Abbreviations and acronyms are as used in the target country...?
Thread poster: Comunican

Comunican
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:24
Member (2005)
Catalan to English
+ ...
Oct 31

I was looking at a list of dos and don'ts for translators and saw the following: "The abbreviations and acronyms are as used in the target country". I'd be interested to know what people think about this.
I tend to stick to the acronym in the source language but give an explanation the first time. So, for example AEPD in Spain stands for "Agencia Española de Protección de Datos" (Spanish Data Protection Agency). So in this case, if the text referred only to the acronym, I would say "....
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I was looking at a list of dos and don'ts for translators and saw the following: "The abbreviations and acronyms are as used in the target country". I'd be interested to know what people think about this.
I tend to stick to the acronym in the source language but give an explanation the first time. So, for example AEPD in Spain stands for "Agencia Española de Protección de Datos" (Spanish Data Protection Agency). So in this case, if the text referred only to the acronym, I would say ".... AEPD (Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, or Spanish Data Protection Agency)...." and thereafter use the AEPD acronym. If the text referred to the full name, then in English I would say ".... Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (or AEPD, Spanish Data Protection Agency)...." and therefter use the AEPD acronym.
It seems to make no sense to me to create a new English acronym (in this case, it would be SDPA, which means nothing really)...
But I'm never sure whether there is definitive professional guidance on this.
Does anyone else know, please?
Thanks
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:24
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I have the same problem Oct 31

I have the same problem when I'm translating technical texts that use untranslatable acronyms- for example a recent text about Italian railway operation technology.

Example: ACCM.

In Italian this stands for "Apparato Centrale Computerizzato Multistazione" ("Central Computerised Multistation Equipment").

But I can't use the English acronym, which would be CCME, because CCME means nothing.

My solution: at the first occurrence of ACCM, I write <
... See more
I have the same problem when I'm translating technical texts that use untranslatable acronyms- for example a recent text about Italian railway operation technology.

Example: ACCM.

In Italian this stands for "Apparato Centrale Computerizzato Multistazione" ("Central Computerised Multistation Equipment").

But I can't use the English acronym, which would be CCME, because CCME means nothing.

My solution: at the first occurrence of ACCM, I write

ACCM [Apparato Centrale Computerizzato Multistazione - Central Computerised Multistation Equipment]

- and therafter simply repeat ACCM throughout the remainder of the document, without further explanation.

That's just an example. Some documents contain large numbers of different acronyms. I maintain a personal glossary of what they mean. New ones keep cropping up all the time.

But CAUTION IS REQUIRED because in railway technology (and in other fields) many acronyms are abbreviations of English-language terms, and are used in non-English-speaking countries without changing them. So you have to check all the time. It can get very tedious.

[Edited at 2019-10-31 14:24 GMT]
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DZiW
Teresa Borges
Comunican
Gurvitch Dutès
neilmac
 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:24
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Usage, not invention Oct 31

The example you give, "Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD)" might already have an official English translation of its name and corresponding acronym. If so, you would find that on its website. Otherwise you should not invent an acronym, as that would not comply with the instruction to use acronyms "as used in the target country".

On the other hand, I agree with Tom's comment, which is what I generally do. There is a difference between inventing an acronym for an officia
... See more
The example you give, "Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD)" might already have an official English translation of its name and corresponding acronym. If so, you would find that on its website. Otherwise you should not invent an acronym, as that would not comply with the instruction to use acronyms "as used in the target country".

On the other hand, I agree with Tom's comment, which is what I generally do. There is a difference between inventing an acronym for an official body, which might have other ideas about the matter, and inventing acronyms for things or processes, which can sometimes be all right.

[edited at 2019-10-31 14:25 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-10-31 14:26 GMT]
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Teresa Borges
neilmac
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:24
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You need to research individual cases Oct 31

AEPD would need to stay as it is, after an explanation of what it means, just as Wikipedia has done: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Data_Protection_Agency

I think what that "rule" is referring to are cases like:
SIDA and VIH (in a French or Spanish text) which should be translated into English as AIDS and HIV, with no need to refer to the French/Spani
... See more
AEPD would need to stay as it is, after an explanation of what it means, just as Wikipedia has done: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Data_Protection_Agency

I think what that "rule" is referring to are cases like:
SIDA and VIH (in a French or Spanish text) which should be translated into English as AIDS and HIV, with no need to refer to the French/Spanish acronym at all in most cases.
ONU (in a French text) which is always referred to in English as the UN and again doesn't call for a reference to the French acronym or full name.
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Tina Vonhof
Teresa Borges
Comunican
Cristina Bufi Poecksteiner, M.A.
Kay Denney
Edwin den Boer
neilmac
 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 08:24
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Agree with Sheila Oct 31

but when there is no existing equivalent in the target language, I think it is best to keep the acronym of the source text and use it throughout. The first time only I give the translation or, if this ends up being too long and it interrupts the flow of the sentence and/or continues on the next line, I may use a 'translator's note'.

MollyRose
Teresa Borges
María Paula Gorgone
Comunican
Kay Denney
 

Joseph Tein  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:24
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends Oct 31

Certain acronyms should stay as they are -- your example of the AEPD, also things like FDA and CIA and FBI if you're translating from English into another language (after expanding and translating in brackets) or AIFA in Italian [Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco]. It would make no sense, and only confuse the reader, if you tried to invent an acronym in the target language. So maybe a general rule is that acronyms that are institution names should be left as they are in the source language.
<
... See more
Certain acronyms should stay as they are -- your example of the AEPD, also things like FDA and CIA and FBI if you're translating from English into another language (after expanding and translating in brackets) or AIFA in Italian [Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco]. It would make no sense, and only confuse the reader, if you tried to invent an acronym in the target language. So maybe a general rule is that acronyms that are institution names should be left as they are in the source language.

In other situations, you must translate into the target-language acronym where it exists ... WHO = OMS in Spanish, for example. I work mostly with medical texts, where it's essential to correctly translate source acronyms into standard acronyms in the target language (English DNA = ADN in Spanish; BPCO in Italian has to be translated COPD in English; etc.).
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MollyRose
Philip Lees
María Paula Gorgone
Comunican
Cristina Bufi Poecksteiner, M.A.
Gurvitch Dutès
neilmac
 

Comunican
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:24
Member (2005)
Catalan to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ah interesting take on the instruction Nov 1

B D Finch wrote:

The example you give, "Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD)" might already have an official English translation of its name and corresponding acronym. If so, you would find that on its website. Otherwise you should not invent an acronym, as that would not comply with the instruction to use acronyms "as used in the target country".

On the other hand, I agree with Tom's comment, which is what I generally do. There is a difference between inventing an acronym for an official body, which might have other ideas about the matter, and inventing acronyms for things or processes, which can sometimes be all right.

[edited at 2019-10-31 14:25 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-10-31 14:26 GMT]


I read the instruction as meaning that you should translate the full title and then create a Target acronym from that. Whereas, based on what you're saying, maybe what they mean is to use the equivalent Target acronym *assuming it exists*. In which case, I would agree.


 


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