Si yo escribo un contrat σε ένα μείγμα von Sprachen, 它有效吗?

If I write a contract in a mixture of languages, is it valid?

I'm interested in any jurisdiction.

  • 3
    You know in most cases what you call a “contract” is just a written representation of an agreement. The agreement is the contract not the piece of paper. A contract is a “meeting of the minds” of the parties. Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 4:14
  • @GeorgeWhite but the text on the paper matters, otherwise there's no point in it. What if the paper written like this is the only evidence of the contract?
    – Someone
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 4:49
  • 3
    Related: Are emojis acceptable in contracts?
    – user35069
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 5:32
  • @Someone The text on the paper only matters because it is evidence of what was agreed. Consider verbal contracts where there is no text at all.
    – JBentley
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 13:21

2 Answers 2


Is a contract written in a mix of languages valid?

Yes as long as both parties to the contract have a Meeting of Minds i.e. a common understanding of the contract's meaning, including - and especially in the OP's context - any particular nuances or different meanings of the same word in different languages.

Take the word Gift, for example, in English it can mean something given voluntarily, whereas in German the same spelling means poison - the use of which could be potentially dangerous (or humorous, depending on your perspective).

  • Maybe the phantom downvoter could offer an explanation as to why this is not a valid answer..?
    – user35069
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 15:41

Depends on the jurisdiction, and the subject of the contract.

Consider the following situation. In Germany, a consumer goes to a store, picks a pack of beer from the shelves, and puts money onto the counter. The clerk takes the money and returns the change. All without a word by either of them. That is a valid contract.

By contrast, again in Germany, to buy a house the buyer and seller have to go to a notary who has to help them draft an unambiguous contract. Mixing languages would be a problem.

  • 1
    "Mixing languages would be a problem." Not necessarily. Usage of multiple languages does not imply ambiguity. Many languages have similarities in grammar, syntax, numeral system, and so forth. These similarities preempt various hermeneutical obstacles. Even if the languages involved are too different, the clauses might not be complex enough to impede ascertaining reliably the substance of the contract. Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 11:14
  • @IñakiViggers, the OP suggested mixing languages within a single sentence. That would make those sentences incorrect.
    – o.m.
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 11:28
  • "That would make those sentences incorrect." What matters is that the sentences --and therefore the contract altogether-- be intelligible, not that they be grammatically correct. Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 11:52
  • @IñakiViggers, there is no global standard on that. For certain contracts, in certain jurisdictions, form matters. Which is what I pointed out in my third paragraph.
    – o.m.
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 12:38

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