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When to go for a translation or a transliteration?
Thread poster: Doaa El Hefnawy

Doaa El Hefnawy  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:20
English to Arabic
+ ...
Sep 13, 2004

This is something which has been puzzling me for some time now. I was wondering if any of you would care to share his or her views on the subject. My question is concerning the names of departments, laws and the such. Some clients require that these names be transliterated, so you just write the name in the letters of your language (hence though the name is written in your own language, it is pronounced the same as in the original). Other clients do not state any particular request, in which case (if there is no official translation of the name), I write the original name in English (for example) and then its translation.Is there some rule which is to be followed in these cases or is it merely up to the client and how he or she wants the document to appear?

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:20
Member (2000)
Russian to English
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Up to the client if specified Sep 14, 2004

Give the client what he/she wants. If not specified, in the case of laws, ministries or departments, I would just give the translation, but in the case of the names of companies, I would give the original followed by the translation in brackets. E.g. if BMW were given in full in German, I would put Bayrische Motorenwerke (Bavarian Motor Works). But I would leave the abbreviation denoting the type of company in the original only, e.g. GmbH (which is Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, meaning limited liability company) should be left as it is, not rendered as Co. Ltd.

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Sabry Hameed  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:20
Member (2004)
English to Arabic
+ ...
You have to set a fixed style for yourself Sep 14, 2004

I really agree with Jack. First of all, it is up to clients requirements, if not I really prefer to set a fixed type for myself to avoid any confusion or noconsistent translation. So, when the client leaves it open, I usually put the name in its origin form then the translation after it between brackets. when doing some profreading jobs, I come across some translations that use different handling in the same document (transliteration, original name and the translation, and leaving the name in its original language) and it really disturbs me as that makes the reader puzzled and may distract him or her.

Best Regards,
Sabry Gameel Hameed
Egyptian Translators Team

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