents of the parties, not the parties themselves, as occurs in the introductory clause of English contracts.

Whom these agents represent — maybe themselves — is usually mentioned in the following paragraph, which may be titled intervienen, actúan or actuando. Sometimes this paragraph is not be titled at all and forms part of the preceding reunidos or comparecen section.

The representatives and parties may also be mentioned together in the de una parte/de otra parte paragraphs. But even in this case, the representatives usually come first.

Typical introductory clauses in a Spanish contract

How should you translate de una parte and de otra parte into English?

You have three options.

1. Translate into UK English

Translate de una parte as “of the one part” and de otra parte as “of the other part”.

2. Translate into US English

Translate de una parte as “of the first part” and de otra parte as “of the second part”.

3. Leave it out

You might want to leave these terms out of your translation for one of two reasons.

One, because the above traditional options (1 and 2) are not recommended by modern English drafting guidelines, the philosophy behind which is to get rid of unnecessary legalese.

Second, because using the traditional legalese options may be incorrect and misleading, depending on the wording of the Spanish contract.

Why? Because in English contracts these terms introduce the parties, not their representatives, to whom de una parte/de otra parte most often refer.

Thus, you can simply translate the title reunidos as “appearing/acting (herein)” and list the representatives below.

You may in some cases be able to translate reunidos as “between”. Although, as described in this post*, you may have to recast to avoid the potential error mentioned above.

* This post goes into greater detail on how and why the introductory clauses of Spanish and English contracts differ.


See here.

Written by Rob

Rob Lunn is a freelance legal translator based in Spain. He translates from Spanish and Catalan into English.

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