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I am translating an article of association from Japanese to English. I am stuck at a sentence which means:

His membership shall be terminated once he paid off all his debt
from the Association, if he owes any.

How to write this sentence formally? As 'pay off all his debt' sounds a bit weird to me. I'm not a native speaker. Please help, and thanks in advance. ;-)

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    This is Off Topic proofreading. If you want your text to include "legalese" usages such as shall be terminated in this example, get your lawyer to draft it. – FumbleFingers Apr 2 '14 at 23:04
  • debt to rather then from – Henry Apr 2 '14 at 23:23
  • You could use the word arrears instead – mjsqu Apr 2 '14 at 23:48
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This type if construction is one of the most confusing in English. We native speakers do it instinctively, but I'm struggling to explain how/why so you can understand.

The best way to think of this: it is an event that will have passed at some point in the future. (And, at that time will be referred to in the past tense.)

If you wish to used paid (the past and past participle of pay) I would suggest the present perfect tense here: has paid.

The present perfect is used to convey an unspecified time, which this clearly is. Combined with once, it becomes a conditional (which will have passed at an unspecified time in the future).

Otherwise, I would use the present tense once he pays. By combining once and the present tense we achieve a conditional (which will be in the past at a future point).

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His membership shall be terminated once he settles any debts he may owe the Association.

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Perhaps the phrase satisfied his obligations to the Association.

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His membership shall be terminated once any debt he owes the Association is repaid.

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