I'm a pharmaceutical translator, and I'm proofreading a Russian-to-English translation of a form to be signed by a participant of a medical education course. The text includes the following sentence:

Accordingly, I undertake to indemnify the Company, the local distributor , other companies of the Group, their consultants, agents and representatives for their damages, as well as to prevent occurrence of the latter due to any losses, liabilities, claims, injuries, lawsuits, costs and expenses (including sanctions) resulting from any violations of the Protocol, the norms of best medical and professional practice, as well as of any applicable laws and regulations in accordance with the foregoing.

I looked up the legal meaning of damages:

At common law, damages are a remedy in the form of a monetary award to be paid to a claimant as compensation for loss or injury.

In my original Russian text, it's clearly not this kind of "damages". It is убытки - plural of убыток.

Isn't it better to use lossess instead of damages, since in legal texts "damages" seems to differ in meaning from "losses"? Or maybe in this context the meaning is the same for both words?

Original paragraph in Russian:

Соответственно, я обязуюсь возместить компании, местной дистрибьюторской компании , иным компаниям Группы, их консультантам, агентам и представителям убытки, а также не допустить возникновения последних в результате любых потерь, ответственности, претензий, ущерба, исков, затрат и расходов (включая санкции), возникающих вследствие любых нарушений Протокола, положений передовой медицинской и профессиональной практики, а также любого применимого законодательства и норм регулирования согласно вышеизложенному.

  • 3
    Legal documents shouldn't be translated without a lawyer checking the translation. If a Russian course provider wants to hold courses in an English speaking country, there's probably so many differences in the clauses allowed by law at all, that a mere translation wouldn't hold up in court, so your translation should rather be seen as a "list of intentions" which a lawyer needs to translate into valid legalese. Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 17:51

3 Answers 3


I love Wikipedia to bits, but it's sometimes worth reading the "talk" pages as well as the article, and trying a few other sources. I think this one comes closer :

Damages attempt to measure in financial terms the extent of harm a plaintiff has suffered because of a defendant's actions.

In the paragraph you're translating, "damages" is used as a broad term : the text then goes on to mention "losses, liabilities, claims, injuries, lawsuits, costs and expenses" as specific forms of damages.

"Damages" as highlighted in the translation is the word I would use, as it covers many different things with a financial effect on the plaintiff. "Losses" is more specific, and is already covered in the list that follows.

Losses may be considered damages, but not all damages are losses.

  • So damages can mean not only the "sum awarded by the court" but also "the amount lost by the plaintiff"? In Russian, the sum awarded by the court will be sanktsiya (sanction) while in my text only the amount lost by the plaintiff is meant, expressed by the word ubytki (losses). Maybe I was too imprecise in phrasing my question. I should have included the original text, which I have now added. Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 11:27
  • 1
    @CopperKettle - In a perfect world, they'd be the same. The plaintiff's lawyer would define reasonable damages, and the court would award them. It's actually "losses" that can be a bit more vague in English - thefreedictionary.com desperately tries to avoid defining it, and a lot of contracts make a point of defining it themselves. The translation seems to have included the word to mean "damages that aren't a liability, claim, injury, lawsuit, cost or expense", so they're trying to cover all possibilities. I'd say your question beats everyone else for legal clarity and precision here. Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 11:55
  • "Damages" (at least in British English) means the amount ordered to be paid by a civil court. Strictly, "damages" may not be loss-based. For example, they may relate to an expected gain rather than a loss. They may also be punitive in some way and therefore not derive from loss. So, I am afraid, they are not quite the same thing. Losses seems better to me here, though I see a lot of kitchen sink indemnities that try to use all possible broadly similar words. Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 21:48

"Damages" seems like an apt translation. This is what an English language clause of the same type would usually say.

The virtue of "damages" is that the meaning is broad, and it seems that this is the intent of the clause.

For example, "damages" could include compensation for the destruction of physical property that might not be included in the term "loss" and it seems that this is the intended meaning.


I think you would be better off looking up some indemnity clauses written in English originally and using language from those rather than attempting a translation of the Russian text into English. For example, here is a bunch of clauses you could use as reference.

Your original Russian text does communicate the signer's liability to the companies for both (court-awarded) damages and losses, but the word "убытки" as you pointed out does not translate well into English while retaining that meaning.

This phrase for example seems to be aligned with the intent of the Russian original:

The Borrower agrees to indemnify each Lender for, and to hold each Lender harmless from, any loss or expense that such Lender may sustain or incur

The bolded phrase is to me a pretty accurate translation of "убытки" in the original's context.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .