Should I translate the address?
Thread poster: Hin und Wieder

Hin und Wieder  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:22
Member (2012)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Apr 21, 2013

I am translating a manual from (bad) English into Dutch. The agency and the manufacturer are from China. Now the agency insists on translating the address into Dutch, such as building, block etc. Isn't that strange, I mean...how well do Chinese mailmen have knowledge of Dutch?

What would you do or are there rules I might oversee?

edited for typo

[Edited at 2013-04-21 06:36 GMT]


 

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 17:22
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
As per client request Apr 21, 2013

I'd say go with the client request. If they hadn't given you guidelines, I would have said don't translate addresses, since that is my usual instruction from similar languages. Having said that, when I translate from Japanese, I always have to translate the addresses. I don't think complicating your life by pondering why they would want it done is worth it - you could simply ask them why - but if that is the client request, do it and charge for it.

 

xxxpropella  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:22
English to Russian
+ ...
The address in the original language should be in brackets in italics Apr 21, 2013

From time to time I translate some texts for the European institutions. I am requested to write the names or addresses in the target language (following the rules of the target language), but in brackets I must write the names or addresses in the original language in brackets in italics. I hope this is helpful for you and will settle the dispute with the customer as wellicon_smile.gif

 

Hin und Wieder  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:22
Member (2012)
German to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Insisting Apr 21, 2013

The agency replied that it must be translated. So it will be done. Maybe someone can notify the postal service overthere, or streetnames need to be changed.

Thank you for your replies.


 

kok seng loh
Local time: 23:22
Chinese to English
+ ...
Translating Chinese Addresses Apr 21, 2013

Well, I translate all Chinese addresses into English ones for translations with addresses. Maybe the addresses are not for the postmen. Even if it is in Dutch or other languages, there is a possibility that Chinese postmen are quite resourceful. Let us assume that.

In fact, for Taiwanese addresses, there is official government document describing the translation of addresses from Taiwanese Mandarin to English. How about that!!


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:22
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Reminds me Apr 21, 2013

of a friend sending a parcel to Algeria. He had to write the address in Arabic because it's the law that you write the address in Arabic, but then he added the address in French underneath because otherwise the Algerian postal workers would not send it to the right address.
(He may have been exaggerating of course - I hasten to add that he was Algerian!)


 

svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:22
French to German
+ ...
English may make sense... Apr 21, 2013

kok seng loh wrote:

Well, I translate all Chinese addresses into English ones for translations with addresses. Maybe the addresses are not for the postmen. Even if it is in Dutch or other languages, there is a possibility that Chinese postmen are quite resourceful. Let us assume that.


English as a lingua franca may make sense, but translations into other languages? Chinese postmen would have to be geniuses to be able to read all the languages that address might get translated into... I really wonder why a client would insist on the translation of an address. Just doesn't seem to make any sense at all.


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 20:52
English to Hindi
+ ...
An interesting and relevant question Apr 22, 2013

This issue frequently crops up in Hindi translation.

If you look at it from the point of view of functionality, it makes no sense because ultimately the postman in the end post office will have to be able to read it to deliver the letter.

But, it many cases addresses are there with other purposes such as in a contract where they are to be read by the person speaking only the target language for whom the rest of the document is also being translated. Here it makes sense to translate/transliterate the address.

There is also the issue of translation/transliteration with regard to addresses. In most cases it would actually be a combination of both these. Addresses have both proper nouns and common nouns within them. The proper names can only be transliterated, while the common nouns (such as words like street, lane, building, storey, etc., and directions like east, west, top, near, etc.) should be translated. Even in the case of some proper names, the target language may have a different word, which should then be used. For example, Egypt in Hindi is Misra (मिस्र), and China is Cheen (चीन). So while translating these country names misra and cheen would be used in Hindi.

Also it might help to give the English version of the address along with the translated/transliterated address if the document is meant for those parts of the world where English would be understood, but this would be meaningless in other situations. For example, if a document is being translated from Japanese into Chinese, then there is no point in giving the address in English as neither of these societies knows English. Same is the case with a translation from Arabic to Persian/Farsi, or Bengali to Hindi, etc.

[2013-04-22 01:32 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]


 

kok seng loh
Local time: 23:22
Chinese to English
+ ...
That is not my claim Apr 22, 2013

inkweaver wrote:

English as a lingua franca may make sense, but translations into other languages? Chinese postmen would have to be geniuses to be able to read all the languages that address might get translated into... I really wonder why a client would insist on the translation of an address. Just doesn't seem to make any sense at all.


I am not saying that Chinese postmen are geniuses. They may have avenues for consultation. Why would Chinese postmen who are geniuses be postmen? Why don't they be freelance translators like us? He he.

Anyway, I still think Chinese civil jobs pay crumbs.

[Edited at 2013-04-22 02:50 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-04-22 02:51 GMT]


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:22
Member (2008)
French to English
Universal Postal Union Apr 22, 2013

For the record, there is an international standard by the Universal Postal Union on addresses in all countries. So postmen don't have to be geniuses, just trained in the standard that applies to their job. Information on addressing standards for different countries is found at http://www.upu.int/en/activities/addressing/standards.html .

That said, an address isn't always for the purposes of postal mail. Whether it should be translated or not would (as always) depend on the audience and use it will be put to.


 

keshab  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:52
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Client's choice Apr 22, 2013

John Fossey wrote:

an address isn't always for the purposes of postal mail. Whether it should be translated or not would (as always) depend on the audience and use it will be put to.


True.It is not essential that every translation of letters with addresses needed to be delivered to the target audience. It may have legal aspects. Particularly, when we translate certificates, address translation is a must. In other cases, client's advise gets most priority because he knows what is the purpose of translation.


 

Hin und Wieder  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:22
Member (2012)
German to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I agree Apr 22, 2013

That it is the clients wish. I just do not get it. The translation is a user manual. The users can send repairs to this address. Anyway, the endcustomer was very pleased and to me that was very valuable.

Thank you for all your contributions!


 
Yeah, they're right Apr 23, 2013

If they ask you to do something, do it. Still, I'd include an email to let them know your concerns. If I were the client, I would appreciate it.

 
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