Conveying something in a translation that is already a target language word
Thread poster: Roni_S
Roni_S  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 09:53
Slovak to English
Dec 19, 2016

I am wondering how to deal with this issue:

Part of my document talks about a company name that is made up of two English words, and it explains that word one, let's say "XXX" means XXX in English, and word two "YYY" means YYY in English. It's obviously silly to translate this the way it is written because I would end up with XXX means XXX in English...

Is there a clever way to work around the definition part, essentially omitting the language that talks about "what it means"? I have an idea of how I want to do it but I really did just want to get some feedback about how you may have dealt with this in the past.

I appreciate any input.


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Tony Keily  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:53
Italian to English
+ ...
Leave it out Dec 19, 2016

Leave it out!

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:53
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Omit it Dec 19, 2016

If you're translating into English, then there's no need for you to translate English words into English. Obviously, the target audience knows their own language. In fact, if you should "translate" (?) English into English, this could create an impression that the target audience might not be considered as being very smart.

[Edited at 2016-12-19 13:17 GMT]


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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:53
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Depends on what you want to convey Dec 19, 2016

Depends on the context and what the purpose of the translation in your source text is, I'd say. In many cases you probably can simply omit it. In other cases (eg. when the source text translates something in order to explain what it does) you might want to rephrase by saying something like "as the name suggests..." or similar.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:53
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Either leave it out, or say something about why the firm chose precisely that word Dec 19, 2016

You may have to consult the client if you want to use an explanation, but that is one way of doing it.

The easiest is to leave it out - IF the words are used in the standard way for the target language.

Sometimes they are not! And then it gets really difficult.
I don't think it was ever used as a brand name, but when I was pregnant, my mother-in-law kept talking about a 'babylift', something we could not do without. I could not remember any of my relatives having a babylift, but it was English, surely I knew?
Finally we went to look at them in the shops, and I discovered she meant what we called a carry-cot. (And we found a sling or kangaroo-pouch much more practical anyway, but that is another story!)

You may need to explain things like that, but otherwise just leave it out.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:53
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It depends Dec 19, 2016

Thomas Pfann wrote:
Depends on the context and what the purpose of the translation in your source text is, I'd say. In many cases you probably can simply omit it. In other cases (eg. when the source text translates something in order to explain what it does) you might want to rephrase by saying something like "as the name suggests..." or similar.

Yes, I think you have to put yourself in the shoes of the client and wonder what it is they'd like to convey to English speakers about their name. Maybe nothing at all, if it's that self-explanatory, or maybe they would have something to say.

I tend to work closely with end clients, even when it's through an agency, so it's definitely a question I'd raise with my client, along with a proposal of my own.


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:53
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Consult with the client Dec 19, 2016

That's what I would do. I would explain them the situation and tell them I would omit that part OR, if possible, offer a paraphrase of the passage, especially if the text has a marketing/promotional nature.

For instance, if the text said something like: "The name of the company is xxx yyy, where xxx means X and yyy means Y", I could go with something along the lines of: "The name of the company, xxx yyy, already shows its commitment/dedication/whatever to...".


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:53
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Horrors Dec 19, 2016

Christine Andersen wrote:

.....when I was pregnant, my mother-in-law kept talking about a 'babylift', something we could not do without. I could not remember any of my relatives having a babylift, but it was English, surely I knew?....



A "baby lift" (two words) would be a lift (or elevator if you're American) for babies only.
A "babylift" (one word) would be a facelift for babies. Not content with wrecking their own faces as they age ungracefully, are women (and even some men) of a certain type now considering botox injections and cosmetic surgery for new-born babies?

Horrors....

PS and on the subject of silliness: according to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, "Brexit" means "Brexit".

[Edited at 2016-12-19 13:34 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:53
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Good point! Dec 19, 2016

Christine Andersen wrote:
I don't think it was ever used as a brand name, but when I was pregnant, my mother-in-law kept talking about a 'babylift', something we could not do without. I could not remember any of my relatives having a babylift, but it was English, surely I knew?
Finally we went to look at them in the shops, and I discovered she meant what we called a carry-cot. (And we found a sling or kangaroo-pouch much more practical anyway, but that is another story!)

I bet Germans don't think they need to explain what a handy is to English speakers. And French people think we know what to do with a paperboard in a meeting. And I'm sure there are examples in the opposite direction too.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:53
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Actually Dec 19, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Christine Andersen wrote:
I don't think it was ever used as a brand name, but when I was pregnant, my mother-in-law kept talking about a 'babylift', something we could not do without. I could not remember any of my relatives having a babylift, but it was English, surely I knew?
Finally we went to look at them in the shops, and I discovered she meant what we called a carry-cot. (And we found a sling or kangaroo-pouch much more practical anyway, but that is another story!)

I bet Germans don't think they need to explain what a handy is to English speakers. And French people think we know what to do with a paperboard in a meeting. And I'm sure there are examples in the opposite direction too.


Actually I had no idea that a mobile phone is a "handy" in German. And I don't know what a paperboard is.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 09:53
English to Croatian
+ ...
How essential is this part for the story-line? Dec 19, 2016

If it has some effect on the dialogue and the story line, then work it around somehow. Otherwise, just leave it out.

What's the talk before and after that sentence?


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Roni_S  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 09:53
Slovak to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Dec 19, 2016

Thank you for all your replies. I can't leave it out completely as it's important to the brand, but I can work around it so that is what I shall do. Once again thank you.

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