Standard scale for dialect comprehensibility?
Thread poster: mlconnections

mlconnections
United States
Local time: 20:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
May 23, 2006

I'm relatively new to the translation industry, and I was talking to someone who mentioned that her Spanish translator rated a 7-9 rather than the standard 5-6 with regard to dialect comprehensibility. Can anyone enlighten me about this scale? Thank you!

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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:16
French to English
+ ...
Comprehensability to whom? May 23, 2006

Bearing in mind that everyone speaks a dialect, you need to know whose comprehension is being assessed. I presume that this is measuring the comprehensability of the speaker of some non-standard dialect with respect to the ears of a speaker of the standard dialect of the same language.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
One Reference May 23, 2006

A Google search on "dialect comprehensibility" results in only one reference being found on a book dealing with this subject.

It would seem to be an interesting concept, and one that perhaps has only been studied by one person, at least only one using the term "dialect comprehensibility".

Maybe "mutual intelligibility" could bring more results.

I have found interesting material regarding various indigenous languages spoken in Mexico, including percentage values on their intelligibility, or how well they can be understood, from one community to another that supposedly speak the same language. The values are often rather low, indicating a lot of variation.

Spanish on the other hand is a different story. While it is a very well regulated language with very high "mutual intelligibility" throughout the world, when dealing with Hispanics in the USA there are many social, cultural, regional and individual variations that require constant adjustment, and generalizations are very hard to make.


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mlconnections
United States
Local time: 20:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
have you heard of this scale? May 23, 2006

As professional translators, have you heard of this type of scale - not sure that I have the exact title correct - or ever ranked your own translations (or had them ranked) accordingly? It was completely new to me (not the concept of mutual intelligibility, but a numeric scale), and I don't want to feel out of the loop if this is something that I should know.

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Standard scale for dialect comprehensibility?

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