คุณ / หนู

English translation: Mr/Mrs instead of Master/Miss

05:59 May 27, 2018
Thai to English translations [PRO]
Medical - Medical: Pharmaceuticals
Thai term or phrase: คุณ / หนู
Sentence: ขอให้ใช้คำว่า “คุณ” แทน “หนู”
Document type: Amendments to clinical trial documents for EC/IRB approval

How can "คุณ" and "หนู" be translated to show the difference between the terms while not changing the sentence content and/or making any additions?
Please note that the text is part of a multi-national project and that the target audience does not have any knowledge of Thai language or culture.

All advice and suggestions are highly appreciated,

Thanks in advance!
Theresa Somsri
Thailand
Local time: 17:37
English translation:Mr/Mrs instead of Master/Miss
Explanation:
Khun is the formal pronoun for an adult.

In English, this is typically Mr/Mrs

หนู is the pronoun for children.

Miss/Master are the respective English equivalents.

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Note added at 13 hrs (2018-05-27 19:40:17 GMT)
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With the added context given below. If we are talking about second-person pronouns, only “you” or “your” would be appropriate. The wider context would give the information regarding the age of the participants, if that is relevant. Differentiating between the pronoun age is only an issue for Thai language and can be disregarded in English (for example Phi/Nong in second person would also be you/your). As mentioned, there would certainly be many other indicators of the age of the participants, i.e. study title etc. without having to rely on such pronouns.


That being said, how to translate an EC comment that says to change from “you” to “you”? Please add a translator’s note saying [EC requests different Thai pronouns that refer to age be used] or something along those lines.
Selected response from:

Dylan Jan Hartmann
Australia
Grading comment
Dylan makes a very good point with the differentiation of age in Thai pronouns and that age can instead be indicated without confusion to the overall meaning. "EC requests different Thai pronouns that refer to age be used" should be the best way to convey the meaning of the statement without additions or omissions.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5Mr/Mrs instead of Master/Miss
Dylan Jan Hartmann
3“khun” / “noo”
Sarah Anderson
4 -1You / Khun / Nu + consult client for preference
Patrick Fitzsimons
4 -1Ms. / Miss
Daniel Loss


  

Answers


13 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
Ms. / Miss


Explanation:
Miss is a title prefixed to the name of an unmarried woman or young girl. Nowadays, in most professional contexts it may be preferred to just use Ms. which is a title used before the surname of any woman regardless of her marital status. I think using these two words might reflect some of social aspects of the original Thai honorifics, while also referring to the issue of having a preference for one over the other in a context which many people would already understand.

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Note added at 14 mins (2018-05-27 06:13:17 GMT)
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555 I need to start checking before I click submit.

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Note added at 29 mins (2018-05-27 06:29:09 GMT)
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Thee Guardian's Style Guide states use Ms for women unless they have expressed a preference for Miss or Mrs.

And here's an interesting piece on Ms.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jun/29/gender.uk

Daniel Loss
Thailand
Local time: 17:37
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Dylan Jan Hartmann: Aha! I see now. You were referring to the informal หนู used by/for women! This wouldn't have ever been used in a document. The หนู here would be referring to children, both male and female children.
3 days 23 hrs
  -> For adults, หนู is typically used by and for women. Since Theresa didn't wan't any additions, I thought the Ms./Miss distinction would be familiar to the audience. In US English, all males are Mr.
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12 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
You / Khun / Nu + consult client for preference


Explanation:
I'm not sure if this is your exact context, but I recently saw this amendment made in a consent form for teenagers, where the words were functioning as “you” rather than as a title, i.e. an amendment to the second person pronoun being used to address the youth.

If this is a similar context, I would personally consult the client to see how they want this handled, as each approach has its own pros and cons. For example, the meaning could be indicated with transliteration + very simple elaboration within the sentence (e.g. it could read “Use “khun” instead of “nu” for “you"), but as you say this would be an addition, so I’d want to put it past the client.

As with other recent discussions about honorifics, while not ideal the transliterations may be necessary because I can’t think of English words that would be able to communicate this particular “you" distinction that is being reported: that the หนู-you is to be amended to the คุณ-you.

Because although it's for an non-Thai audience, in this context it would be a Thai-specific form—in other words, it's not to be used as a working document in a clinical trial somewhere else, but rather to see what changes have been made in the Thai context.

Maybe you could confirm the exact context/use of the terms, if known, so that we could discuss further.

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Note added at 12 hrs (2018-05-27 18:19:02 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Edit: *assent form

Patrick Fitzsimons
United States
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 16

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Dylan Jan Hartmann: Transliterations cannot be used in an English translation.
1 hr
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7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
“คุณ” แทน “หนู”
Mr/Mrs instead of Master/Miss


Explanation:
Khun is the formal pronoun for an adult.

In English, this is typically Mr/Mrs

หนู is the pronoun for children.

Miss/Master are the respective English equivalents.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 13 hrs (2018-05-27 19:40:17 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

With the added context given below. If we are talking about second-person pronouns, only “you” or “your” would be appropriate. The wider context would give the information regarding the age of the participants, if that is relevant. Differentiating between the pronoun age is only an issue for Thai language and can be disregarded in English (for example Phi/Nong in second person would also be you/your). As mentioned, there would certainly be many other indicators of the age of the participants, i.e. study title etc. without having to rely on such pronouns.


That being said, how to translate an EC comment that says to change from “you” to “you”? Please add a translator’s note saying [EC requests different Thai pronouns that refer to age be used] or something along those lines.

Dylan Jan Hartmann
Australia
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 16
Grading comment
Dylan makes a very good point with the differentiation of age in Thai pronouns and that age can instead be indicated without confusion to the overall meaning. "EC requests different Thai pronouns that refer to age be used" should be the best way to convey the meaning of the statement without additions or omissions.
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16 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
“khun” / “noo”


Explanation:
I agree with Patrick Fitzsimmons that the client needs to provide additional guidance, although it would likely be helpful to offer the client a clear explanation and a couple of different options. I also agree with Patrick that in this case the phrase being translated does not appear to be part of a document to be used in clinical trials but rather to explain the suggested revisions to the translation of clinical trial documents, so the significance of the two pronouns needs to be made clear to the English-speaking reader.

I also agree with Dylan Hartmann’s suggestion to add this as a translator’s note, possibly in parentheses or brackets. Regarding Dylan’s suggested terms, my observation is that while “Master” and “Miss” are understood by speakers of British English as terms of address used with children, if the suggested revisions are being deliberated by speakers of American English, the distinction between Mr. and Master or Mrs./Ms. and Miss might not be readily apparent, since boys in the States are not referred to as “Master”.

Respectfully, I do not think it is possible to adequately convey the suggestion (to use a different pronoun) to an audience unfamiliar with Thai language and culture without changing the sentence content and/or making any additions.

Example sentence(s):
  • For the pronoun “you”, please use the word “khun” (คุณ), which is deferential, instead of “noo” (หนู), which is patronizing and used only when addressing children
Sarah Anderson
United States
Local time: 06:37
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
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