Translating acronyms
Thread poster: John Fossey

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:38
Member (2008)
French to English
Jun 1, 2010

Is there any standard practise for translating acronyms? Working on a long document with many military acronyms, I have been providing suggestions for translations. Now the client wants suggestions to be expanded with text composed to explain why I suggest each translation, what document I found the reference in, including URL, page, and a quotation of accompanying text, etc. Part of the reason is that the end user might be checking the translation without internet access (on an aircraft, for example) so needs the complete reference at hand.

It seems to me that this is essentially creating a new reference document, which is a lot more work than just looking up the reference and making a suggestion. I don't mind a brief reference (such as stating "Termium" - they then know where to look it up) but to extract accompanying text, etc., seems like more than translation itself. What do others think? Is there any standard practise?

[Edited at 2010-06-01 12:14 GMT]


 

Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:38
Italian to English
+ ...
Translating acronyms Jun 1, 2010

Hi John,

This is not standard practice at all in my experience. Where no official translations of the acronyms exist this could prove a worthy exercise, but it would be an extra service that I would charge by the hour.

Best,
Amy


 

TargamaT team  Identity Verified
Syria
Local time: 05:38
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Translating acronyms Jun 1, 2010

Hi John,

Some ref. that I use in my work (in French)...


http://acronymes.info/

http://hades-presse.com/ackr/

http://www.sigles.net/

http://www.teaser.fr/~spineau/acrodict/index.php

http://www.translatum.gr/dictionaries/french-acronyms.htm


 

Julie Dion  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:38
English to French
copyrights Jun 3, 2010

"...but to extract accompanying text, etc., seems like more than translation itself. What do others think?"

You could be violating copyrights by doing that.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:38
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@John Jun 3, 2010

John Fossey wrote:
Now the client wants suggestions to be expanded with text composed to explain why I suggest each translation, what document I found the reference in, including URL, page, and a quotation of accompanying text, etc.


This is a separate job, and it's not a translation job but a research job. And... I suspect that a lot of your suggestions are partly due to the fact that you have a gut feeling about words that non-translators don't have, and that can't be explained in a little footnote. You can't "prove" to a client why X is more likely than Y, but as a translator who has had contact with the language for several years, you can know it without having to seek proof first.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:38
Member (2008)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Exactly Jun 3, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:

John Fossey wrote:
Now the client wants suggestions to be expanded with text composed to explain why I suggest each translation, what document I found the reference in, including URL, page, and a quotation of accompanying text, etc.


This is a separate job, and it's not a translation job but a research job. And... I suspect that a lot of your suggestions are partly due to the fact that you have a gut feeling about words that non-translators don't have, and that can't be explained in a little footnote. You can't "prove" to a client why X is more likely than Y, but as a translator who has had contact with the language for several years, you can know it without having to seek proof first.



Exactly. In the end I just told the client that what they were asking wasn't translation but creation of a new, original document and would be charged extra, at which they quickly withdrew their request...


 

Ramon Somoza  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:38
Member (2002)
Dutch to Spanish
+ ...
Some acronym sites Jul 12, 2010

As Amy says, there is no standard practice. The rule I follow is that when the acronym is one of the trade (e.g., ETA - Expected Time of Arrival), I do NOT translate it unless there is a known acronym in the target language (e.g., IT in English would become TI in Spanish). If it is used only one or twice, I translate the full text (e.g., demilitarized zone for DMZ).

On the other hand, when a text uses an acronym as a short-hand form for repetitive text (but not being part of the trade jargon) then I DO translate it into a new acronym in the target language (the original one is usually also invented, so no problem here). The only exception is when the acronym is itself a trademark or similar, in which case it should not be translated.

You can find a list of links that provide you the meaning (and sometimes the translation) of acronyms at http://www.freelance-translator.info/abbreviations.php


 

Nahit Karataşlı  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 05:38
English to Turkish
+ ...
A military expert from the target language Aug 8, 2010

Hi,

In NATO, many countries use the same documents in their armed forces. For example, the servicemen use the maintenance manuals of US originated combat materials. The approach is localization (not only translation) of the documents, and there are standard practises. Bear in mind that, there a lot of young soldiers who don't know any word of a foreign language.

I carried the same type tasks out in the military publication department of a service school. Please see the example below:

"Start Line (SL)" is "Taaruz Çıkış Hattı (TÇH)" in Turkish, and it means "the line that is passed by the attacking troops at a definite time by running, and has a distance of 300-1000 meters to the target".

When SL was translated by a civilian that has no military background, the result was "başlangıç hattı" that means "commencing line" and gives no sense. The professionals (military proof readers) performed the localization as per the army's terminology. Each military organisation has his own terminology.

Since the each military organisation has a special terminology, you need to work with a military expert of the target language.

However, the links below will probably help you to find a way out.

http://www.lexicool.com/online-dictionary.asp?FSP=C04&FKW=nato
http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/stanag.htm
http://www.nato.int/docu/stanag/7186/7186-e.pdf
http://www.mt-archive.info/Aslib-1999-Jones.pdf
http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA474585
http://aero-defense.ihs.com/document/abstract/TLLTJBAAAAAAAAAA


Regards,

[Değişiklik saati 2010-08-08 22:02 GMT]

[Değişiklik saati 2010-08-08 22:07 GMT]

[Değişiklik saati 2010-08-08 22:09 GMT]

[Değişiklik saati 2010-08-09 00:00 GMT]


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 09:38
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Military jargons Aug 9, 2010

Nahit Karataşlı wrote:
---------------------------------
Since the each military organisation has a special terminology, you need to work with a military expert of the target language.

Thanks to Nahit. I refer the issue of acronym as military jargon. I understand it is the military culture of many nations. They have many and long named sections/units/secrecy/encoded way of speaking. A new soldier even fails to translate the acronym correctly. I translated EN>JP military documents and quit it interim since Japan has no military but the self-defense organization; many Japanese localized terms were not referred to easily. Internet now reveals many easy access to military knowledge.

Best regards,
Soonthon L.


 

Nahit Karataşlı  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 05:38
English to Turkish
+ ...
Exactly, military jargon Aug 9, 2010

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) wrote:

I refer the issue of acronym as military jargon. I understand it is the military culture of many nations.

Best regards,
Soonthon L.


Yes, Soonthon is exactly right. Every armed forces have a specific military jargon, even including slangs that are accepted as a part of the official way of communication, and it has very strict standards.

Again, I recommend John to work with a military expert from the target language with military background and military writing skills.


Kind Regards,


 


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