To anglicize addresses or not
Thread poster: Ward Whittaker

Ward Whittaker  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:55
Portuguese to English
Aug 29, 2013

Hi all,

I am proofreading a large Portuguese to English document with a large list of addresses (see below) and the translator has just cut and pasted all of them. When I am translating, I normally anglicize words like sala - room, bairro - suburb, nº - No.,Município - Municipality etc etc.

Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, nº. 1.478, salas 1104 A e 1116, Bairro Pinheiros, CEP 01451-913, Município de São Paulo, Estado de São Paulo,

What is the general opinion on whether addresses should be anglicized or not. Thanks for your opinions folks, Ward


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 05:55
English to Polish
+ ...
Hai, I eats ur mail, sowwy! Aug 29, 2013

Hi, Ward. I use a simple rule: if it's supposed to be a working postal address that will make sure the letters reach their destination, I leave it like it is. In all other contexts, I translate whatever is there to translate, except I'm not a big fan of messing with street names and numbers, especially when translating from a language with inflection.

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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:55
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Anglicizing addresses Aug 29, 2013

Hi Ward,

I translate contracts of employment to a big company in Brazil and although these contracts do come to London's head office the addresses are kept in PT Brazil. The thing is for any legal action to be taken regarding contract clauses, the reference location will be the address mentioned in the contract in PT.


Have I helped?

Paulinho Fonseca


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 05:55
German to English
+ ...
Never translate, but ... Aug 29, 2013

I often have to rearrange the sequence since particularly in Austria the town is often stated before the street, which I feel to be confusing, particularly if it's not exactly a well-known place.

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Ward Whittaker  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:55
Portuguese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Hi Paulinho and Lukasz Aug 29, 2013

Thanks for your replies. Problem is that as a proofreader, I don't know the actual intent of the document except to say that its part of a set of documents I am doing that relates to a collective of companies and manufacturing associations here in Brazil agreeing to abide by national rules for waste disposal and recycling. I believe that this is not for postal purposes as this is a legal document. Any more clues ? Perhaps when in doubt, leave as is ?

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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:55
Romanian to English
+ ...
Don't translate addresses Aug 29, 2013

According to the rules applicable to certified (sworn) translations in Romania, geographical names should not be translated, unless they have an established equivalent in the target language (that applies to names of cities, I guess). Addresses should not be translated though. After all, they are names, so why translate them? Besides, a company's registered address or a natural person's domicile address are those stated in the source language and not some non-existent linguistic equivalents. How would Fifth Avenue sound in Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, etc.? Nobody ever translates that.
If you really need to clarify that XYZ is the street, you can parenthesize the translation of the words "street", "unit", etc. after the original address.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 05:55
English to Polish
+ ...
That's a reference address, it seems Aug 29, 2013

Ward Whittaker wrote:

Thanks for your replies. Problem is that as a proofreader, I don't know the actual intent of the document except to say that its part of a set of documents I am doing that relates to a collective of companies and manufacturing associations here in Brazil agreeing to abide by national rules for waste disposal and recycling. I believe that this is not for postal purposes as this is a legal document. Any more clues ? Perhaps when in doubt, leave as is ?


Just like Paulinho says, I believe that's basically address for notices and service of process, where making stuff reach destination is more important than making sure the reader understands what's what. So I'd leave it the Portuguese way.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 05:55
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Use the address as it will be found on the Internet Aug 29, 2013

As a rule of thumb I leave the address in the way it would be written for use by the local postal services.

However, I do anglicise København to Copenhagen, and now Aarhus is officially spelt like that instead of Århus, which in fact I used to leave.

Another rule of thumb I go by is what is used on the website concerned if it is a company - in these days it is possible to search for further information, and anyone reading a legal document would be able to do so.

Details can be looked up in the national Register of Companies and places like that too - which means in general I do not translate adresses much.


[Edited at 2013-08-29 13:02 GMT]


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:55
Chinese to English
Joy of proofreading Aug 29, 2013

Like you suggest, I reckon the joy of proofreading is precisely that you don't have to make this decision. The translator has made it. The issue may be slightly controversial and you may not be sure about the translator's choice, but it's not clearly wrong. And so as proofreader it's explicitly not your job to rethink this stuff. At least, that's my understanding of how proofreading should work.

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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:55
German to English
The joys of EN 15038 Aug 30, 2013

The translator doesn't need to worry about it, because taking care of that sort of formalities is the agencies' task. The proofreader doesn't need to worry about it, because there is no definitive reason to doubt the translator's decision. The PM doesn't need to worry about it, because he or she has neither the time nor the inclination to second-guess the unanimous decision of translator and proofreader. The end client doesn't need to worry about it, because they hired an EN 15038-certified agency who organized a proofreader for them ...

I agree with our other colleagues here that the answer to your question is: The addresses should either be anglicized or not. That is to say, how can you proofread a text if you "don't know the actual intent of the document"?


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Ward Whittaker  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:55
Portuguese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for all the responses. Aug 30, 2013

You brought up a good point Michael re knowing the intent of the document, but as you would know that information is always "on a need to know basis" and most agencies don't think that we lowly translators and proofreaders "need to know". This is from a large global agency - no names, no pack drill - but to hint, it's a large global agency that has recently copped a lot of flack recently on the blogosphere for unilaterally lowering rates.

In the end I went with leaving it as-is. I figure that the translator should have had that info re intent and mine is not to wonder why, mine is just to do or die. Thanks again all, Ward

[Edited at 2013-08-30 11:33 GMT]


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Déesse
Local time: 05:55
French to Dutch
+ ...
Amen to that! Aug 30, 2013

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

Hi, Ward. I use a simple rule: if it's supposed to be a working postal address that will make sure the letters reach their destination, I leave it like it is. In all other contexts, I translate whatever is there to translate, except I'm not a big fan of messing with street names and numbers, especially when translating from a language with inflection.


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George Hopkins
Local time: 05:55
Swedish to English
Offside comment Aug 31, 2013

Many years ago when I was living in Sundbyberg, just outside Stockholm, Sweden, near the Bromma Airport) I received a letter from England addressed:

George Hopkins
Skogsgatan
Sweden

The letter found me without any delay.
The street-name Skogsgatan (ie, Forest Road) is fairly common all over Sweden. There was no number given, and no village or town.

Three cheers for the Swedish Postal Service -- it has an efficient detective force.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:55
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My input Aug 31, 2013

Ward Whittaker wrote:

Hi all,

I am proofreading a large Portuguese to English document with a large list of addresses (see below) and the translator has just cut and pasted all of them. When I am translating, I normally anglicize words like sala - room, bairro - suburb, nº - No.,Município - Municipality etc etc.

Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, nº. 1.478, salas 1104 A e 1116, Bairro Pinheiros, CEP 01451-913, Município de São Paulo, Estado de São Paulo,

What is the general opinion on whether addresses should be anglicized or not. Thanks for your opinions folks, Ward


Ward, as someone has mentioned here, it depends mostly on the purpose/intent of the document. In other words, what would be done with that address.

If your example were intended to address an envelope to be sent by mail, it would read like this:

Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 1.478 - salas 1104 A e 1116
Bairro Pinheiros (optional - the postal code makes it unnecessary)
01451-913 São Paulo - SP


This format would be ideal, e.g. on a business agreement where some clause stipulates that all provisioned notifications to this party should be sent to this address.

On the other hand, if the address is part of the identification of the party, it would be better to use:

Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 1.478, suites 1104 A and 1116, Pinheiros neighborhood, Postal Code 01451-913, São Paulo city, São Paulo state


This would made it clear to the EN reader which is what there. It will prevent situations like mine, once in Tel-Aviv, dialing someone's ZIP code on the phone, from the address provided. It will also identify location for any state or local issues, if they ever come up, e.g. involving taxes or jurisdiction.

Anyway, as someone else said, this is a decision which should have been made by the translator, who received the original briefing. As the proofreader, your mission is to prevent a low level translation to commit ANY of the following (AFAICS all possible listed):

Brigadier Would Do Lime Boulevard, 1,478 - rooms 1104 A and 1116, Pine Trees Barrio, SPC* 01451-913, city of Saint Paul, state of Saint Paul


*SPC = Statistical Process Control, which in PT is also CEP = Controle Estatístico de Processo, on top of Código de Endereçamento Postal.

All these blunders are possible with MT or PEMT in the wrong hands.


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