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Thread poster: Paul Dixon
Translation of Company Names

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:29
Member (2009)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Mar 21, 2010

I am working on an assignment with many names of companies and also institutions, and I would like to know what the usual procedure is. I guess it depends on what the client wants, but it is Sunday today and the agency is not open.

Should I use (this is not one of the entities mentioned, I have chosen it at random):

Original: Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária

Translation:

1. Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária - Anvisa

2. National Sanitary Inspection Agency (Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária - Anvisa)

3. National Sanitary Inspection Agency

4. Brazilian National Sanitary Inspection Agency

In choice 2, the original name would be italicised.

What about companies - should I translate, for example, Companhia Cervejaria Antarctica as Antarctica Brewery Company or leave it as it is?


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:29
Member
English to German
+ ...
Let me guess Mar 21, 2010

Would you like those companies to receive mail or being able to be contacted? Then don't translate company names. They are registered.

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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:29
Member (2004)
Italian to English
No 2 Reversed Mar 21, 2010

As Nicole says, you must retain the registered name of the company, by all means in italics. If the name describes what it does and you feel it would be useful to English readers to know this, then put the English translation in brackets.

It is easier for the agency or client to delete it if not needed than to request it afterwards.


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Melina Carbajales  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
Company names must be kept in their original language Mar 21, 2010

I totally agree with Nicole and Russel. Company names should never be translated...

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:29
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Sometimes Mar 21, 2010


Melina Carbajales wrote:

Company names should never be translated...


Correct. However depending on the situation, it might be appropriate to add a translation, in italics, between square brackets, immediately following the company name. Especially if the company or agency name is an acronym such as AEM or USL. But not all the time. You need to make your own judgment as to whether a translation of the company name would be expected or would help to clarify the translation as a whole.

Example: in certain contexts e.g. when translating from Italian to English it might be really useful for the reader to know that "FFSS" means [Ferrovie dello Stato- Italian State Railways].

But in general, translating company names might lead to strange outcomes: FIAT (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) would translate as "Italian Automobile Factory, Turin - IAFT"

[Edited at 2010-03-21 16:11 GMT]


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Tom Fennell
United States
Local time: 04:29
Russian to English
+ ...
Ah those of you working with Western European languages have it easy! :) Mar 21, 2010

Those of us in more exotic venues have it a bit more difficult.

Do you really think that

ОАО "Внешторгбанк"

should appear in an English contract?

No one in Russia thinks so.

The most common version is Vneshtorgbank OJSC [Open Joint Stock Company]

I prefer

OAO Vneshtorgbank [Bank for Foreign Trade]

with square brackets to denote an enhancement by the translator

I leave OAO untranslated, similar to practice to plc, inc., ltd., s.a., G.m.b.H., A.G. etc.
Also these forms are very specific to their jurisdictions, an ltd is not the same as a G.m.b.H or an OOO in Russia. Similar, but not equivalent. The target reader needs a flag telling them to "ask further."


РАО "Газпром"

Becomes RAO Gazprom [Russian Joint Stock Company Gazprom]

1. the RAO is vary rare and specific, unlike other corporate forms
2. Gazprom, on the otherhand needs no translation, because it is an international brand (and behemoth).

We have to deal with

ООО Пекари "Филкин и сыновей"

This depends on context. In a contract, I would render this:

1. OOO Pekari Filkin i synovey [OOO Filkin and Sons, Bakers]

however, if the company were referred to in a context which was not strictly legal, say in a news article in the Moscow Times, I would render the company:

2. OOO Filkin and Sons, Bakers

OK, now I have to contextualize further....(and go back on my previous dictum)....if it were in an English speaking publication for people who had absolutely no relation to Russia, I would bring the source text closer to the reader by compromising all my pedantic principles and rendering the name:

3. Filkin and Sons Bakers, Ltd. (no llc or inc. , US readers understand Ltd., and it gives a nice "foreign" touch).

So there is my tale of wonder and woe on company names.....isn't translating fun!

[Edited at 2010-03-21 16:44 GMT]


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Brian Young  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:29
Danish to English
Thomas Fennell DOES have a job on his hands! Mar 21, 2010

He is right when he says we have it easy in comparison, and I think his comments are really interesting.
I agree otherwise with most of what has been said. Keep the original name, and, if necessary, a translation in brackets. We who translate from Danish usually have it made. Most Danish companies have a website, and you just click on the little flag, or on "English", and you get their own approved version of what they want to be called in English. This is also true of all governmental agencies. I wonder what is done when translations are made from Arabic or Chinese. It would be interesting to see some examples.


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xxxAguas de Mar
Number 2 Mar 21, 2010

I would use No. 2, just like you posted it (including the italics).

That is how I work in most of my translations (unless the client requests something else).

The name in English should come first, to keep the reading fluid (I am assuming you are translating from PT into EN), and the original name should be in parenthesis, including its acronym, if there is one.

If the name is repeated afterward in the document, and again to maintain the fluency while reading, I would use only the acronym, or only the name in English, should there be no acronym.


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Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 07:29
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
Agree with Russell Mar 21, 2010

Always keep the original name in italics and, if necessary, write the translation in brackets only the first time. If the company name appears again, just put it in italics.

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Christina Paiva  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:29
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Agree but ... Mar 22, 2010

Hi Paul!

There are Governmental Institutions that used to have an English version of their sites (I was sure that would be the case of ANVISA - but couldn't find it), and have their names translated ...

Moreover, in some cases, specific translations are commonly employed. For example:

ANVISA: National Health Surveillance Agency
USP: University of São Paulo

I do keep the original name in brackets, but I don't change the acronym.


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Ganna Gudkova  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:29
English to Russian
+ ...
Filkin i synov'ja Jun 1, 2013

[quote]Tom Fennell wrote:

Those of us in more exotic venues have it a bit more difficult.

Do you really think that

ОАО "Внешторгбанк"

should appear in an English contract?

No one in Russia thinks so.

The most common version is Vneshtorgbank OJSC [Open Joint Stock Company]

I prefer

OAO Vneshtorgbank [Bank for Foreign Trade]

with square brackets to denote an enhancement by the translator

I leave OAO untranslated, similar to practice to plc, inc., ltd., s.a., G.m.b.H., A.G. etc.
Also these forms are very specific to their jurisdictions, an ltd is not the same as a G.m.b.H or an OOO in Russia. Similar, but not equivalent. The target reader needs a flag telling them to "ask further."


РАО "Газпром"

Becomes RAO Gazprom
n Joint Stock Company Gazprom]

1. the RAO is vary rare and specific, unlike other corporate forms
2. Gazprom, on the otherhand needs no translation, because it is an international brand (and behemoth).

We have to deal with

ООО Пекари "Филкин и сыновей"

This depends on context. In a contract, I would render this:

1. OOO Pekari Filkin i synovey [OOO Filkin and Sons, Bakers]

however, if the company were referred to in a context which was not strictly legal, say in a news article in the Moscow Times, I would render the company:

2. OOO Filkin and Sons, Bakers

OK, now I have to contextualize further....(and go back on my previous dictum)....if it were in an English speaking publication for people who had absolutely no relation to Russia, I would bring the source text closer to the reader by compromising all my pedantic principles and rendering the name:

3. Filkin and Sons Bakers, Ltd. (no llc or inc. , US readers understand Ltd., and it gives a nice "foreign" touch).

So there is my tale of wonder and woe on company names.....isn't translating fun!

[Edited at 2010-03-21 16:44 GMT]


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 11:29
Member (2013)
English to Polish
+ ...
Depends; Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency in this case Jun 1, 2013

In the abstract:

Your typical, normal private business company: Leave it the way it is registered. However, you can provide a translation in parentheses if the name carries some meaning, and you can translate any handle introduced by, 'hereinafter referred to as.' Also, some companies have a foreign language name stipulated in their articles; in fact, such an official translation may go as far as taking 'Ltd' for 'GmbH' in English (altering the business form designation).

However, there are some treasury outfits that are effectively government agencies. Their names sound more like bureaux than normal companies. They may even exercise public authority under some delegation. And they may very well have a website on which they use a translated name. I'd translate such whenever the name is used without a business form designation; the absence of a business form designation means the context is somewhat loose compared to when one is used.

Still, it's always feasible to provide original names in parentheses whenever you translate a name.

In this case:

Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária is a government agency. It has a 'gov.br' domain, where it is referred to as the 'Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency'. Apart from being an official or semi-official translation, that is also a dead giveaway that we're dealing with a government agency and not a company. I wouldn't be able to justify using any other translation in this set of facts.

[Edited at 2013-06-01 09:27 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-06-01 09:28 GMT]


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Texte Style
Local time: 11:29
French to English
It's not a company! Jun 1, 2013

You should never translate registered company names, but you might add an explanation if the name explicits their line of business.

However, if we are to trust your translation it's not a business but a government agency.

In this case I always look to see if there's an English version of their website and check whether they translate their name, in which case I will use their translation but specify their acronym in brackets. (I often can't help but smooth out minor hiccups in their translation)

I think it's important to specify what the agency deals with, and usually the translation of their name is specific enough.

Sometimes I'll anglicise a bit further. For example, the ORTB, Office de Radiodiffusion et Télévision du Bénin, I'll translate as the "Benin broadcasting corporation (ORTB)" rather than anything literal, because its the Benin equivalent of Auntie. I don't capitalise, to show that it's not the official name. Of course I will only do this in a context where the legal technicalities are not of any importance. There are probably many differences between an "Office" in Beninese French and a "corporation" in British English but in the context of the text I translate it's totally irrelevant and I feel that it's easier on the reader if I translate it into something immediately recognisable.


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Texte Style
Local time: 11:29
French to English
Aeroflot Jun 1, 2013

For Russian names, I agree with Tom. They need to be written in an alphabet readers will understand, unless of course it's in an address to send requests to. Nobody ever writes "Aeroflot" in Cyrillic in an Latin-alphabet newspaper.

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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 12:29
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
my two cents Jun 10, 2013

In your list, it is not the names of companies, but official titles of state institutions. I do it simple - google and try to find their websites. Quite often (at least in my country) these institutions have at least a simple English versions of their websites with their titles translated. Then I copy those titles into my translation (well, sometimes these can differ from my "own" versions or the versions I'd like to put, but best to use the same version which they already use). And if there are no such results, I translate and use my "own" version. And for company names - these names are non-translateables (i.e. they shall remain 1:1 as they are. Many of them - protected as trademarks. Period.

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