5

In conversations about the hardest words or phrases to translate well from Spanish to English, the word "accountability" has repeatedly come up. I have seen the phrase "financial accountability" translated "rendición de cuentas." But what about the word in contexts like:

  • "Keep me accountable with the commitments I've made."
  • "Accountability is important when overcoming addiction."

If there isn't a good short word or pair of words that translates "accountability" well, what longer phrase would be an appropriate translation?

1
  • an alternative "to be accountable to someone" can be "rendir cuentas a alguien".
    – user10919
    Sep 29 '15 at 23:04
10

Responsabilidad works in most non-technical contexts (it does for the two cases you mentioned)

3

The accepted translation (other than in financial situations: redicion de cuentas) seems to be responsabilidad. The difficulty is that, in English, accountability implies that you are responsible to an outside authority for making sure what you are doing is being done correctly or according to set requirements, or that it gets completed. To add this implication of the English word in Spanish (in translations if or where it may be considered necessary for clarity) we would have to say something like, "responsabilidad ante alguien", or "ante..." (and maybe indicate who the agency or authority is). I would not say culpabilidad because being accountable does not imply guilt or that anything has been or is being done wrong and even if it is something bad, responsabilidad is still used, as in the example of "liability insurance", which is translated as "seguro de responsabilidad civil".

2

If it's being accountable for something bad, you could use culpabilidad.

1

Accountability in the context presented above relates more to "cumplir con responsabilidad".

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  • Interesting idea. Welcome to the site! Dec 24 '19 at 8:37
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Linguee indicates (in the list of examples)

rendir cuentas

obligación de rendir cuentas

Before I checked Linguee, I tried to freehand something:

cumplir con los requisitos de documentación


New idea. For "Accountability is important when overcoming addiction," we could say

Al recuperarse de la adicción, es importante ser consecuente.

0

There is no accurate translation of accountability in Spanish.

Keep in mind that the following 3 English words have the same translation in Spanish:

Accountability= responsabilidad

Liability = responsabilidad

Responsibility = responsabilidad

You need to add more words or a context phrase in Spanish when defining any of these 3 words.

On a personal note: It is interesting to think about the impacts of language and linguistics on human physiology and human behaviour. There is a lack of accountability in government and political affairs is most South American nations and there is literally no word for "accountability " in Spanish (are these two facts somehow connected ?).

1
  • Having three words in English has not meant we are any better than anybody else at taking responsibility I am afraid.
    – mdewey
    Dec 17 '20 at 11:17

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