translating abbreviations and acronyms
Thread poster: Richardson Lisa

Richardson Lisa  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:09
Member (2009)
French to English
Mar 24, 2014

Hi all
I know there has already been a thread on this subject but it doesn't seem to answer my question.
I have a text with a lot of repeated abbreviations and acronyms.
I've decide to follow the format - translation of source acronym + acronym and original titles in brackets
so for example: National Agency for Urban Renovation (ANRU, Agence Nationale pour la Rénovation Urbaine)
My problem is that this crops up many times throughout the text with just the acronym so should I repeat the process throughout the text? It would make it very clumsy and difficult to read. Should I just leave the original acronym from the second entry on?

All thoughts welcome

regards

Lisa


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:09
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
This is what I do Mar 24, 2014

I only ever "translate" an acronym the first time it appears, all other times I just leave the acronym.

How I "translate" the acronym depends on how it appears in the text.

i.e. source document just has ANRU
then I would translate as "ANRU (Agence Nationale pour la Rénovation Urbaine [National Agency for Urban Renovation])"

i.e. source document has "Agence Nationale pour la Rénovation Urbaine (ANRU)"
then I would translate as you did "National Agency for Urban Renovation (ANRU, Agence Nationale pour la Rénovation Urbaine)"


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:09
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
just the acronym after the first time Mar 24, 2014

I usually put "French agency for urban renovation (Agence Nationale pour la Rénovation Urbaine, or ANRU)" the first time, and thereafter just ANRU.

I would put French rather than National, because that would be how a person from an English-speaking person would think of it. If I post on Facebook that "I saw a great performance last night at the National Theatre" my friends in London will post "what, you're in London and never told me? whose place are you staying at?", it wouldn't occur to anyone that I meant a French theatre.
And no caps, unless I happen on an official translation, which I very rarely do.

[Edited at 2014-03-24 21:36 GMT]


 

Debora Serrentino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:09
Member (2016)
English to Italian
A proposal Mar 24, 2014

My proposal is: translate the acronym only the very first time you find it, then leave the original acronym from the second entry on.
You could as well add an appendix or addendum with an explanation of all the acronyms at the end of your translation.


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:09
English to Spanish
+ ...
Notes Mar 24, 2014

Translator's notes are also a way to deal with this. My usual practice is to leave the original acronym in the text and define it in a note.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends Mar 25, 2014

Some abbreviations are so widely used in the source language, like the "SAT" in Mexico (www.sat.gob.mx), RENFE in Spain or SNCF in France that sometimes it's better to leave them as is, but with a definition. Then again, "AT" (Tax Agency) could either be AT or TA.... so I usually discuss this kind of option with the client.

In order to avoid wasting time searching for meanings, I also insist that the clients who use abbreviations and acronyms other than the most widely used (SNCF, NATO, BBC, UK, etc) must define them from the word go, otherwise I won't be able to guarantee the correct translation.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
SOP Mar 25, 2014

Richardson Lisa wrote:

... National Agency for Urban Renovation (ANRU, Agence Nationale pour la Rénovation Urbaine)
My problem is that this crops up many times throughout the text with just the acronym so should I repeat the process throughout the text? It would make it very clumsy and difficult to read. Should I just leave the original acronym from the second entry on?

All thoughts welcome

regards

Lisa


Yes, I think you should.
The first time it appears, I'd use "National Agency for Urban Renovation (ANRU, Agence Nationale pour la Rénovation Urbaine)".
After that, I think "National Agency for Urban Renovation (ANRU)" is fine, as nobody woul know what NAUR was if we decided to translate the acronym as well as its full form.


 

Little Woods  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Member
English to Vietnamese
This is also my approach Mar 25, 2014

I also handle it like this, and this is also instructed in some style guide I saw.


Alex Lago wrote:

I only ever "translate" an acronym the first time it appears, all other times I just leave the acronym.

How I "translate" the acronym depends on how it appears in the text.

i.e. source document just has ANRU
then I would translate as "ANRU (Agence Nationale pour la Rénovation Urbaine [National Agency for Urban Renovation])"

i.e. source document has "Agence Nationale pour la Rénovation Urbaine (ANRU)"
then I would translate as you did "National Agency for Urban Renovation (ANRU, Agence Nationale pour la Rénovation Urbaine)"


 

Mark Cole  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:09
Polish to English
+ ...
It's also a standard requirement for EU translations Mar 25, 2014

Your approach of using the original acronym is also a standard requirement for EU translations, to prevent too many different versions appearing.

On the other hand, if it's the only agency mentioned in the text, you could simply call it "the agency"/the Agency".


 


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