Poll: Do you regularly have to translate slang & colloquialisms as part of your work?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:55
SITE STAFF
Jul 7, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you regularly have to translate slang & colloquialisms as part of your work?".

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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:55
Member
German to English
+ ...
Not normally Jul 7, 2011

Most documents I translate are official documents. I do, however, sometimes translate market research responses and interviews, and these tend to be more colloquial.

One of the most memorable jobs I ever did was an interview with some prisoners about drug usage. It certainly tested my knowledge for colloqualisms and, shall we say, colourful language and I did have to send the translation back to the customer with an advisory note! It certainly felt odd using such strong language in a professional context!


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Sonia Hill
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:55
Italian to English
Sometimes, but not on a regular basis Jul 7, 2011

Most of the documents I translate are written in "proper" Italian, but I do sometimes get jobs that include expressions in dialect. I have quite a good understanding of Neapolitan, having lived in the area for a long time, but I struggle with some of the others and often have to ask for clarification.
I once translated a transcription of an interview with an early 20th century convict from a small village in Southern Italy. All his responses were in dialect and it was very hard work, but interesting too!


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:55
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Once Jul 7, 2011

in a contentious and complex divorce case I had to translate a few letters exchanged between husband and wife and they were, to put it mildly, colourful!

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Very rarely Jul 7, 2011

But I have to be careful not to use them myself in my dealings with clients.

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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:55
Italian to English
Quite often Jul 7, 2011

Colloquialisms and regionalisms crop up quite often in the newspaper articles, wine-related articles, websites and guides, and even some of the books I translate. If I don't know the expression, my dictionaries are no help and I can't get a straight answer out of Mr Google (you can usually find such expressions on the web but their meaning and/or connotations may be unclear), I ring up one of my Italian "informers".

Thank goodness for flat-rate phone tariffs!


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DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:55
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Rarely Jul 7, 2011

Ocassionallly ... when I translate verbatims and other marketing / advertising texts, press releases, etc.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:55
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No Jul 7, 2011

Not as part of my work for clients.

However, there are quite a few colloquialisms in my own works which are being/ to be translated.


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Eser Perkins  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 06:55
Member (2010)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Often enough Jul 7, 2011

My first encounter with this kind of challenge was a test translation I did for a video subtitling agency. It was a long time ago. Since then, I turned in another sample translation to another subtitling agency which was a collection of movie quotes, and I think my translation of the famous Casablanca quote "Here's lookin' at you, kid" got me the job. I signed with this agency to translate movies, sitcoms and the like, and that is an enormous supply of slang, colloquialisms, puns and not to mention the cultural stereotypes. I also translated a collection of Nasreddin Hodja stories where I encountered many culture-specific sayings and clichés mixed with archaisms and old-fashioned (old as in medieval) slang which posed an enormous challenge not to sound patronizing and too streetwise for the context. I do get other texts in marketing field, and also the newsletters where the language is almost as informal as the daily spoken language which, by the way, is full of field-specific jargon, short-cut terms related to that particular industry, since the target audience is the employees of the company that issues the newsletters.

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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:55
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Quite often Jul 7, 2011

I translate books, voiceovers from concerts, marketing promotions, etc., quite a bit, and occasionally surveys. The surveys have the most slang and usually quite a few "naughty" words. I enjoy all of this immensely, because I'm quite good at deciphering slang.

Next week I have to proofread a list of words having to do with smelly feet, bad breath, stinky armpits and other unmentionables!


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Elena Novski  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:55
Member
Russian to English
+ ...
Other Jul 7, 2011

Sometimes, for social interpreting, which is not my core business, though

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patriciacharnet  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:55
English to French
+ ...
no never Jul 7, 2011

I must admit that it's something I've never encountered

either it's because of my specialisations: medicine and law - everybody is nice to each other - at least in writing

or simply because my main language combination is English to French - and I've only dealt so far with English gentlemen and ladies who maintained a good entente cordiale

or a combination of the above (I've had a few divorce cases involving a few British and French subjects, but so far they were always polite ... and just chasing the money or disposal of the estate in a amicable fashion


I don't like slang anyway and it's fine for me


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:55
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Once Jul 7, 2011

I translated a screenplay. It was fun.

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Nora Escoms  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 00:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
I do. Jul 7, 2011

In addition to business / legal texts, I translate books for teenagers and sometimes children as well, more or less regularly. They can be quite challenging to translate, and I thoroughly enjoy them!

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isabel murillo  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, always Jul 8, 2011

I translate books. Contemporary fiction books always offer challenging slang. And when I translate non-fiction, marketing and business colloquialism is the rule!

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