If a contract is translated into another contract language, inserting a language clause is important. Such language clause avoids the ambiguity that inevitably results from rewriting the contractual rights and obligations in a second contract language.
Translating a contract may be mandatory, for example, because the local law requires that contracts are drawn up in an officially recognised language in order for the contract to be valid and enforceable. To avoid ambiguity, it is important to recognise this and to determine which language version or translation will prevail in case of inconsistencies or contradictions between the two. An example of a language clause providing for the prevailing version in such circumstances is as follows:
Contract language. This Agreement has been drawn up in the English language. In case of discrepancies between the English text version of this Agreement and any translation, the English contract language version prevails.
The first sentence, establishing that the contract language is English, may sound superfluous, but a translator should not translate the word English into (the characters saying) “Chinese”. In that case, the reader of the Chinese version must be alert that another text version might be slightly different. Rather, supposedly, a translator will translate English into its translated equivalent and the meaning stays the same (ceci n’est pas en français).