Spelling “Parlament”

You don’t write Parlament for Parliament. I just used that term to indicate the lawmaker’s lack of attention to spelling in legislative texts.

The House of People’s Representatives should have its own language editor. The English version of the legislative text is full of spelling errors. Recently I was working on statutory definitions of Ethiopian legal terms. What I realized is that the extent of the problem requires some attention by the law maker or the drafters.

Here are some examples of serious spelling errors in the English version of the legislative text.

P and R stand for Proclamation and Regulation respectively

The numbers represent the number of the proclamation and regulation and year of enactment.

e.g. R173/2009 represents Regulation number 173 of 2009

P372/03 stands for proclamation number 372 of 2003

The word with a spelling error is indicated in red followed by the correct word in bold

Pension [Pensione] (R173/2009) means an establishment offering lodging and breakfast services to tourist and other clients

(According to the Oxford Dictionary 8th ed. Pensione is small hotel or boarding house in Italy)

Documentary Film (R66/99) means a film recorded with the objective of broadcasting or disseminating natural, historical, cultural, political, economical, [economic] social conditions and other factual materials through television, cinema or other electronic screen transmissions

(According to the Oxford Dictionary 8th ed. Economical means giving good value or return in relation to the resources or money expended. Economic is defined as “of or relating to economics or the economy” Similarly, Political means “of or relating to the government or public affairs of a country” and Social is defined as “of or relating to society or its organization” Therefore economic not economical should be taken as the right word for the definition)

Rights to Lien (P372/03) it is a preferential rights of the warehouse man over the goods stored in a warehouse or over the pleadgee [pledgee] of warehouse recipts [receipts] or over the bailer or his transferee on the proceeds earned from sale of the goods, in relation to the cost incurred persuant [pursuant] to the provision of this proclamation to store, prepare pack, transport, insure and for Labour and professional work and incurred

Academic Staff (R132/2007) means any employee of the University College engage [engaged] in teaching or research activities

Accident (P273/03) shall mean an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight until such time as all such persons have disembarked, in which:

(a) a person is fatally or seriously injured as a result of:

1) being in the aircraft, or

2) direct contact with any part of the aircraft, including parts which have come detached from the aircraft, or

3) direct exposure to jet blast, except when the injuries are from natural causes, self-inflicted or inflicted by other persons, or when the injuries are to stowaways hiding outside the areas normally available to the passengers and crew; or

(b) the aircraft sustains damage or structural failure which:

1)  adversely affects the structural strength performance or flight characterstics [characteristics] of the aircraft, and

2) would normally require major repair or replacement of the affected component, except for engine failure or damage when the damage is limited to the engine, its cowlings or accessories; or for damage limited to propellers, wing tips, antennas, tires, brakes, fairing, small dents or puncture holes in the aircraft skin; or

(c) the aircraft is missing or is completely inaccessible

Animal (P267/02) means for the purpose of this proclamation domestic and wild animals includs [includes] sea animals and bees

Aviation personel [personnel] (P273/03) shall mean any individual who engages as pilot in command, co-pilot or flight engineer or any other member of the flight crew of an aircaft [aircraft] or who is involved in the inspection, maintenance, overhaul or repair of aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers or components or who serves in the capacity of air-traffic controller or aircraft dispatcher

Beekeeper (P660/09) means a person who is engaged in keeping of honeyhee [honeybee] colonies in hives

Commercial representative(P67/97) means any person who is not domeciled [domiciled] at the place where the head office of the business enterprise or business person he represents is situate, bound to such enterprise or business person by a contract of employment, and entrusted with the carrying out of only trade promotional activities on behalf and in the name of the business enterprise or the business person he represents without being a trader himself

Committee (R135/2007) means a property valuation committee established persuant [pursuant] to the Proclamation

Conciliation(P377/06) means the activity conduced [conducted] by a private person or person appointed by the Ministry at the joint request of the parties for the purpose of bringing the parties together and seeking to arrange between them voluntary settlement of a labour dispute which their own efforts alone do not produce to utilize a given State forest for a defined period of time

Conditions of work  (P361/03)  means the entire relations between the City Goverment [Government] and its officials and employees and shall include hours of work, salary, leaves, payments due to dissmissal, [dismissal] if any, health and safety, compensation to victims of employment injury, grievance procedure and other similar matters

Contraband (P60/97) shall mean the act or an attempt of or providing assistance of importing goods beyond the first or exporting beyond the last customs station in contravention of laws and regulations or possessing, selling or transfering [transferring] of such goods in a commercial level and it includes cooperation in such activities

Council of Inquiry (P250/01,) shall mean the Council of Constitutional Inquiry of the Federal Goverment   [Government]

Customs Station (P60/97) shall mean any place designated as customs office at the port of entry or exit of goods, transit routs or at customs area for the controll [control] of import and export goods, collection of duties and taxes

Employer(R91/2003) means any government, private or non-governmental institution or international or regional orgnaization [organization] or person employing graduates of higher education institutions including self-employed graduate of the same

Fish (P315/03) means any fish species, crustanceans, [crustaceans] mollusks, including their eggs, spawn fries or fingerlings

International Animal Health Certificate (P267/02) means a certificate issued by the vererinary [veterinary] administration of the exporting country certifying the state of good health of animals, semen, embryo/ova, and hatching-eggs destined for export

Psychotropic Substance (P176/99) means any substance subject to control according to psychotropic Substances Convention of the United Nations ratified by Ethiopia. This shall also included [include] a substance that is categorized as psychotropic substance by the Authority

Public Private Partnership (P649/09) mean [means] investment through private sector participation by a contractual arrangement between a public body and a private sector enterprise, as the concessionnaire, [concessionaire] in which the concessionnaire [concessionaire]:

a) undertakes to perform or undertake any construction project or service or lease concession;

b) assumes substantial financial, technical and operational risks in connection with the performance of a public function or use of government property; and

c) receives consideration for performing a public function or utilizing government property, by way of fees from any public funds, user levies collected by the concessionnaire [concessionaire] from users or customers for a service provided by it, or a combination of such consideration

Restricted Seed (R16/97) means seed prohibited from being imported into Ethiopia or exported from Ethiopia or seed put under resetriction [restriction]

Road (P80/97) means highway or any other road classified and disignated [designated] as part of the national road network and includes bridge on those roads

Serious Ethical Violations (P433/05) means any ethical violation entailing dismissal as per appropriate code of conduet [conduct] regulation

8 replies »

  1. It is a very good observation. If you read the private organizations employees social security proclamations, you will be very disappointed.

  2. This is a very interesting article. I wondered how they could oversee spelling errors. Id like to ask you if you know of any guides that support drafting of proclamations, it would be really interesting to explore that as well?

  3. Great Comment. Whether it is a wedding invitation or a letter from the prime minister’s office, it is always filled with error. (Amharic or English)

    “No one gets it right the first time and only a slob says, ‘Oh well, let it go, that’s what copyeditors are for’.” Stephen King

  4. Thank u Abrish this kinds of corrections have great value for us to give proper concentrations for each thing.


  5. That is the result of the education system of the country. The problem is not only in the language, but also the the quality of the laws adopted.

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