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Translation Services, Translation Agency

Typical Challenges in Translation

Posted by STPL on January 18, 2010

To Translate or not

In technical translations, certain things are not to be translated. These are mostly company and product names, trademarks, sound marks and patents. They are not translated because they are known and identified in their original form, color, and shape. For example, Microsoft, as a rule does not translate its name and its product names. But this is not the case with all the companies. Certain companies like Nokia do not mind their brand name being written in target languages. Besides, untranslatable text may have technical significance. One has to be very judicious in making these decisions.

Translate or Transliterate

This is a major challenge for translators, particularly in the technical domain. At times one sees more transliterations than translations. This requires a very sound linguistic judgment, particularly when you do not have specific guidelines on what to translate or transliterate. At times, the client provides clear guidelines on what should be transliterated. This is simple to follow. As of now, there are no rules to guide the translators on this. However, there are generally agreed practices in the localization industry.

We just transliterate company and brand names (Nokia, Motorola), product names (Motorazr), domain specific terminology (modem, software, server, E-Mail, infrared, wireless, broadcast, and headset etc.), technology types (Multimedia) and proper names. Terms like file, folder, profile, call, settings, shortcut, operator, menu, media, gallery, card, video, clip etc. that are widely used in local languages in their adopted form are generally transliterated. However we have to be particular about their correct representation in the target language. We should use correct phonetic sounds to represent correct pronunciations in the target language.

Country names are a special category. Some country names have well adopted and accepted parallels in other languages like the United States of America (Sanyukta Raajy Amerikaa), South Korea (Dakshin Koriyaa), South Africa (Dakshin Afrikaa) in Hindi and other Indian languages. But certain country names with similar nomenclature like Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and South Sandwich Islands are just transliterated because they are not well adopted or widely used in other languages. Certain country names are simply not translated as their adopted names conflict with other names. A typical example is United Kingdom which has to be transliterated as the exact translation (Sanyukt Raajya) would conflict with that of the US.

Another associated challenge is whether to transliterate the acronyms and how to transliterate them. The agreed practice in this regard is that we transliterate very popular acronyms like PIN and SIM. But when it comes to hard core domain specific acronyms like Encapsulated Post Script (EPS) Files, Push-to-Talk (PTT), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), we transliterate them and follow it up with the acronym in bracket in English. For ex. Push-to-Talk (PTT).

Cultural Challenges

We often come across typical terminology and names (Hangul Hanja, Katalan). It is pardonable if you misspell an unheard name unless it’s not culturally offensive. But a good translator would go and try to find native speaker to find the correct pronunciation of a typical term or name. These issues are addressed by 1) following a common phonetic convention; 2) searching the web; and 3) speaking to a native.

Another important thing to remember is to respect the cultural sensitivities in translation. Never go ahead with what you find unparliamentary or offensive in your language. For more information Plz visit our Website here :- http://www.somyatrans.com

Rajiv Ranjan

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Somya Translators Pvt. Ltd.

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