Should names of official organizations and logotypes be translated?
Thread poster: Mariana Rohlig Sa

Mariana Rohlig Sa  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:02
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
Jul 2, 2011

I am translating a criminal record (into European Portuguese) for visa purposes which will need to be certified. Do I translate "Association of Chief Police Officers" (UK)? I've though about putting the translation in brackets, but this might make the document look unprofessional.

Also, for logotypes I usually draw a shape and write the translation of whatever is written in the logotype in square brackets underneath. Is there a better way of doing this? (I don't want to copy the logotype/seal for legal reasons).

Thank you for any advice you might have on my questions in particular and certified translations in general.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:02
English to Spanish
+ ...
Practices Jul 3, 2011

Yes, you need to translate "Association of Chief Police Officers" by putting the translation in brackets, but it will not make the document look unprofessional. It would be unprofessional not to translate it, because after all, the reader of the translation has to know what the name means. This would hold true for the names of many institutions, organizations, etc.

With seals, logos, etc. you need to translate the content; the format does not matter. I myself do not use any fancy formats because they take time that no one will pay for, plus I really do not know how anyway. But you may suit yourself there.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:02
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Translator's note Jul 3, 2011

If the name can be translated literally, as in your example, I don't think you need anything more. If the name cannot be translated literally, I usually put a 'Translator's note' with the translation/description at the bottom of the document.

For logos I don't try to draw anything - a logo is a logo and it should not be altered or copied. In your example the logo might say 'ACPO' and I would just put in those letters in a similar font. The full name will likely appear further on in the document.


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Mariana Rohlig Sa  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:02
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
So it should be translated? Jul 3, 2011

Dear Tina,

Thank you for your reply and sharing your experience. Just to clarify: you think it should be translated if it translates literally, which is the case in my example?

Regards,
Mariana


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:02
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Sometimes there is an official translation Jul 5, 2011

It depends a lot on your language pair, but if your target language is English, check the website of the organisation, or mail and ask what the official name is.

Many Scandinavian organisations, ministries, universities, faculties and so on have their preferred names.
You cannot guess whether they want to be called University of Copenhagen, Unbiversity of Gothenburg or Lund University.

Faculties, ministries, trade unions and all kinds of associations have official translations into some languages, and they are not always direct translations of the name in the 'home' language.

But if you are translating into a 'smaller' language, you will probably have to work out your own translation.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:02
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes, it should be translated. Jul 6, 2011

As Henry suggests you could put the translation in brackets if you want to be safe. But in my opinion, the name is so self-evident that that is maybe not needed. If, instead of "Association of Chief Police Officers" it said, for example, "the Office of National Security", I would just translate that without mentioning the original. Those kinds of bodies or organizations exist in almost every country with similar names. Leaving in the original name can make the document look overcrowded and adds nothing to people's understanding of the content .

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Richard Hill  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:02
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
European Commission - Directorate-General for Translation Aug 30, 2011

Hi

You might be interested in the European Commission - Directorate-General for Translation

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation/index_en.htm

I only came across this recently, but I am going over the guidelines, not necessarily to go by the book, but I its kind of reassuring to know that they way you translate is officially supported and it helps to decide on a consistent way of doing things.

Rich


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:02
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
More on EU guidelines Aug 30, 2011

Following on from Rich's post, the EU gives specific guidance here:
http://ec.europa.eu/translation/english/guidelines/documents/styleguide_english_dgt_en.pdf
(Search from "names of bodies")

I personally put the original first and the translation in square brackets. It's reassuring to see that the EU guidelines say that there is room for flexibility on the matter.


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Mariana Rohlig Sa  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:02
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That is great! Sep 4, 2011

Thank you for the links to the EU guidelines. Definitely a good site to refer to when in doubt.

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Should names of official organizations and logotypes be translated?

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