[Translators-l] How should I translate "the Board"?

mathieu stumpf guntz psychoslave at culture-libre.org
Fri Jan 27 09:30:49 UTC 2017

Thank you Philippe for this interesting and more extensive overview of 
this point.

Don't we have a list or a portal where we could also gather feedback 
from expert on this legal field?

Le 26/01/2017 à 22:14, Philippe Verdy a écrit :
> I don't think that this internal name has any legal binding, only the 
> name of the WMF as a whole is legally bound (plus additional 
> translations if they have been registered by the WMF as reserved 
> brands). The generic legal term is independant of the existence of the 
> WMF itself and would apply to other organizations. Locally, it may 
> still have translations even if it works according to a legal 
> definition. So it does not matter for example if we have 
> "foundations", "associations" for non-profit organizations (but 
> generally to benefit from tax-exemptions and accept donations, those 
> organizations need some legal accounting and will be incorportated in 
> the US
> In Europe this is not necessary, associations work as non-profit and 
> may accept donations and benefit from tax-exmpotion provided they have 
> a reliable accounting, and most of them will have their accounting 
> certified by an external auditor, generally a commerical company or 
> certified professional; there are a few other requirements for 
> tax-exemptions: tracability, social reponsabilities if they emply 
> people, annual meeting, an elected "bureau", but membership is 
> generally accessible to everyone, including corporates, and membership 
> fees are payed depending on status of members but notamlly do not give 
> excessive voting rights to corporates; if these corporate members have 
> a majority of votes or someone controls more than 50% of votes, it can 
> no longer be an association and the organization will have to become a 
> corporation/company and the association dissolved.
> "Foundations" in US are much more relaxed because only one member may 
> have the full power on it and may provide almost all its working 
> budget, other members only have a consultative right. These would be 
> coprorations in Europe and would not be eligible to provide 
> tax-emptions to donators, unless these donators are gourped in a 
> separate affiliate where members have some decision and auditing power.
> Anyway US is still not officially not a single-language country 
> (English is not really an official language, it is just used "de 
> facto" and many places in US accept other languages, notably French, 
> Spanish, or native Amerindian languages in some areas). So various 
> federal laws are effectively written origiannly in other languages 
> (Spanish and French) and were translated only later (but in case of 
> interpretation conflicts, the original versions are still binding and 
> prevail). That's why so many contracts, and acts in US are explicitly 
> stating the language in which it is origianally written, and 
> explicitly assign a competent court in one specific state. The local 
> jurisprudence has extablished the equivalences of terms on a case by 
> case basis by interpreting the acts and contracts and just see if they 
> were "fair", i.e. not abusive, and clear enough for all contractors 
> when they were adopted/registered.
> English is just used "de facto" at the federal level, but member 
> states may have other official or working languages, and federal laws 
> are not directly applicable in states without adoption by them (and 
> states can still veto some laws voted at federal level, or change 
> "legal terms"). Effectively the WMF is not really bound to US law but 
> to the laws of the US state where it is registered and other states 
> where it has some operations. What is then important is its act of 
> incorporation in that state, whose language is significant and 
> prevails in case to conflicts with other languages used and recognized 
> in the same state.
> But legal terms is one thing: for general communication, in documents 
> that are not contractual or mandated by authorities or applicable 
> laws, the WMF may still accept to have translations of its internal 
> bodies and use them, because it will help better explain its 
> activities to the world and to contributors. These internal boeies 
> anyway are not trademarks and cannot be reserved for exclusive use by 
> the WMF.
> 2017-01-26 21:14 GMT+01:00 Gregory Varnum <greg.varnum at gmail.com 
> <mailto:greg.varnum at gmail.com>>:
>     I will also share - from Affiliations Committee experience - that
>     many affiliates use “Board of Directors” based language - but are
>     still making an effort to in general mimic basic WMF nonprofit
>     legal values (although not exact Board selection process, to be fair).
>     -greg
>     > On Jan 26, 2017, at 3:12 PM, Gregory Varnum
>     <greg.varnum at gmail.com <mailto:greg.varnum at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     >
>     > I too am not a lawyer, however, having been involved with a lot
>     of nonprofit governance, I think that for these purposes, in other
>     languages, yes - "Board of Trustees” and “Board of Directors” are
>     basically interchangeable. The selection of words is usually a
>     stylistic or homage based reason more than a legal distinction.
>     That is not always the case, and when available, I recommend using
>     “Board of Trustees” - but if there’s a language issue presented by
>     this, I think "Board of Directors" is a reasonable substitute to
>     base a translation on. Again, I say that not being with Legal and
>     not as an official WMF recommendation, just my own personal two
>     cents. :)
>     >
>     > -greg
>     >
>     >
>     >> On Jan 26, 2017, at 3:07 PM, Guillaume Paumier
>     <gpaumier at wikimedia.org <mailto:gpaumier at wikimedia.org>> wrote:
>     >>
>     >> Hello,
>     >>
>     >> 2017-01-26 9:38 GMT-08:00 Lena Traer <ltraer at wikimedia.org
>     <mailto:ltraer at wikimedia.org>>:
>     >>>
>     >>> Would you say that the Board of Trustees at WMF has the same
>     role as the
>     >>> traditional Board of Directors? If that is the case, "Conseil
>     >>> d'administration" likely is most appropriate translation.
>     >>>
>     >>> In Russian, the "board" is also translated as "council".
>     However, "Board of
>     >>> Directors" and "Board of Trustees" translate slightly
>     differently. I think
>     >>> non-profit organizations are likely to use "Board of Trustees"
>     whereas
>     >>> for-profit corporations use "Board of Directors".
>     >>
>     >> I'm not very familiar with the legal intricacies of the different
>     >> kinds of Boards. To be completely accurate, the best term would
>     >> probably be the English one ("Board of Trustees"), simply
>     because it
>     >> has an official definition in a specific geography and doesn't
>     have an
>     >> exact equivalent in other locales. But for the reasons given by
>     >> Matthieu, it's generally better to try and find the closest
>     >> approximation.
>     >>
>     >> In France, both non-profit organizations and for-profit
>     organizations
>     >> can have a "Conseil d'administration". It's also the French phrase
>     >> we've been using on the Foundation's website since 2004
>     (although the
>     >> page hasn't been kept up-to-date with changes in Board members
>     >> recently):
>     https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Conseil_d%27administration
>     <https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Conseil_d%27administration>
>     >>
>     >> Hope this helps :)
>     >>
>     >> --
>     >> Guillaume Paumier
>     >>
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