Dialects: should I include two versions of a term, separated by a slash?
Thread poster: Monika Coulson

Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:55
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Jul 16, 2002

I frequently run into the issue of words having different meanings in the two dialect of Albanian. I know that this also occurs in other languages such as Spanish.

I am currently working on a translation where I have a dialectal paradigm \"Lejë\" and \"Patentë\". The first one is used in the Kosovar Geg dialect and which literally means \"permission\" however this is also used in the context of driver\'s licenses. The second which literally means \"certificate of training or license\" and this is used in standard albanian mainly for driver\'s licenses.

This example brings to a front the issue of how to handle dialects when the standard would not be understood by the non-standard speakers, and vice versa. In this case both dialects will be reading it and need to understand.

Is it appropriate to put both words with the wonderful \"/\" or should the standard dialect be the ultimate in cases like this?


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:55
Italian to English
What about the dialects of English? Jul 16, 2002

UK and US English spelling and typographical conventions present a similar problem. Some semantic fields, such as cars and clothes, also present endless opportunities for transatlantic confusion.

The important thing is to be aware of the problem, agree a policy with the client, and stick to it. That done, you might want to supply a translation into other revelant dialects of specific terms, if you have sufficient space. Whether you do so or not will, of course, depend on the client, the target audience and other context-related considerations: there are no hard and fast rules.

If you translate scientific articles for publication, it is very important to find out which journal the piece will be submitted to and then adopt that journal\'s style indications.

Most English-language publishers also have style sheets, or preferred guides (for example, the Chicago Manual of Style is popular in the US). It is part of being a professional to find out about these things at the beginning of a project, not halfway through or - horrors! - two minutes before your translation goes to press.

In my experience, clients often do not realise there are in fact several \"Englishes\" into which their text could be translated. However, most will make a thoughtful decision if prompted.

That\'s why I always ask new customers whether they would like UK or US spelling. It can lead to interesting revelations about the customer\'s expectations.



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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends on the use and readership Jul 16, 2002

It depends principally on where the translation will be published (both in a geographical sense, and in what medium and distribution), and how and what for it is to be used, who the readership will be, etc. In different circumstances, any one or another of the possible solutions would be the most appropriate. But in general, the purpose and intended use of the translated text should guide the decision.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-07-16 18:21 ]

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tongue tied
Local time: 05:55
Dialects Jul 18, 2002

I wouldn\'t recommend sending a non-native client a translation with \'options\' for dialect without their consent, it will only confuse them.

If the client is unable/unwilling to make a choice, I would opt for the dialect that matches the \'officially spoken\' dialect. How does the government release it\'s documents? In both dialects? I would suspect they use the most commonly spoken one only.

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Dialects: should I include two versions of a term, separated by a slash?

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