Agreements are generally entered in Spanish. However, it is legally possible to enter agreements written in other languages. These agreements must be translated when presented in court. Spanish language may be necessary in consumer transactions.
Key commercial contract considerations
Recognized language of commercial agreements
It is preferable to use consumer-friendly English to ensure transparency.
There are strict requirements on the clarity of business-to-consumer contracts, and the clarity is in principle jeopardized if the consumer is not familiar with the language of the contract. In case of Austrian consumers, unless a contract is in German, it will be likely assumed that an Austrian consumer will not understand the contract.
Commercial contracts may be concluded in any language. From an enforceability perspective, the claimant has to prove that the counterparty consented to the terms, which includes understanding the language. For consumers, this evidentiary burden of proof will be a high bar to clear if the contract language is not the official language of the region of residence of the consumer.
In general, there is no issue in having contracts executed in another language (eg, English); however, if the contract has to be taken to any Brazilian authority, including courts, only Portuguese versions or sworn translations will be accepted.
The Consumer Defense Code requires the presentation of products and services to consumers in Brazil to be in Portuguese, including precise, clear and ostensive information related to their characteristics, qualities, composition, price and warranty, among others. The contract will not be binding on consumers if it is written in a way that may be difficult for the consumer to understand, and the fact that the contract is written in another language might suffice for it to be deemed difficult to understand by a consumer.
Contract law is a matter of provincial, not federal, law. Generally speaking, a contract may be expressed in any language, although English and, French are the only official languages in Canada. In some provinces, notably Québec, special steps are required to be taken if a contract is drafted in any language other than French.
The Chilean law does not contain, in principle, any provisions on the language of contracts. According to the general rules, both parties must be able to understand the essential elements of the contract in order to conclude it.
In the use of general terms and conditions towards consumers, the language of the contract in principle has to be Spanish, except for foreign language words that have been incorporated into the lexicon, i.e., that are commonly used. An exception is admissible if the consumer expressly accepts the use of general terms and conditions in another language by signing a written document in Spanish attached to the contract, and obtains a copy of the contract in Spanish.
Generally, contracts signed in other languages are acceptable, but a Chinese translation should be provided for reference if the contracts are submitted to the relevant Chinese authorities or courts.
As per Resolution 486 and 351, the filing with the relevant authority to register intellectual property rights must be in Spanish. Nonetheless, if the documents or agreements are in a different language they will be accepted provided that they are translated to Spanish.
Czech law does not set any language requirement. However, commercial agreements should be comprehensible to both parties. Authorities generally require translations to Czech. Most commercial agreements are in Czech. At the same time use of English is very common (typically when one of the parties is a foreign entity or English language template is used to avoid translation costs).
Commercial contracts in a business-to-business transaction are often in English, although Danish is the most common language.
In a business-to-consumer contract, Danish is preferable. In addition, Danish consumer law requires that specific compulsory information is provided in Danish if the product or service has been marketed in Danish by the trader, and unless the consumer has consented to receive the information in another language.
There are generally no language requirements for commercial agreements. Most B2B agreements are drafted in English or Finnish.
There is no requirement under French law that business-to-business contracts must be in French.
However, if documentation is provided to French consumers, the contract should at a minimum specify which party is responsible for producing French labeling or users' guides. Pursuant to the French Language Law of August 4, 1994 (Loi Toubon), any documentation or communication made to French consumers must be in French (any French translation must be as legible as the original version).
Also, under the French Language Law, a French or translated version of the agreement is required when concluding a contract with a public entity in France.
Commercial contracts can be concluded in any language that both parties understand. The recognized language basically depends on the language used by the contracting parties prior to the conclusion of the contract. In particular with regard to consumers, companies shall specify the applicable language prior to the conclusion of the contract. If, for example, information on the company homepage regarding products/services was displayed in German, the contract with the consumer (including related terms and conditions) must also be in German.
Hong Kong, SAR
English, and preferably "plain English" that is consumer-friendly, is the usual language for commercial contracts. Consumer-facing agreements and terms are often provided in dual language (English and Traditional Chinese).
There is no limitation in connection with the language of license agreements. Both parties shall be aware of the language of such agreements. If, however, the signatory of a contract does not speak the language in which the contract is executed, the contract might be null and void.
English is the most commonly used language for contracts in India.
Under Article 31 of Law Number 24 of 2009 on Flag, Language, State Emblem and National Anthem, Indonesian language must be used in any memorandum of understanding or any agreement entered with state institution, Indonesian government institution, Indonesian private entity or Indonesian citizen. Such memorandum of understanding or agreement that involves foreign party may also be made in the national language of the foreign party and/or in English. Further, Article 26 paragraph (4) Presidential Reg. 63 provides that in case of any discrepancy in the languages interpretation used in such memorandum of understanding or agreement, the language to be prevailed can be further agreed by the parties of the memorandum of understanding or agreement.
English is the recognized language for commercial contracts in Ireland. There are some specific provisions in consumer protection law in Ireland which inform not just the content of business to consumer commercial agreements but also the style of English used, encouraging clear and intelligible language to be used for the benefit of the consumer.
In general, there is no requirement under Israeli law that a commercial agreement will be drafted in any specific language, to the extent that the chosen language will be understood by all parties to the agreement.
In consumer-type agreements, entering into a transaction with a consumer by exploiting the consumer’s lack of knowledge of the specific language of the transaction is considered as an unfair influence by the dealer which is prohibited. Such a claim would have to be proved by the consumer according to the specific circumstances of the matter. There is a general presumption that if an individual has decided to enter into a transaction he or she understands its contents; however, such presumption, of course, can be rebutted.
Generally, the parties are free to determine the language of the contract. However, with regard to business-to-consumer agreements for the sale of goods and standard terms and conditions, Italian language is mandatory. Moreover, should one of the parties not be familiar with a foreign language, said party may claim the invalidity of some clauses of the contract.
Japanese language is used for consumer-facing commercial agreements though it is not mandatory for a contract to be enforceable. In business transactions, English agreements are not common but they are enforceable.
Commercial contracts may be concluded in any language. From an enforceability perspective, the claimant has to prove that the counterparty consented to the terms, which includes understanding the language. For consumers, this evidentiary burden of proof will be difficult to satisfy if the contract language is not the official language of the region of residence of the consumer.
Spanish. Documents to be filed with a governmental authority shall be translated into Spanish by an official translator.
Commercial contracts may be concluded in any language.
A contract in plain English that is consumer-friendly is preferred. In consumer contracts in particular, certain terms may be unenforceable if they are not brought to the consumer's attention in a clear and unambiguous manner.
Commercial contracts in business-to-business transaction are often in English, although Norwegian is the most common language between smaller companies.
Though not expressly required under mandatory law, Norwegian is preferable and recommended in business-to-consumer contracts.
English, and specifically "plain English" that is consumer-friendly, is preferred, particularly in consumer-facing commercial agreements and terms.
In the event of litigation, documentary evidence in the English or Filipino language is generally admissible as evidence under the Revised Rules of Evidence, as amended. In contrast, documents in an unofficial language may be admitted in evidence only when accompanied with a translation into English or Filipino.
Commercial agreements may be drafted in any language that the parties choose. However, contracts concluded with consumers have to be drafted in Polish. Also, for the purpose of providing the contract with the authorities or to register the contract in order to cause specific legal consequences, it may be necessary to prepare a Polish version or a sworn translation of the contract.
There are no general requirements under Portuguese law that provide that contracts must be written in Portuguese. However in certain cases (for instance, contracts with consumers), Portuguese language is mandatory, and, if the contract is to be used in specific situations (for example, for purposes of evidence in court or used with public authorities), translation to Portuguese is required.
There are no mandatory requirements in relation to the language of contracts concluded between professionals. However, legalized translations into Romanian are necessary for court proceedings purposes. For contracts concluded with consumers, Romanian language is mandatory.
The agreement can be executed in any language. However, for agreements concluded with Russian consumers (B2C), the Russian version is necessary as its absence may entail the risk of consumer claims based on "lack of information on the goods." In addition, Russian counterparties may request a Russian translation for administrative purposes, such as for tax inspections.
Generally, there is no legal requirement to execute contracts in Arabic, although there are exceptions. It is however important to bear in mind that, if brought before the KSA courts/authorities, contracts and related documentation will need to be in the Arabic language or translated into Arabic by a certified translator.
Generally, English is the language used in commercial agreements.
Slovak language is the official language in the Slovak Republic. However, in general commercial agreements may be concluded in a foreign language.
Any language agreed between parties can be adopted as governing language of a contract. However, the STCA requires that standardized contract terms be provided in language and expression that can be easily understood by customers. Providing the standardized contract term in Korean can be a positive factor in meeting the requirement, but the positive effect is not so significant in case of large business entity customers.
Parties are in principle free to choose the language to govern their contract. In consumer-facing commercial agreements and terms, Spanish is mandatory (with a relevant role of regional languages).
Commercial contracts in a business-to-business situation are often in English, although Swedish is the preferred language.
Though not expressly required under mandatory law, Swedish is recommended for contracts in a business-to-consumer situation to avoid any arguments by customers that he is not to be bound by the agreement because he was not able to understand the content thereof. Furthermore, the Swedish Consumer Agency may also impose on a company to use Swedish in its agreements with consumers (including general terms and conditions). If English is used however, 'plain English' that is consumer-friendly is preferred.
English language is recognized and enforced in both business and consumer-facing contracts. However, it is recommended that one of the official Swiss languages is used for contracts with consumers.
The law is silent on the recognized language of commercial agreements. Chinese is the usual language for commercial agreements between local persons, and English is the usual language for the agreements between local people and foreigners.
A commercial contract with a Ukrainian party is highly recommended to be provided in Ukrainian or be bilingual, ie, in Ukrainian and language of the other party.
United Arab Emirates
Contracting parties are free to choose the governing language of their agreements but, if an agreement is to be submitted to any official body or is subject to consideration in a local court in the UAE, it must be translated into Arabic.
There is no general requirement that contracts need to be in the English language in order to have legal effect. As a basic principle, in relation to consumer contracts and notices a trader must ensure that the written terms of the consumer contract and written consumer notices are in plain and intelligible language. The courts may strike out limitations or similarly onerous provisions in consumer facing contracts which are not worded sufficiently clearly or with sufficient prominence (or are otherwise blacklisted or deemed unfair by relevant legislation).
English, and specifically "plain English" that is consumer-friendly, is preferred, particularly in consumer-facing commercial agreements and terms.