Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 10:53:31 -0400
Reply-To: ILPI <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: ILPI <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Subject: SUMMARY: Spanish translation of term "MSDS"
Comments: cc: support**At_Symbol_Here**

I'd like to thank everyone for the public and 
non-public responses to this question.

The general consensus is that "hojas" is a much 
better word that "pliegos" in this instance.   As 
far as the entire phrase goes, there a few 
similar wordings; see below.

Here is my original post followed by the public 
and non-public responses I received.  I will pass 
this information along to the manufacturer with a 
recommendation that they update their binders. 
Thanks VERY much, once again, to everyone for 
their efforts.

Best wishes,

Rob Toreki

Original post:

At 6:02 PM -0400 6/18/07, ILPI wrote:
>We are distributors of bilingual MSDS binders 
>(among other products). The front of the binders 
>in Spanish.
>A Spanish-speaking (potential) client called 
>today and said he did not recognize the word 
>"Pliegos" which, from a web search, I determined 
>is a valid Spanish term for "sheets".   He 
>seemed concerned that his hundreds of 
>Spanish-speaking employees (they are a farming 
>company) wouldn't understand it either.  The 
>word "hojas" might be a better match.
>Not to rely on foreign translation on the web, 
>but a search on the exact term PLIEGO DE DATOS 
>match at Google whereas the same term with HOJA 
>substituted for PLIEGO returns 706.
>I've already sent an inquiry to the 
>manufacturer.  I've also asked the client to run 
>the word pliegos by some of his employees.
>My question for the list is this - are there any 
>native Spanish speakers here who can comment on 
>the nuances of "hojas" versus "pliegos" and 
>whether or not the latter term is likely to be 
>recognized correctly by non-professionals who 
>read/speak (Mexican dialects of) Spanish.


Responses in chronological order.  I have 
withheld names from responses received via 
private email.

I will add my own response/summary/assessment first:


After posting my question, I remembered that we 
have an English translation of the Mexican MSDS 
regulation, NOM-018-STPS-2000, posted on our 
comprehensive MSDS web site.  See the 
link/discussion in our MSDS FAQ section for 
that.   Correlating that translation back to the 
original documents available on the Mexican 
government web site, MSDS corresponds to "Hojas 
De Datos De Seguridad"; see 

I also found MSDS's from Mexican manufacturers 
that use "Hojas De Datos De Seguridad De 
Materiales", for example

In concert with the helpful replies from the list 
members, I'd say these two wordings are the best 
"short" and "long" versions of the phrase.


>The ACS Committee on Chemical Safety translated SACL to Spanish. You will
>find "Material Safety Data Sheets" translated as "Hojas de Seguridad" in
>SACL. The document was reviewed by many different Spanish speakers. Your
>translation looks like a direct translation to Spanish. Having taken 7 years
>of Spanish classes, I can tell you many terms are not directly translated.
>Lo paso bien tells a Spanish speaker you had a good time but is directly
>translated to I passed it well.
>Our Spanish SACL is available online at:


>AAfter working on safety issues several years in my country Mexico I can say
>that the most adequate translation of MSDS is "hoja de datos de seguridad de
>los materiales".
>We use the world "pliegos" for a kind of documents that are written down big
>and fold sheets.  I am sure that for workers would be better to understand
>and use the word "hojas" instead of pliegos.
>In addition, the occupational regulations in my country name MSDS as "hojas
>de datos de seguridad". Therefore. if you use this terminology you will be
>in according with regulations.
>I hope this could be useful for you.


>This is a great question in the greater sense of what is the correct
>colloquial term in any language.  Also the specification of the dialect (my
>neighbor is Argentinean and often comments on the different usage in
>Since you originated the issue, I think it a great contribution for you to
>suggest to the Division leadership for the CHAS website to be a location to
>accumulate these terms in all the languages of the world.  A great service
>from the ACS, and one with lots of curiosity factor!


At 8:56 PM -0400 6/18/07, Eng. Winston R. Esteves wrote:
>My native language is Spanish and I'll take "Hojas" over "Pliegos" 100% of
>the time. We refer to MSDSs as "Hojas de Datos de Seguridad de Materiales".
>That is what we use as translation in all of our trainings.
>Winston R. Esteves
>Environmental Consulting Associates
>Phone 787-790-7931
>Fax     787-790-7989
>Cell     787-644-5684


>Hi. I am spanish speaking and I think the term 
>"Hojas de Datos sobre Seguridad de Materiales" 
>is more adecuated for us spanish speakers, 
>although "pliegos" is used too, depending of the 
>I understand what is a MSDS, but the translation 
>is difficult, since it would seem in spanish 
>that the safety is refered to the materials and 
>not to the people working with them. The class I 
>took in spanish about safety was called "Hygiene 
>y Seguridad Industrial".
>Then a better approach could be "Hojas de Datos 
>para Hygiene y Seguridad" , or "Hojas de Datos 
>sobre Materiales".
>I hope I did not confuse you more, but spanish is really tricky.


At 7:49 AM -0500 6/19/07, Medina, Javier wrote:
>My native language is also Spanish and hojas is a better used of the
>word in this context. Pliego would be utilized better in the printing
>and publishing industry. Rob Toreki, if you need any further assistance
>with chemical name and/or toxicological name translation just e-mail me
>Javier Medina
>Office 915-587-3688


At 9:19 AM -0400 6/19/07, antonio rodriguez wrote:
>Like Winston Esteves, I prefer the word "hojas" 
>instead of "pliego," but both may be used.
>In Puerto Rico, I am used to the term "pliego" 
>always in reference to "bid documents", seldom 
>in other uses, most of them in legal circles.
>You may have a wider perspective if you look at 
>synonims for both words, from which you will see 
>the versatility of the word "hoja" and the 
>limited but perhaps more precise meaning of the 
>word "pliego". Please note that I added a single 
>English word. within brackets, to convey the 
>main meaning of each list.
>Diccionario de sinónimos y antónimos © 2005 Espasa-Calpe S.A., Madrid:
>  a.. hojuela, pétalo, bráctea, fronda, verde  [leaf]
>  b.. plancha, lámina, placa, chapa  [sheet]
>  c.. folio, cuartilla, página, pliego, plana, 
>carilla, impreso, opúsculo, escrito  [page]
>  d.. hierro, acero, filo, espada, cuchilla, pu"al, navaja, sable [blade]
>Diccionario de sinónimos y antónimos © 2005 Espasa-Calpe S.A., Madrid:
>  a.. folio, hoja, papel, cuadernillo, documento, nota, formulario [document]
>A. Rodriguez, PhD, PE


At 9:28 AM -0400 6/19/07, Nabil Bissada wrote:

(which translates MSDS as Hoja de datos de seguridad).
Safety Emporium - Lab & Safety Supplies featuring brand names
you know and trust.  Visit us at
esales**At_Symbol_Here**  or toll-free: (866) 326-5412
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