Translation of Abbreviations
Thread poster: Huw Watkins

Huw Watkins  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:44
Member (2005)
Italian to English
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Jun 8, 2007

Hi Folks,

Apologies if this topic is already posted, I had a quick look and didn't see it anywhere obvious and I'm very pressed for time on this translation. I have an engineering specifications document to translate that has a table of abbreviations and their meanings as one of the early chapters. Now these abbreviations are used later on in the document to replace the meanings. I have translated the meanings into English - do I also need to change the abbreviation to suit. Eg FDMS - Fiabilidad, Disponibilidad, Mantenibilidad y Seguridad. I was thinking of not doing so as I'm assuming the end reader will know that this is a translated document. However in the interest of good translation practices should I be putting something like RAMS - Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety? or simply FDMS - Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety.

Regards,
Huw


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unaldi  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:44
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Italian to Turkish
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Abbrev. :) Jun 8, 2007

Hi Huw,
my opinion is that abbreviations should definitely be translated in the most clear way. I always translate abbreviations. Think of literary pieces of work where you would find abbreviations in the target language.. It would look much more comforting to find your RAMS to the reader of English rather than FDMS...I would say, use RAMS for coherence....

[Edited at 2007-06-08 13:35]


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Huw Watkins  Identity Verified
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Translating abbreviations Jun 8, 2007

unaldi wrote:

Hi Huw,
my opinion is that abbreviations should definitely be translated in the most clear way. I always translate abbreviations. Think of literary pieces of work where you would find abbreviations in the target language.. It would look much more comforting to find your RAMS to the reader of English rather than FDMS...I would say, use RAMS for coherence....

[Edited at 2007-06-08 13:35]



Thank you. In point of fact I have always endeavoured to do so in the past and I'm not really sure why the doubt has arisen now. Maybe it is my subconscious niggling me about the tight deadline and is telling me to cut corners. You've helped to put my mind at rest somewhat.

[Edited at 2007-06-08 13:40]

[Edited at 2007-06-08 13:40]

Actually on a similar note I have another doubt. There is also a table listing Norms with their reference code and title. The client has left these in the original language - English primarily, but also Spanish and French. The document to be translated is Spanish to English, however I also cover French to English and could therefore feasibly translate all the titles into English. Would this be appropriate? I've asked the client, but would like a second opinion from you wonderful proz professionals.

[Edited at 2007-06-08 13:48]

[Edited at 2007-06-08 14:00]

[Edited at 2007-06-08 14:23]


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:44
Italian to English
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Norms Jun 8, 2007

I'd agree that you should translate the abbreviations.

WRT to the norms, if you google the reference codes you will normally come up with the title in English anyway - thus both saving you some work and ensuring that you're using the right titles.

oops sorry, taking a second look I see that you seem to be talking about Spanish and/or French national norms, not EC norms. I'd report these both in the original and with an English translation in brackets afterwards.

[Edited at 2007-06-08 15:18]


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unaldi  Identity Verified
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Italian to Turkish
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Norms Jun 8, 2007

I had difficulty understanding your second concern and thought I should quit translating from and into English afterall As far as I am concerned, what the client has left there in the original language should stay as it is.. In other words, in English, Spanish and French. I personally do not touch anything other than the text in the source language. Sometimes I do get text in English within a source text in Italian, but I leave it as it is. In your case, the English translation is already there. I think you should leave the norms in Spanish as well. If they don't need them, it's easy to erase.... If my answer may sounds irrelevant, just ignore it. It would mean I did not understand well what you meant..

[Edited at 2007-06-08 15:47]


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Huw Watkins  Identity Verified
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Translating Norms & Abbrev. Thank you both. Jun 9, 2007

Marie-Hélène Hayles - TY for your tip about googling the reference - how that didn't occur to me before I'll never know Yes most of the Norms are EU ones but not all.

Unaldi - I think I'll go with the best of both worlds - I'll translate the titles, save them in my TM but leave the original in the doument. That way if the client needs them translated they can be inserted in a flash.

PS Re: the abbreviations - some of them are standard abbreviations and are already translated in IATE. That backs up what both of you are saying about translating them. TY both so much.


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unaldi  Identity Verified
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Thank you.. Jun 9, 2007

I am newly getting involved in forums, so my response to you was the first piece of thing I wrote there.. Thank you for the appreciation, which encourages me to partecipate more.
Best wishes..


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Huw Watkins  Identity Verified
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No, thank you Jun 9, 2007

unaldi wrote:

I am newly getting involved in forums, so my response to you was the first piece of thing I wrote there.. Thank you for the appreciation, which encourages me to partecipate more.
Best wishes..


I'm not a newbie but not far off - you really did help and sounded like an old hand

BTW - these forums are very informative aren't they? Keep participating is my opinion

[Edited at 2007-06-09 06:31]


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Phyto
Local time: 02:44
English to Turkish
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Depends Jun 9, 2007

As mentioned previously, some abbreviations have become standard, but with the rest I make a point of translating AND providing the expanded form and the original in parentheses for the reader's reference. We should translate abbreviations. I know that this is going to sound like a slippery-slope test, but if we leave them as-is, do we also leave them as-is when they are written in Arabic, Greek, or other script (I don't think you can have abbreviations in Arabic, but that is beside the point), or do we perhaps try to transliterate to the best of our abilities? How do you transliterate an abbreviation which contains the Greek letter theta in it? ABThXY? I hope this makes sense.

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lingomania
Local time: 09:44
Italian to English
Abbreviations normally translated Jun 9, 2007

I know that abbreviations are normally translated unless they can be understood without translating them which is hardly ever the case. With regards to my specific field, if I have to translate C.G.I.L., one of the 3 big trade unions in Italy (into English), I usually translate it as it should be: General Federation of Italian Trade Unions and including the original abbreviation next to it in parentheses according to the context of the original document (where necessary). The problem is: should the translated abbreviation be abbreviated....GFITU?

Rob

[Edited at 2007-06-09 11:46]


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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How I do it Jun 9, 2007

Huw Watkins wrote:
I have an engineering specifications document to translate that has a table of abbreviations and their meanings as one of the early chapters. Now these abbreviations are used later on in the document to replace the meanings. I have translated the meanings into English - do I also need to change the abbreviation to suit. Eg FDMS - Fiabilidad, Disponibilidad, Mantenibilidad y Seguridad.
..etc..

As you were pressed for time and I only saw your post this evening (9 June), my reply probably won't help in your specific case, but this is what I currently do, which I'm giving for those to whom it may be useful, and to see what differing opinions there may be.
I have translated a number of specifications from French, in an engineering project in which I am employed nominally as an engineer but in practice as a technical translator.
My principle in my translation work is usually: to ask myself what the reader expects to find in the English version of the document. In my case it's usually "the information" from the source document, in a language he would use himself. In my case the readers will also have access to the source documents, but are unlikely to consult them: they want to know, in their own language, what the spec, report etc. says.
I do this:
If the ST (source text) contains a table of abbreviations, this will be in two columns: one for the abbrev. and one for its meaning or expansion. I usually turn this into a 4-column table. Here's an example single row from such a table:
THT Très Haute Tension EHT Extra-High Tension
The English reader will (further example) not want to see TOP; he would expect TWT (tube à ondes progressives, travelling-wave tube respectively). In other words the answer to "do I also need to change the abbreviation to suit" is usually "yes".
Sometimes I use the French abbreviation, because the English engineers may themselves see further reports in French (e.g. computer-generated test reports) and they'll want to know how to understand them. In that case I explain it the first time, and then just use the Fr abbrev. after that, i.e. I judge what will be helpful to the reader at that point in the TT (target text).
I may well omit English abbreviations from the TT (e.g. ADC for analog-digital converter) if the French one doesn't occur in the ST and "everybody" knows the English one.
I hope this is of interest to somebody!
Oliver


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Huw Watkins  Identity Verified
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abbreviations Jun 9, 2007

This is all fantastic stuff - thank you for the input.

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N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
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Depends on document Jun 13, 2007

Oliver is right, you have to imagine what the doc is for.

When I translate legal docs, like contracts or agreements, the citations for the company structure (ex. Inc. GmbH, Sarl, Eurl,etc.) are left in their abbreviated source and spelled out with their translations in a footnote.
This is because the doc has no legal value, but is for information purpose for an English mother tongue client.

Yet, I also often translate IT program configuration documents for techies all around the world. Sometimes the source abbreviation (and other vocabulary) has become so integrated in their IT language, that I would confuse them if I translated it.
It's difficult to know, but that is why it's so important to have a good contact with your client so you can bombard him with questions!


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Translation of Abbreviations

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