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Loophole is "an ambiguity or inadequacy in a system, such as a law or security, which can be used to circumvent or otherwise avoid the intent, implied or explicitly stated, of the system."

None of the translations that I have found so far seem to be complete, as they mostly deal with legal loopholes:

Merriam-Webster

escapatoria, pretexto

Wordreference

tecnicismo, agujero, fisura, resquicio (law)

Collins

escapatoria; (in law) laguna, resquicio legal

Google

escapatoria, pretexto

Oxford

a legal loophole, a loophole in the law — una laguna jurídica / legal / en la ley — que se presta a trampas

What could be a better translation, specially in relation to non-legal fields?

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  • Interesting question. Do you have an example sentence in which "loophole" is used in a non-legal context?
    – Charlie
    Oct 17 '16 at 18:36
  • 1
    Well, we also use vacío legal for non-legal fields but just as a simile
    – user11977
    Oct 17 '16 at 18:54
  • "Circunvención" me suena apropiado.
    – Paul
    Oct 17 '16 at 20:20
  • @CarlosAlejo: besides taxes, see for instance lifehacker.com/…
    – user13560
    Oct 17 '16 at 20:29
  • 3
    @user13560 I see, the word that comes into my mind is "brecha". You try to set up a secure system, but you always find a hole to break in. To me, that's either a "resquicio" or a "brecha" in the system.
    – Charlie
    Oct 17 '16 at 21:20
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In my opinion, a good translation could be:

brecha

Del fr. brèche, y este del franco breka 'roto'; cf. a. al. ant. brëhhan.

  1. f. Resquicio por donde algo empieza a perder su seguridad. Hacer brecha en algo.

The definition is not as accurate as the English one, but I think it addresses the same concern. In fact, the term can be used both as brecha legal and brecha de seguridad, brecha en el sistema or just brecha.

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The problem is that there are not a word that I know as general as loophole, there are lots of words for differents circumstances and that's why you found so many different translations.

If you are forced to find a general word, the brecha proposed by Carlos Alejo it's a good one but at least in Spain it's more commonly used to an "already broken" loophole, when someone already used that loophole... correct me if I'm wrong but loophole are referred to a probable weakness, more than an already broken part of the system.

Given all that, and again if forced to choose a general word, I'll use the direct translation of weakness: debilidad, or something that you could "compound" to specify the concrete context you are talking about, like punto débil. You could even use a more literal translation yet, agujero, that is not uncommon.

But, honestly, if you could specify the context it will be much more easier to find the correct word, since(as you have seen by yourself) we use lots of them.

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According to technical tranlators, a legal loophole is, with little doubt, vacío legal or resquicio legal, if you are refering to a state/national law, or a vacío (resquicio) reglamentario if it is about broader rules.

Regarding the non-legal, a loophole is most often translated as laguna.

[Sth] loophole ==> Laguna de [algo]

Other options also chosen by translators are brecha and agujero, in a figurative sense: a security loophole may be laguna de seguridad or brecha de seguridad.

Even if falla de seguridad is broader, the context will often do the rest.

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Additionally to the ones previously mentioned, consider boquete, aspillera and grieta.

While aspillera is not the most colloquial word to use, it is the closest there is to loophole as the definition for both of them is:

An arrow slit in a wall.

Aspillera is derived from the latin sagitta, which means "arrow" (yes, Sagittarius, "the archer", derives from it, too) and it is a narrow opening that goes deep into a thick defensive wall such as those used to protect castles.

Based on that, a loophole could be seen as a small opening, in an otherwise solid defensive structure, which can be exploited to bypass its defenses.

Boquete, on the other hand, is not exactly an arrow slit in a wall but it is

a small opening that provides entry to an otherwise inaccessible place.

While boquete derives from "boca" (mouth), the meaning behind it is closely related to that of a loophole.

Moreover, legal loopholes are often referred to as boquetes legales in Spanish. The word boquete is usually associated with malicious intent since "breaching" in Spanish is to "create a boquete", and thus it is associated with criminal activities since it is a habitual technique in burglary.

Lastly, grieta is a crack, which can also be associated to an exploitable small opening and is also used to refer to legal loopholes in Spanish as grietas legales.

Please notice that the links provided show examples of native usages of the terms, instead of translations of an existing article. Both boquete and grieta can be used for IT-related security; as a matter of fact, the first place where I heard the term was in an academic discussion about computer science.

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Resquicio

1. m. Abertura que hay entre el quicio y la puerta.

2. m. Hendidura pequeña.

3. m. Coyuntura u ocasión que se proporciona para un fin.

4. m. Ven. resto (‖ parte que queda de un todo).

5. m. coloq. Ven. huella (‖ rastro)

Special attention to:

3. m. Coyuntura u ocasión que se proporciona para un fin.

It could be used in legal fields as resquicio legal as @Rafael pointed in his answer.

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A mí me gusta la expresión laguna jurídica.

Encontré por primera vez en una traducción de Harry Potter y la Cámara Secreta (refiriéndose a que Arthur Weasley conservaba artefactos muggles en su casa pero no rompía la ley porque no los usaba)

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