What is a Choice of Language clause?

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In international business deals the two parties may not share a common language.  In these circumstances, the final contract may be translated into multiple languages and there may be up to two or three different language versions of the same agreement.  Therefore, it is important to specify which language is the “official” version of the contract through a Choice of Language clause.While a good translation of a contract by a legal professional will attempt to stay as close to the original as possible, inevitably the act of translation will subtly change the meaning of certain parts of the agreement.  In the absence of a Choice of Language clause, this can cause problems later if the contract needs to be interpreted by a court and it is unclear which version is the official agreement.

Therefore, many businesses contracting internationally will choose to put a choice of language clause into their agreements.  In many cases, international business contracts will have a choice of language clause identifying English as the official version of the contract because English is often the common language shared between the parties.

If you have any questions about contracting in Japan, please contact our office to set up a legal consultation.