Translating a tourist guide
Thread poster: Sarah Sanders

Sarah Sanders  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:58
Spanish to English
Feb 4, 2015

I'm helping a friend of a friend by translating a city tourism guide that he co-wrote and illustrated, Spanish-English. This guide describes a little of the city's history, architecture, food scene, and customs. I would welcome any advice on doing this kind of translating, because I'm finding that I don't want to leave out some of the great words that English-speaking tourists and visitors would love to learn as they travel. I'm used to largely translating research articles in medicine and psychiatry, so this is some new material for me, although I know the city well!

1. How have other translators handled tourist media? I like the ideas of leaving some words in Spanish because explaining them is either unnecessary or lengthy. A lot of these words are colloquial, also, so I think it adds some learning for the traveller. Plus, since this is a guide for Pamplona, there is a mix of Spanish and Basque in the original text. An example would be leaving the word "mozo" for runner in the running of the bulls. Contextually, it's pretty clear who the "mozos" are and what they're doing, and it seems really boring to call them "runners" or something every time.

2. In a similar vein, how should I handle plaza names, or other titles? For example, the Plaza de Castillo in Pamplona could be called just that, but it would also be beneficial for the tourist to know that this translates to "Castle Plaza". Could both versions be present? Or should I just stick to original proper nouns?

3. Finally, can anyone lend good advice on address and telephone number formatting? I know how I (an American) would format it in my own guide, but I'm not sure it makes sense to do this when translating. Do I even need to translate addresses and phone numbers, or leave them as they are?

Thanks for any help offered.


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 01:58
Chinese to English
Use Lonely Planet as a reference Feb 5, 2015

I think all of those are great ideas, though they'll ultimately be the publisher's choice. If the book gets published as part of a series, the publisher will want to maintain consistency with the other books.

In the absence of clear guidance from a publisher or the authors, I would just pick a well-known guidebook series and copy their style choices. I've always liked Lonely Planet - they seem to have the same approach you do of hoping that the traveller will engage with and learn about the destination, so they might be a good choice.


 

Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:58
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
My two cents Feb 5, 2015

I agree to Phil. I ask the customer how he wants me to do it and it's never the same way depending on the client.

In the doubt I use the original names for roads, places etc. as the tourist does not know where he is if the names are different from a local street map (except if there are very well none places which are famous in the whole world...) As you say sometimes it can really make sense to put down those names in two languages and I'd say without clear guidelines just do that if you feel it's right.

Concerning phone numbers you normally need to put the countries prefix. I would not translate the road names though as the post will not arrive if someone has got the idea to write a letter... I do translate other names though (e. g. tourist offices), but always ask the customer how he wants it to be done. Some want to keep both languages, some only German, some only French...

I'd say discuss that with your friend and his editor (if he has one) and have a look into other guides just as Phil tells you.


 

Agnes Lenkey  Identity Verified
German to Spanish
+ ...
Some items shouldn't be translated Feb 5, 2015

Hi,

I agree with my colleaugues in everything. It is useful to take a look into other similar guides, that will help you for sure. And it depends on the editor/publisher as well.

In my experience some concepts may never be translated, like street names, addresses, and it is important to add the country code to the telephone number.

Regarding the first question, I think it is useful to preserve (in italic, for example) some original concepts like the word you cited ("mozo"), I would only make sure that I explain its meaning in English the first time it appears in the text.

Best regards,

Agnes


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mozo bites Feb 5, 2015

Agnes Lenkey wrote:

Hi,

I agree with my colleaugues in everything. It is useful to take a look into other similar guides, that will help you for sure. And it depends on the editor/publisher as well.

In my experience some concepts may never be translated, like street names, addresses, and it is important to add the country code to the telephone number.

Regarding the first question, I think it is useful to preserve (in italic, for example) some original concepts like the word you cited ("mozo"), I would only make sure that I explain its meaning in English the first time it appears in the text.

Best regards,

Agnes


And make sure you also explain it doesn't rhyme with "bozo"...icon_smile.gif


 

Sylvia Germroth Nordebo  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 19:58
Member (2006)
Swedish to German
+ ...
It depends... Feb 6, 2015

Dear Sarah,

translating tourist guides I partly think about which information I would like to have or need as a tourist myself or what I would find confusing.

That means that I would keep idiomatic terms like "Mozo" but maybe explain once what it is, depending on, if space is limited or not (that is my "it depends"). I would, maybe in brackets, give a translation of places or even roads or the names of restaurants and other locations, if it is interesting for the reader, if it is fun to know and gives more information. I think it makes a guide more colorful and pleasant to read. But I would always keep the original as well to make sure that the locations can be found on a map, the addresses can be told to the taxi driver etc.

I would not translate roads or names in addresses, to make sure that they can be used in the right way for mail etc. I would, as already mentioned, insert the country code in telephone numbers to make it easier to call from abroad.

A look in similar guides is certainly useful, even if they maybe follow different rules, but you can see and choose what you think is best to propose to the client.

Kind regards
Sylvia


 


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