Should file names be translated?
Thread poster: julieleg

julieleg
English to French
Jul 27, 2010

Hi,

Is anyone aware of a best practice concerning file names and whether or not they should be translated?

For example, if the source file is named "_MigrationGuide_en.pdf", should the French translation of that file be named "_GuideDeMigration_fr.pdf"?

Many thanks,

Julie


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Maja Basara  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 01:51
English to Croatian
+ ...
Re: Should file names be translated? Jul 27, 2010

Hi, Julie.

I've never translated file names. In my experience the clients ask for the original file name to be preserved and a note about the language into which it was translated to be added.

Specifically, your translation of "_MigrationGuide_en.pdf" would be titled "_MigrationGuide_fr.pdf".

Have a nice day.


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Agnieszka Ufland  Identity Verified
Poland
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
Best to ask Jul 27, 2010

Julie,
I translate documentation for a Polish branch of an international corporation and I often find references to other files in the texts.
This company is my direct client so I always ask if they already have a Polish name for that particular file and then either stick to their nomenclature or translate it for them.

If I worked work an agency, I'd do the same.
Alternatively, if your queries are not answered, you might want to translate the file name and leave the original name in brackets, so that the final user of the text can easily refer to the file, irrespectively of the fact whether its name has been translated.


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:51
German to English
+ ...
Never! Jul 27, 2010

Just add the suffix as Maja suggests. This could lead to a nightmare for project managers and certainly will not make you popular.

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Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:51
Member (2004)
English to Polish
It depends... Jul 27, 2010

Textklick wrote:

Never!

Just add the suffix as Maja suggests. This could lead to a nightmare for project managers and certainly will not make you popular.


Never say never... Right now I have a project where all filenames (and references to them) have to be translated, as otherwise they would link to original texts and not to my translation.

Adding a suffix would be as bad as translating the name, as the file could be referenced (linked) automatically somewhere... Not to mention that the client might use other language codes than you might choose yourself.

It all depends on the client's needs, it is a decision you cannot really make yourself.

[Edited at 2010-07-27 12:44 GMT]


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julieleg
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
thank you and some context Jul 27, 2010

Hello again,

Thank you all for your answers. I realize I should have provided more context (what else?).

I am the documentation manager for a small team of technical writers working for a software editor. Our doc is produced in English and although we do not translate the bulk of our work, we have French and German versions of some product documentation (in-house translators).

We are moving over to a new tool for publishing our documents to the company website, where clients can search for and download the files. The people responsible for developing this tool are going to automatically generate file names for us to ensure consistency across the board and are asking me if we should generate translated file names or not.

How we manage file names before they become deliverable to our end users is a different question. Indeed, we could have an alphanumerical code with just a language specific suffix and it wouldn't matter.

However, once the documents are delivered on the website and downloaded, clients will be left with only the file names. My gut feeling was that clients should have files with names that are understandable to them (without having to open the file).

Thanks again for your input!

Julie


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes (in your case) Jul 27, 2010

julieleg wrote:
We are moving over to a new tool for publishing our documents to the company website, where clients can search for and download the files. The people responsible for developing this tool are going to automatically generate file names for us to ensure consistency across the board and are asking me if we should generate translated file names or not.


In your case, I would say "yes".

If I was in charge of the naming scheme, I'd suggest giving every document a serial number and a translatable name. For example, the document's serial number may be "12345" and it is in English and the document's name is "Migration Guide", then the full document title would be "Migration Guide 12345en.doc". The French translation of that document would then be "Guide de Migration 12345fr.doc" (or whatever "migration guide" is in French).

This means that users downloading the files will see the file name in their own language, but anyone else from the company can easily find a document in a search by searching for its serial number, or they can easily find the version in their language by doing a search by serial number.


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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:51
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Depends Jul 27, 2010

If the document the link refers to is also translated then I would translate the name of the file, but if the document is not translated then I would leave in the original language

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
What's the problem? Jul 27, 2010

I always change filenames to something that has meaning for me or my own system whenever I download a file. When I send it back to the client, the client probably changes it in the same fashion. So what's the problem?

Let everyone use whatever filenames they choose for themselves. It's a no-brainer.


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Taylor Kirk  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Same thing... Jul 27, 2010

Jabberwock wrote:

Textklick wrote:

Never!

Just add the suffix as Maja suggests. This could lead to a nightmare for project managers and certainly will not make you popular.


Never say never... Right now I have a project where all filenames (and references to them) have to be translated, as otherwise they would link to original texts and not to my translation.

Adding a suffix would be as bad as translating the name, as the file could be referenced (linked) automatically somewhere... Not to mention that the client might use other language codes than you might choose yourself.

It all depends on the client's needs, it is a decision you cannot really make yourself.

[Edited at 2010-07-27 12:44 GMT]



****What you are doing here is not translating; you are writing the untranslated title of the NEW document (your translation). You may just happen to use translated words in the new file name.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:51
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ask your customer Jul 27, 2010

As simple as that!

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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:51
Swedish to English
+ ...
And I agree with Samuel Jul 27, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:

In your case, I would say "yes".



As you're working in-house and trying to implement a document management system, the answer can only be yes.

Not only because this will, probably, make your clients less hesitant about downloading files, but also because it makes sense from a SEO perspective.

I also work in-house and our files, for now, until I can change the system, have to have names which are not very conductive from an SEO perspective. For example, all European languages use the same CMS module (CMS = content management system). As such, all files have to have the same URL, regardless of language. From an SEO perspective, this is less than ideal. A Swedish potential client will use "kundavtal", or similar, to find a "customer agreement". As our page with the Swedish customer agreement has a file name of "customer-ageement.hml", this gives us no SEO benefits.


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kmtext
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:51
English
+ ...
Consult your client, but... Jul 28, 2010

personally, I would leave the filename as is, but add either a suffix or prefix to indicate the language the file has been translated into. This is especially true in the case of files being translated into multiple languages. It allows the client to group them all together easily, for example: document_en, document_fr, document_de. If you translate the filename it can coplicate matters for the client, especially if they can't understand the language it's been translated into. Would aithisg.doc be related to document.doc, report.doc or to another file entirely?

If it's within a document, depending on whether or not the target file referred to has been translated, I would either not change it, or again use the suffix/prefix, possibly with a translation of the file name in brackets if necessary.


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julieleg
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Aug 17, 2010

Thank you to everybody who replied to this post. As I am the client , I've decided to go with translated filenames.

Best regards,
Julie


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