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Target languages that require further clarification when a translation is requested
Thread poster: Enrique Cavalitto

Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:59
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
Apr 3, 2013

I am responsible for the Translators without Borders Workspace powered by ProZ.com and we are looking for possible improvements to the information gathered when a translation is requested by a humanitarian organization.

In particular, I am looking to the target languages that require further clarification when a translation is requested. this can mean a language variant or a way of writing the translation.

I understand that the translator should always receive as much information as possible, but I am interested in those cases where additional information would be considered critical for the quality of the project.

The instances I have in mind are:
Portuguese (European or Brazilian)
Chinese (traditional or simplified)
Serbian (Latin or Cyrillic writing)

To a lesser extent we could add
English (American or British)

Can you suggest more instances for this list?

Thanks,
Enrique


 

yam2u  Identity Verified
United States
Member
English to Malay
+ ...
Malay (Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia) Apr 3, 2013

This Wikipedia entry gives quite a comprehensive clarification: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Malaysian_and_Indonesian

 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:59
Chinese to English
Split Chinese by region Apr 4, 2013

Make it Chinese (mainland/Taiwan/Hong Kong) - that would be much more accurate and useful.

 

Shah Zaman
Local time: 06:59
I think that you are missing important business with out urdu and punjabi languages. Apr 4, 2013

Enrique Cavalitto wrote:

I am responsible for the Translators without Borders Workspace powered by ProZ.com and we are looking for possible improvements to the information gathered when a translation is requested by a humanitarian organization.

In particular, I am looking to the target languages that require further clarification when a translation is requested. this can mean a language variant or a way of writing the translation.

I understand that the translator should always receive as much information as possible, but I am interested in those cases where additional information would be considered critical for the quality of the project.

The instances I have in mind are:
Portuguese (European or Brazilian)
Chinese (traditional or simplified)
Serbian (Latin or Cyrillic writing)

To a lesser extent we could add
English (American or British)

Can you suggest more instances for this list?

Thanks,
Enrique


 

Hin und Wieder  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:59
Member (2012)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Dutch, German Apr 4, 2013

Dutch for Belgium or the Netherlands, Swiss, Austrian or German German.

 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 04:59
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Same German in Austria Apr 4, 2013

Angelique Blommaert wrote:

Dutch for Belgium or the Netherlands, Swiss, Austrian or German German.


IMO there is no Austrian German. I work most of the time for Austrian customers and never have they said anything about it. And for Switzerland the only difference is that they do not use the "ß" but write "ss" instead.
Of course in every country there are cases where they differ in terminology in some areas, but there is no-one in Switzerland that would not understand written German German. But when publishing original Swiss content for a German audience some modification might be useful. This does not apply to translation from foreign languages into German.


 

Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 03:59
English to German
+ ...
German for Switzerland Apr 4, 2013

Beside "ss" instead of "ß" there are many expressions that are different and might have another meaning in Germany, e.g. "Umtriebe".

 

Danu  Identity Verified
Eritrea
Local time: 04:59
Member (2006)
English to Tigrinya
+ ...
For Tigrinya Apr 4, 2013

You can have Tigrinya (ERITREA) and Tigrinya (Tigray - ETHIOPIA).

 

KKastenhuber  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 03:59
Russian to German
+ ...
German: Clarify, but don't exclude translators Apr 4, 2013

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

IMO there is no Austrian German. I work most of the time for Austrian customers and never have they said anything about it. And for Switzerland the only difference is that they do not use the "ß" but write "ss" instead.
Of course in every country there are cases where they differ in terminology in some areas, but there is no-one in Switzerland that would not understand written German German. But when publishing original Swiss content for a German audience some modification might be useful. This does not apply to translation from foreign languages into German.


Rolf Kern wrote:

Beside "ss" instead of "ß" there are many expressions that are different and might have another meaning in Germany, e.g. "Umtriebe".


We had this very same discussion when the "native language variant" option was implemented. IMHO, written Austrian Standard German is hardly distinguishable from Germany Standard German in most cases (unless you translate a menu), and Germans are well able to translate for the Austrian market and vice versa. It's a bit more complicated with Swiss Standard German, since the differences are bigger and probably also not as commonly known to translators outside Switzerland. This means that it might be hard for an Austrian/German translator to translate for an exclusively Swiss audience; however, the other way around would usually work just fine.

I'd say "clarifying" is okay as long as it doesn't mean that Swiss or Austrian translators are automatically excluded from jobs intended for Germany, because in the case of German, that's what it seems to boil down to whenever this "language variant" issue comes up: German translators from Germany are thought of as the ones who speak and write "correct" German, whereas Austrian and Swiss translators are thought to speak and write a less prestigious variant of it and are therefore to be avoided. This is simply not the case and IMO it shouldn't be suggested to customers by splitting things up where it's not necessary.


 

Tahira Rafiq  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:59
Member
English to Urdu
+ ...
split Punjabi by region Apr 4, 2013

Two variants of Punjabi script are commonly known, pakistani Punjabi and indian Punjabi. I am not sure if Punjabi is included but these two variants should be taken into confederation before asking for translation.

[Edited at 2013-04-04 19:10 GMT]


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:59
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Style used when addressing the reader - formal or informal Apr 5, 2013

I understand that you are not only looking for language variants, dialects, but style of speech, too.
In some languages - Hungarian is one of them, but so is French and Russian - the style of speech can be formal or informal depending on how the reader (user) is addressed. Formal style is normally used in business contexts, and among grownup strangers. Friends or colleagues may address each other informally. Grownups usually address children informally, and children address other children informally. Children supposed to address grownups formally, unless they are family and/or have special permission from the grownup to use informal style.

The difference between these styles is mainly how verbs are conjugated, but also there are differences in vocabulary. In English and in many other languages, this issue does not come up, as "you" is universally used to address another person, regardless of age or social status.

If the text contains instructions (do this, do that, check this, etc.) it is very important to know which style is needed for the client. This usually depends on the target audience, and sometimes on the image the client wants to project. For example, IKEA (unlike most companies) has its entire website written in informal Hungarian, because this is the corporate image they desire.

Clarifying the style at the start of the project is crucial, as it is not easy to change a finished project from one style to the other.

Just my 2 cents
Katalin

[Edited at 2013-04-05 04:41 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-04-05 16:38 GMT]


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:59
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Italian... Apr 5, 2013

for Switzerland...

 

Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:59
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Apr 5, 2013

Thanks a lot for a very useful discussion.

Kind regards,
Enrique


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:59
English to Polish
+ ...
Polish May 4, 2013

Splitting hairs over Polish is probably not your top concern, especially not when compared to getting the right German (Swiss German can be a different language altogether) or Portuguese, but the problem with English into Polish translation is that you always need a heckton of information if you're going for maximum precision and best literary style at the same time. This is because every single translation from English to Polish is a redaction, with a heavy dose of editing works. You can't just translate. Polish words have minute precise forms, the morphology of which sometimes differs in one letter only, but the impact on style is huge. You can cut so many corners when expressing yourself in English compared to Polish that you wouldn't believe.

For example, sometimes you've got just a single, moderately colloquial but socially acceptable verb in English, no object, no adverbials, no nothing. In Polish, you've got to make it into 19th century prose or else the chattering classes will be markedly unhappy with your perceived lack of nobility (like anybody cares in real life). This means you have to describe the activity in more detail and also equip it with an object. In addition, you have the usual grammatical genders, a bunch of declinations ("declensions") and conjugations, imperfect or perfect aspects, and choosing the right word in English is not even close to choosing the right word in Polish, either. In short, nothing is so simple.

The above basically means that the author or client or whoever it is needs to be accessible for information requests where both top precision and best style are required. The same applies to translating from any more synthetical language into a more analytical one (the opposite direction merely requires a skilled translator), or from one with less morphological diversity into one with more. (English does belong to the "complicated" group when it comes to subtleties of tenses.)

Furthermore, the translator may just need a bit more leeway than usual when he's supposed to be pulling 10% more content out of thin air (the usual difference between Polish and English) when putting meat on the English bare bones.


 

Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:59
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! May 9, 2013

Thanks a lot for your valuable comments!
Regards,
Enrique


 
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