Geschäftspartner is not a partner in English

I’ve been translating an Austrian case which came with a summary in English. Here, Geschäftspartner is translated as business partner. I am using the other party. I asked myself yet again if I am being too fussy here. In English, a partner is someone you work together with, either in a partnership or on some kind of venture, whereas Geschäftspartner in this case means the other party to a contract. Of course, the other party is a more cumbersome expression than business partner, but at least it makes sense.

I had a brief look in Google, and I found support for my point of view. There was a partner on a Netherlands site, and some British sites given advice on partnership. I didn’t look very long.

I consulted some EU sources and found three hits for counterparty. That was new to me. But I discovered it has a specific meaning in business, in swap contracts.

9 thoughts on “Geschäftspartner is not a partner in English

  1. ‘Business partners’ in my mind are co-proprietors.

    If Geschäftspartner is used in the sense of Vertragspartner, then I’d submit that something with ‘party’ is the only right answer.

    Outside of the legal and contractual context, Geschäftspartner can also be other companies that a firm works with. One term for this is ‘trading partners’.

    None of which has ever stopped me from lazily or erroneously writing ‘business partners’ for Geschäftspartner!

    Robin

  2. Off-topic, but to do with comments: Do you think you could make your comment windows resizable? You just need to add

    ,resizable=yes

    after status=yes in the Javascript near the top of your page.

    It’d be more pleasant to use then.

  3. Well, I put it on the main template page, which was the only place I could find the word ‘status’, but it doesn’t seem to work. I’m afraid I will have to read the MT handbook, which is on my list of things to do anyway. I don’t know what this interacts with.

  4. I did a Google search and among other things found this comment on an MT blog:

    >>Hmm, you’ll have to change a few things in your comment window code. Not sure if there are configuration options for it; I remember having to go right into the Perl code myself at one point. Anyway, your comment window cannot be resized (which may only annoy me). Also, links to commenter’s web sites open their site in the comment window (making the resizing thing even more annoying).

  5. Business associates is what I tend to use in non-legal contexts for the UK – business confederates for the US, albeit with Chicago gangster connotations.

    Can’t say I’ve seen it as a term of art to mean Vertragspartner, even in Austria. The choice-selection Öst. Rechtswörterbuch – that I’ve seen you, Margaret, refer to – draws a blank on both words.

  6. Sorry, I didn’t mean to put you to a lot of trouble with the thing about resizing the comments window. Hitting ctrl-n to get the comments in a new window achieves the same purpose very well.

  7. That’s OK, Robin – it would have been good if it had worked. This Movable Type is something I don’t understand sufficiently, and it has its restrictions, but I don’t know enough about scripting (or even html or css) to begin to think about workarounds.
    I suspect the workaround in this case would be to disable comments and use an independent comment system, but whether those are any better I don’t know.

    Thanks re the ‘business partner’. You’d think a British law publisher would do better.

    Adrian, the ‘Geschäftspartner’ comes from the Oberster Gerichtshof in Austria. I am sure not everyone in Austria speaks like that!

  8. Actually, I’ve just looked again at the text – I’m halfway through translating – and it uses Geschäftspartner only twice. The rest of the time it is Vertragspartner/in, and once Handelspartner. From the context it’s clear that these are potential buyer and potential seller, so not on the same side of the equation.

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