Translating Addresses/streets
Thread poster: LaraBarnett

LaraBarnett  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:26
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Apr 24, 2011

Does anybody have any ideas on translating official addresses in bureaucratic documents? Would all the abbreviations for the foreign language equivalent of "street", "block", etc remain the same? And layout of address be the same?

Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't Apr 24, 2011

If you send a letter or parcel to an address written in another language, it stands a a good chance of not reaching its destination. I lived in Calle Alta, not High street...

Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Adress layouts Apr 24, 2011

LaraBarnett wrote:

Does anybody have any ideas on translating official addresses in bureaucratic documents? Would all the abbreviations for the foreign language equivalent of "street", "block", etc remain the same? And layout of address be the same?


A good example of Spanish-English address layouts and other writing tips can be found in the Oxford Superlex dictionary (CD). Unfortunately there isn't a version for Windows 7 and I'm not sure if it's available online, but if you're working in XP you should be able to get a copy easily enough. The 3-in-1 version has Eng-French, Eng-Spanish and Eng-German.

[Edited at 2011-04-24 11:36 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:26
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Generally unchanged Apr 24, 2011

But abbreviations can be given in full, but still in the source language. When writing French addresses in translations into English, I always capitalise words such as "rue", which are written in lower case in French. This is because using uppercase in English indicates to the English reader that this is part of the address, but would not confuse a French postman. As the reason for including the address in a document is generally to enable postal communication, the postman is the reader you should be considering.

BDF


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:26
English to German
+ ...
So true. Apr 24, 2011

neilmac wrote:

If you send a letter or parcel to an address written in another language, it stands a a good chance of not reaching its destination. I lived in Calle Alta, not High street...


When dealing with foreign addresses, it helps a lot to think about the poor mailman who has to deliver the mail.

Here is an example why the format is important, too:

It took my (quite stubborn) parents a while until they accepted the fact that US addresses show the zip code at the end of the address, not at the beginning of the line, as it is done in Germany. They insisted on their German format for ever, afraid that their letters or parcels would never make it to the airport in Germany if they wrote the address "all wrong", according to German standards.

Result: Instead of the regular 48 hours for a letter from Germany to the US West coast everything took 6-12 weeks because the letters had to be hand-cancelled. One day, our angry mailman even rang my doorbell and complained. If I could please teach my folks how to write addresses properly because not being able to use the US Mail automated systems costs them a lot of time and money.


While such delays may be OK with birthday letters, I would not recommend such practices with business correspondence.


This a cute, little real-life example. Unfortunately though, many of my customers/their IT people don't consider such little details "important" either when it comes to the design of all those little online-forms for addresses.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:26
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I would only change very minor things Apr 24, 2011

Like B D Finch, I give road names etc an initial capital letter. I often translate CVs from French to English and sometimes cannot find a capital letter in the entire name and address section. Whether that's acceptable in French, I won't comment on, but I'm sure an English-native reader wouldn't be impressed.

When I'm editing CVs that my CV workshop trainees have written themselves in English, I sometimes have to translate the address: back into French! Poor old French postman looking for "7 Station Avenue, Montpellier, France".

I might be tempted to change layout, as I do sometimes in CVs. An address on one line is entirely comprehensible to someone who lives in that country but would it make any sense to a foreigner? Would they segment it correctly into lines on an envelope? Would they know that the Dutch house number comes after the road name? Would they know that the postcode precedes the French town name?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:26
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Depends on both language and country Apr 24, 2011

LaraBarnett wrote:
Does anybody have any ideas on translating official addresses in bureaucratic documents?


It depends on the languages and on the country in which the translation will be used. So, what are they?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

LaraBarnett  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:26
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Addresses Apr 24, 2011

This is a certificate/attestation type thing from a local county council in Romania, confirming the driving licence details of this person (although it is not a driving licence itself).

The first address is the County Council address in the top right hand corner, with fax and email details. The second address is that of the person being certified and is listed within the information/data being confirmed in the "certificate/attestation type thing", ie. "address of person: xxx".

In Romanian for street is stradă and the abbreviations for number is Nr. and block (of flats) is Bl. Therefore the address reads "STR. xxxx Nr. x Bl x " and
then "B Ap." for the apartment number.

On the basis of previous posts I think I may just leave it as it is for the context.

Thanks for everyone's input, although always interesting to hear more opinions.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:26
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Depends Apr 24, 2011

If the address is for the postal worker's use or in a document of legal value, then I leave it as it is e.g. "the Contractor, resident and domiciled at Avenida Hepacaré, 123". However, in normal use I translate the address, as in a letter: "I now live at 123 Hepacaré Avenue".

For general information, in Brazil the house number comes after the address. The postcode, in xxxxx-xxx format, comes before the name of the city or sometimes on a separate line, below the address (although strictly speaking this is not correct). Standardised envelopes are available with squares for the postcode to be inserted - if these are used there is no need to include the postcode with the address.

House numbers follow a metric measurement scale, so Avenida Hepacaré 123 is 123 metres from the start of the road. In São Paulo, street numbering starts at the end nearest the city centre (except in Santo Amaro, which used to be a separate town and hence has the numbering starting from Largo Treze)

A typical Brazilian address (in local format) would be:

Avenida Presidente Vargas, 1010 cj. 11
20111-000 RIO DE JANEIRO, RJ

(cj. means "suite")

Address formats for the whole world can be found at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Address_(geography)#Address_format

http://www.columbia.edu/kermit/postal.html


[Edited at 2011-04-24 16:38 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Only translate the country and city (if there is a ZIP code) Apr 24, 2011

To stay on the safe side, don't translate addresses. I would translate the country and the city only, and the latter only if there is a postal code the post people in the target country can refer to.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxNMR
France
Local time: 01:26
French to Dutch
+ ...
Do not translate Apr 24, 2011

For me, the only exception is Brussels, where all the streets have names in two languages, and therefore for translation from French into Dutch or vv, one has to consult a map of Brussels in the target language. XX Avenue Louise (Bruxelles) = Louizalaan XX (Brussel). Leaving the address in the other language would be perceived as strange here.
Maybe the same is true for other bilingual countries or cities.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Madeleine Chevassus  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:26
Member (2010)
English to French
I would only translate country Apr 26, 2011

@tomas

I recently translated a marketing brochure; at the end there was a list of affiliates with their addresses all around the world.

I assume they were postal addresses and translated but the country name, so that the mail could be forwarded to the right direction on each side.

example:

XXX
1 Herzogstrasse
54762 - München

Allemagne



Direct link Reply with quote
 
ma1cius
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:26
French to English
+ ...
I would only translate country but... Oct 24, 2011

I have had this conversation with Italian translators whose work I've proofread/revised/reviewed/checked and they seem adamant that the city name (particularly London) should be translated where there is a translation available (Londra).

I go with the logic that the ultimate target reader of an address is the postman, as mentioned by previous writers, and I don't see any reason for translating the city name (Can anyone give a good reason for doing so?), but I will normally translate the country (or add it in the target language if there is no country in the source text) as that may be necessary for the target language postal service to forward it on to the address country postal service.

There are, of course, occasions when that is less necessary as sometimes the translation recipient is already living in the same country as the address is based, in which case I would leave the address untouched.


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Translating Addresses/streets

Advanced search







Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »
LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search