Les Intraduisibles: English-Spanish


In English, the idea of accountability among elected officials implies the following: that representatives communicate to voters what they will do if elected; that information about their actions once in office is available to citizens; that representatives are responsive to the preferences and demands of their constituents; and that representatives face a real chance of punishment (politically or legally) for lack of responsiveness. In Spanish, the closest term is probably "rendicion de cuentas," which translates literally into "rendering of accounts." Some Latin American constitutions require periodic formal "renderings" in public forums among citizens, and the proximate intent is clearly to facilitate the sort of communication and transparency conveyed by the English term. But the formalism of the Spanish term accurately conveys its narrower meaning. In interviews with legislators in a number of Latin American countries on this and related issues, interview subjects frequently simply used the English word "accountability" for lack of an appropriate Spanish substitute.

Carey John 3/4/2002

Date Discussant Comment
8/20/2018 López Rubí C. José Ramón "Rendición de cuentas" is a good enough option. An appropriate substitute coulde be, perhaps, "responsabilización".