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Olympic vocabulary in English, French, Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese

Anglo Premier specialises in sports translations. More information at www.anglopremier.com/sport.

There are some excellent online resources for vocabulary related to the Olympic Games in English, French, Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese.

For French and English, the France’s National Institute for Sport, Expertise and Performance produced an excellent glossary for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

The Fundación del Español Urgente has produced an excellent guide for journalists, the main focus being to avoid the unnecessary use of English terms.

Termcat produced a large glossary when Barcelona hosted the 1992 Games, and has continued to develop the glossary ever since. Its Diccionari de l’Esport includes terminology in English, French, Spanish and Catalan for all the Olympic disciplines, as well as for many non-Olympic sports.

Finally, for those who work with Portuguese, the Grupo de Pesquisa em Estudos Olímpicos has produced an English-Portuguese glossary for the Games in Rio de Janeiro, available here.

Reaching new, expanding markets through translation

Oshikango and El Pertús

When I first visited Oshikango, a Namibian town lying right on the border with Angola, I couldn’t help but be reminded of El Pertús, a small town straddling the French-Spanish border in Catalonia. There are many parallels between the two.

As you approach El Pertús, you see a notable increase in the use of French, rather than Catalan or Spanish, on the signs of local businesses, the economy by the border being very much geared towards those living in France who venture south in search of cheaper goods. In bygone years there would have been no change in language as you headed into the old county of Rosselló, but centuries of language assimilation policies in France have depleted the use of the Catalan language north of the border, where it now has only a small presence, mainly in rural areas and among Perpignan’s gypsy community. The most obvious sign of the region’s Catalan roots is found on the letterboxes of houses, where you’re more likely to see names like Pujol and Ferrer than Dupont, albeit sometimes in a Gallicized form (e.g. Poujol).

The situation is very similar on the Namibian-Angolan border. To the south, the people speak the autochthonous Ovambo language, known as Oshiwambo by the locals, using the Oshikwanyama dialect; like in Catalonia, to the north of the border live a people with the same surnames, separated from their families by an aleatory line drawn on a map by a distant government, who, for the most part, have now abandoned their mother tongue and replaced it with a major international language, in their case Portuguese.

Like in El Pertús, the signs erected by businesses in Oshikango are in what is now the predominant language spoken north of the border, i.e. Portuguese, rather than in English and Ovambo, because so many people cross over from the north to buy cheaper goods.

Border checks

Of course, there are also some striking differences between El Pertús and Oshikango. First, the border in El Pertús is much more porous. The shops and restaurants, though situated in Spain, lie north of the checkpoint, which since the Schengen agreement is rarely manned anyway. The actual border runs along the kerbside of the main road through most of the town centre, which means that although the main road is entirely in France, the pavement and the shops and restaurants on the east side of the road are in Spain.

Namibians and Angolans can cross each other’s borders without obtaining a visa (as a British citizen, I would need a visa to enter Angola), but they must still pass through a border checkpoint and fill in lengthy forms. Once you’ve cleared the checkpoint, as you drive across the border you might notice a car driving straight towards you. That’s because as you drive on the left, approaching traffic from Angola will be driving on the right! You must pick the right moment to switch to the other side. A far cry from the motorway border overlooking El Pertús, where traffic crosses from one country to another while driving at 120 km/h.

Another major difference is the type of people crossing. In El Pertús, you’ll find families and pensioners popping over for a paella, or perhaps a working-class man coming down from Perpignan for cheaper cigarettes and beer. In Oshikango, you’re more likely to find people running small businesses coming over to buy stock from the wholesalers that abound in the Namibian town. Many come by bicycle, and it’s quite amazing just how much weight they can stack on their pushbikes. I use the word “pushbike”, rather than “bicycle”, to describe the return trip because they are pushbikes in the literal sense: the Angolans carry so much stuff that they must push the bikes back over the border with their hands.

Good translations for a new market

Like in Spanish Catalonia, Namibian businesses have tapped into the market created by those who venture across the border from the north. As mentioned earlier, monolingual Portuguese signs abound in Oshikango. But head further south into larger towns like Ondangwa and Oshakati, and the Portuguese language is still omnipresent, albeit often appearing alongside English or Ovambo. Even 800 km away in Windhoek, the Namibian capital, there are still many signs in Portuguese. Unlike in Oshikango, however, the Angolans who travel to other parts of Namibia are not small business owners stocking up on cheap goods, but wealthier Angolans travelling for business, leisure, shopping, education or medical treatment.

Namibians are aware of the Angolans’ purchasing power, which is why so many businesses translate their content into Portuguese. And unlike in Catalonia, where poor French and English translations abound, Namibian businesses seem to be producing very good Portuguese translations.

Olá Namibia

One noteworthy example of good translation practice is Olá Namibia. Produced by Sandgrouse Publications, this free annual booklet is funded by advertisements placed by Namibian businesses, mainly Windhoek-based. Almost all the adverts are only in Portuguese. The magazine publishers organize the Portuguese translations, sending the English texts supplied by the advertisers to qualified translators in Portugal.

The companies advertising in the booklet have clearly spent a lot of money on graphic design. It would have been a real shame had they compromised on the quality of the translated text, as so many companies in Europe do. If graphic designers produce poor-quality images for adverts, it adversely affects the image that the company seeks to portray.

The exact same thing happens with the text. Advertisers can spend large sums of money on producing good-quality texts, but those efforts are wasted if those texts are poorly translated.

Sandgrouse Publications can be very proud of the excellent quality translations they provide for their clients, who are thus able to portray a professional image to the wealthy, demanding customers who come from Angola. They are an example that many other publications and advertisers would do well to follow.

Route du Rhum réussie pour Anglo Premier et Spindrift racing

Anglo Premier Translations collabore avec Spindrift racing depuis le mois de juin 2014. Le plus gros défi a eu lieu au mois de septembre. Ou plutôt “les” défis. Car si traverser l’Atlantique en solitaire dans un maxi-trimaran est un challenge de premier ordre, il l’est aussi être disponible 24 heures par jour pendant une semaine pour traduire toutes les dernières informations du français à l’anglais.

Pari réussi pour les deux! Car si Spindrift racing a fait une magnifique course, en terminant 2ème sur la Route du Rhum, Anglo Premier Translations, lui aussi, a été à la hauteur, avec la réactivité qui est nécessaire dans cette époque où tout le monde veut avoir un accès instantané aux dernières informations dans sa propre langue.

Pendant plus d’une semaine, Anglo Premier Translations a traduit toutes les informations – reportages et vidéos – publiées sur le site web de Spindrift racing. Au total, plus de 11.000 mots traduits dans des très courts délais au long des 8 jours de course.

Le bilan a été très positif. Virginie Bouchet, responsable de communication et presse de Spindrift racing, a tenu à remercier Timothy Barton, d’Anglo Premier Translations :

« Un grand merci pour votre travail, votre flexibilité et votre réactivité, qualités indispensables pour travailler dans le milieu de la voile, où l’on dépend que de la météo. Ça a été un super travail d’équipe et chaque individualité a contribué à cette réussite générale. Nous avons eu beaucoup de retombées médias et une belle exposition générale. »

Nous attendons avec hâte la prochaine course de Spindrift racing pour pouvoir répéter ce partenariat.

Services de traduction en Suisse

Anglo Premier Translations propose des devis et accepte des paiements en francs suisses pour que les clients en Suisse puissent bénéficier de tout son savoir-faire et de tout son professionnalisme.

Vous êtes dans la région de Genève ou de Lausanne et vous avez besoin de services de traduction? Je serai dans la région du 5 au 12 décembre pour présenter mes services à plusieurs entreprises et organisations. Si vous voulez aussi vous rencontrer avec moi pour que nous puissions analyser comment vous pouvez bénéficier de nos services de traduction, merci de nous contacter.

Je serai présent, notamment, à l’International Sports Convention (ISC) le 10 décembre, au Great British Breakfast avec Nick Varley organisé par la British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce le 11 décembre, et au Midi de la Chambre de la Chambre de commerce, d’industrie et des services de Genève le 11 décembre, mais je peux aussi prendre rendez-vous avez vous à tout autre moment.

Pour plus d’informations, merci de nous contacter.

2014: a busy year

The blog has been quiet for a while; the last post was six months ago. It’s been a busy year so far for Anglo Premier Translations.

In January I translated (Spanish>English) an OECD report on e-learning and higher education in Latin America. The report looked in particular at how distance learning has evolved thanks to new technologies and how this is enabling the provision of higher education to isolated, rural parts of Latin America.

In February and March I was part of the translation and editing team for the OECD’s African Economic Outlook for the sixth consecutive year. For the 2014 edition, entitled Measuring the pulse of Africa, I translated the country reports for Comoros, Cameroon, Burundi and Algeria and proofread the translations done by other team members of the reports for Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, Togo, Guinea and Equatorial Guinea.

April was a somewhat quieter month, during which I was able to take a much-needed break, but I also began working with a new client, McCann Erickson, translating commercial material.

In May and June I began working with another University of Barcelona author. The professor is coordinating a book comparing the EU concept of services of general economic interest (SGEIs) and domestic legislation on public services in France, Spain and Italy. I translated chapters from French and Spanish to English and edited chapters translated from Italian to English.

At the end of May I had the pleasure of attending the International Conference on Economic, Business, Finance and Institutional Translation, held at the University of Alicante. The conference was of particular interest to me because I regularly provide economic translations to the OECD.

Also in June, I reached an agreement with the French sailing team SAS Spindrift to translate articles (French>English) related to their upcoming attempt at breaking the world record for the North Atlantic Crossing. My collaboration will involve being on stand-by 24 hours a day during the record attempt, as news items may come in at any time.

Finally, in July, after completing a test, I was accepted as a provider of translation services for the Inter-American Investment Corporation, and have already had the pleasure of working on two very interesting projects. I look forward to continuing our business relationship.

Anglo Premier Translations will continue operating throughout August, when I expect to receive academic papers from university lecturers taking advantage of the end of their semester to finish off articles. And in September and October I will be providing translation and revision services (Spanish>English) for Latin American Economic Outlook for the third consecutive year. Finally, in November I will attend the Mediterranean Editors and Translators conference for the eighth consecutive year.

Website testing

When translating a website one important aspect translators should include in their budget is website testing. It is the equivalent of reading the proofs of a book before it goes to print. In the publishing industry, translators can spot errors introduced by typesetters who are unfamiliar with conventions in a certain language, such as decimal commas in French, Spanish and other languages vs. decimal points in English.

On a website, clients often overlook menu items when sending website content to the translator for translation. Since the menu items are seemingly simple words, web designers and webmasters may decide to translate the items themselves. Unfortunately things can go wrong, as exemplified below in a screenshot from a website that, otherwise, has a good French translation.

française

The French word for “French” is “français”, not “française”. The latter is the feminine form of the adjective, as in “une entreprise française” (a French company). When used as a noun to refer to the language it should always be spelt “français”, pronounced with a silent s.

Similar mistakes often encountered on websites, but also on hotels and signposts, include “wellcome” instead of “welcome” and “bienvenu” or “bienvenus” instead of “bienvenue”. In Spanish the word “bienvenido” when used as exclamation agrees with the gender and number of the people being addressed, but in French the exclamation is invariable.

However tempting it may be to translate small words yourself, always check with a professional translator to avoid embarrassing mistakes that spoil your company’s image.

Try to work with a translator who is experienced in translating and localising websites. A good website translator can save you time and money by working with the source code, rather than in a Word document that you then have to reconvert to the format of your website, and will thus ensure that all the menu items and headers and footers are also correctly translated. I would recommend arranging a meeting between the person responsible for the web content, the web designer and the translator to discuss the best strategy.

Research articles

One of the areas in which Anglo Premier Translations has specialised is in research articles for academic staff. My translation and editing services have resulted in nine academic papers being published in journals and four conference papers or working papers. This is in addition to books I have published with academic articles in them. For more information, including links to the articles, see the new Research articles page of my website.

Football, fútbol, futbol, calcio II: terminology

In Part I of this series I discussed the expression the beautiful game used to refer to association football (which I will simply call football in the rest of this post). In this part I will look at the terminology mentioned by Joseph Lambert in his own blog post, The Terminology of the Beautiful Game.

The first half of the following table shows the terminology mentioned by Joseph Lambert in English, French and Italian, to which I have included the equivalents in Spanish and Catalan and English definitions.

Entries marked with an asterisk are not specific terms, but are ordinary words that could be used to describe the same situation.

The second half of the table contains additional interesting terms, and are discussed further below.

FrenchItalianSpanishCatalanEnglishDefinition
petit ponttunneltúneltúnelnutmegWhen the ball is played between the legs of an opposing player.
caviar*peach, *gemAn exceptionally good pass.
doppietadobletedobletbrace, double, pairTwo goals by the same player.
coup du chapeautriplettahat-trick, tripletehat-trick, triplethat-trickThree goals by the same player.
pokerpókerpòkerFour goals by the same player.
pokerissimo, manitamanitamaneta*score five, *thrashing, *thrash, *cricket score, *trounceFive goals, but not necessarily by the same player.
but [goal]golgolgolgoalIf you don't know what a goal is you probably won't be interested in this article!
cornercorner, calcio d'angolocórnercórnercornerDitto!
córner olímpicocórner olímpic*goal (straight/directly) from a corner, *score (straight/directly) from a cornerWhen the ball goes straight into the goal from a corner, without touching another player (except perhaps a small touch by a goalkeeper).
arbitrereferí, árbitroàrbitre/arefereeThe main official in charge of a match.
vuelta olímpicalap of honourWhen players walk around the edge of the pitch, celebrating in front of their fans.
cucchiaio, pallonettovaselinavaselinachipA short, high kick going over the head of an opposing player or over the arms of the opposing goalkeeper. Also used as a verb.
grand pont*autopase*autopase*beat, *go (a)roundWhen a player knocks the ball past an opponent on one side and runs around the other side of him or her.
lucarneescuadraescairetop cornerThe area just inside where the crossbar and post meet on the goalposts.
prolongationprórrogapròrrogaextra-timeAn additional 30 minutes of play in knockout matches when the scores are level at the end of ordinary time.
temps additionnelprolongación, descuento, tiempo añadidoprolongació, descompte, temps afegitinjury time, stoppage time, time added onAdditional time added by the referee to compensate for time lost due to injuries, substitutions or time-wasting.

Joseph’s article does not offer a translation of manita. I believe there is no specific term in English. We would either say that a team scored five or use an expression that refers to the fact that a team were well beaten, such as the verbs thrash or trounce. The expression cricket score is often used when a team is banging in the goals. A commentator might say ‘At one stage Arsenal looked like they might make it a cricket score‘. For those unfamiliar with cricket, this is an exaggeration. Even the lowest innings score ever in first-class cricket is 26, but normally a cricket score would be in excess of 150.

An interesting term in Spanish (and Catalan) is córner olímpico, literally an ‘Olympic corner’. In English we have no such term, so we’d just have to say that a player ‘scored straight from a corner’. According to Nicolás Alejandro Cunto’s blog, the term was coined when Argentina scored such a goal against Uruguay in 1924. The Uruguayan team had recently won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Paris, where they celebrated with a lap of honour, which in Spanish was dubbed a vuelta olímpica – an Olympic lap or tour – a term still used in Spanish – and in Catalan – to this day.

The same article by Nicolás Alejandro Cunto illustrates the much higher proportion of words borrowed from English in Latin American Spanish than in Spanish Spanish. He uses referí (referee) rather than árbitro and wing (winger) rather than lateral.

Another curious Spanish term is vaselina, literally meaning ‘Vaseline’, to refer to what in English we call a chip. In English the word chip is often used as a verb rather than a noun, so ‘marcó con una vaselina’ might become ‘chipped the ball (over the goalkeeper’s head and) into the net’.

Joseph’s article mentions petit pont (small bridge), the French term for a nutmeg. French football parlance also has the grand pont (big bridge), which is when an attacking player knocks the ball past a defender on one side and then runs around the other side of the defender. (If you’re confused by this explanation, watch this exquisite ‘grand pont’ and goal by an 8-year-old called Adam, and if you’re not confused, watch it anyway!) There is no term as precise as this in English. Although a translator could describe the action precisely by explaining the manoeuvre in detail, this is a good example of where it is better to let some information become lost in translation in the interest of maintaining good style (e.g. ‘Ronaldo beat Johnson on the right flank before unleashing a cross to the far post…’).

French refers to the top corner as the lucarne (skylight); Spanish and Catalan use escuadra and escaire respectively, both meaning ‘right angle’. The closer the ball is to the junction between the crossbar and the upright, the more likely a French writer or commentator is to say en pleine lucarne (‘right in the top corner’, or ‘in the very top corner’).

Finally, translators working between French and Spanish or French and Catalan should watch out for a false friend when referring to extra time and injury time (see the table for other synonyms). Extra time is called la prolongation in French, but in Spanish and Catalan prolongación and prolongació mean injury time; extra time is called prórroga and pròrroga respectively.

Football, fútbol, futbol, calcio I: the beautiful game

I recently stumbled upon an article by fellow specialist sports translator Joseph Lambert entitled The Terminology of the Beautiful Game. Joseph focuses on terminology in his source languages: French and Italian. My source languages are slightly different – I also translate from French, I don’t translate from Italian, and I translate from Spanish and Catalan – so with his permission I decided to write my own post incorporating his French and Italian terms and adding Spanish and Catalan terms.

I will examine the terms he discusses in a future article. In this post I will look at an expression used in the title of Joseph’s article. The term the beautiful game is instantly understood by English-speaking football fans – at least those in the UK and Ireland – as referring to association football, in the same way that boxing fans will instantly recognise the noble art as referring to their sport. Schott’s Sporting, Gaming & Idling Miscellany, by Ben Schott, lists three other poetic nicknames for sports: the sport of kings (horse racing), the gentle craft (angling), the noble science of defence (fencing) and the Tesserarian art (gambling).

The expression the beautiful game has no direct translation into French, Spanish and Catalan, so a translator working from English into these languages must either repeat the word football or use some other expression to refer to the sport. Spanish has the option of using the calqued translation balompié, which the Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas says “no ha gozado de mucha aceptación entre los hablantes y suele emplearse casi siempre por razones estilísticas, para evitar repeticiones en el discurso” (it is not widely used, and when it is it is nearly always for stylistic reasons to avoid repetition). French, meanwhile, can resort to the expression le ballon rond, which literally refers to the bag of air being booted around the field but is often used as a metonym to refer to the sport. French can also use the slightly informal shortened form foot (French can also remove the suffix -ball from the names of two other sports: handball and basketball).

Another alternative in English is soccer, a word that derives from association football (see next paragraph). I remember soccer being in widespread use when I was growing up as a child in England, but in recent times – perhaps particularly since the 1994 World Cup in the USA – it seems to have fallen out of favour in the UK, wrongly branded an unwelcome Americanism by many; the term was first coined in England. Generally it is used only in headlines (where there is a limit on the number of characters) or when specifically discussing football in America.

Association football is the official name of the sport, so called because it is based on the rules originally devised by the (English) Football Association. The full name is used in contexts where it is necessary to distinguish the game from other codes of football: rugby league, rugby union, American football, Canadian football, Australian-rules football (or Aussie- rules football, commonly referred to as footie in Australia) and Gaelic football. Technically the full name of the sport in French and Spanish is football association and fútbol asociación respectively – and FIFA actually stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association – but these are rarely, if ever, used in those languages. Note that in English it is not unusual for a rugby (league or union) commentator to say something like “that’s excellent football by England” or “that’s excellent use of the football by Wales”.

Watch this space for a follow-up post on vocabulary used to describe the action during matches.

Anglo Premier Translations specialises in sports translations. For more information, visit the main website.

Pronunciation guide part I: the letter J

This is the first of a series of articles I will post about the pronunciation of foreign names. The articles will focus on famous names in sport that are often mispronounced by sports commentators and presenters.

Commentators and presenters should not be expected to pronounce all foreign names exactly as pronounced in the original language. For instance, it would sound pretentious for commentators to pronounce all French Rs the French way. But they should pronounce names as correctly as possible using phonemes (sounds) that exist in English.

Mispronunciations are often the result of the speaker reading a name as if it were English. But sometimes they occur because the speaker applies the pronunciation rules of one foreign language to a name that’s from another language – usually French, because it is the most familiar foreign language to most people in Britain.

For example, when referring to the controversial Uruguayan footballer Luis Suárez, Liverpool’s manager Brendan Rodgers calls the striker LEW-ee, with a silent S. He does this three times in the following interview alone.

This is a type of hypercorrection, and specifically a hyperforeignism: even though a final S in English words is pronounced, Rodgers believes he is pronouncing the name more correctly by omitting it, when in fact he is not. He almost certainly does so because the French name Louis has a silent S, but final consonants are not silent in Spanish, nor are they in most languages. The correct pronunciation would be LWEES, as a single syllable, but since this is hard to pronounce for an English speaker, an acceptable compromise would be lu-WEESS.

The letter J

Let us look specifically at the subject of this post, the letter J, which is pronounced in a variety of ways in different European languages.

(Since these posts are aimed at non-linguists, I have avoided using phonetic symbols and have written pronunciations in such a way that they can be read as if they were English words. Caps are used to denote the stressed syllable.)

Germanic languages except English (German, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic)

The Germanic languages (except English) pronounce the J like the English letter Y. Examples:

  • Jan Ullrich (German)
  • Luuk de Jong (Dutch)
  • Eiður Smári Guðjohnsen (Icelandic)

French and Portuguese

French and Portuguese use a sound that does not exist in native English words, but with which most English speakers are familiar. It is the same sound that occurs in the expression déjà vu. Examples:

  • Jean Alesi (French)
  • José Mourinho (Portuguese)

Catalan

Mispronunciations of a Catalan J are invariably a hyperforeignism, since the letter is pronounced the same as in most English words (e.g. in the word jam).

Sometimes commentators wrongly pronounce it like the J found in other Germanic languages (i.e. a Y sound). For example, during the playing days of Jordi Cruyff, who was given a Catalan first name by his parents (his father Johan was a Barça player at the time), the British media usually pronounced his first name as YOR-di. Perhaps commentators assumed his first name was Dutch, but other Catalan names with a J are also mispronounced as a Y, such as Jordi Alba.

Other times they pronounce it like the Spanish J (see below). Here’s a clip of Stephen Fry in flagrante delicto pronouncing the Catalan word menja as MEN-ha, as if it were a Spanish word, when the correct pronunciation is simply MEN-ja.

Spanish

For the nitpickers, Spanish pronounces the J like the “ch” in the Scottish word loch. But apart from this word the sound doesn’t exist in English, so to simplify matters let’s say that it is pronounced as a H, which is an acceptable alternative for the native English speaker. (Spanish speakers themselves approximate the English H sound, which doesn’t exist in Spanish, like the Spanish letter J.)

An Anglicised pronunciation of the Spanish name Jorge would therefore be HOR-hay. This pronunciation of the letter J (and the letter G if followed by an E or an I) is unique to Spanish, and should not be used for names in other languages, including Catalan.

Spanish, Portuguese or Catalan?

The spellings of Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan names are often very similar or identical (José is written the same in Portuguese and Spanish), so commentators should make sure they know whether athletes have a Spanish, Portuguese or Catalan name so they can pronounce it correctly.

Common Spanish names containing a J pronounced as a H sound: Alejandro, Alejandra, Jaime, Javier, Javiera, Jerónimo, Joaquín, Jorge, José, Josefina, Joel, Juan, Julia, Juliana, Julio.

Common Catalan names containing a J pronounced like an English J: Jaume, Jeroni, Jordi, Joaquim, Josep, Joel, Joan, Júlia.

Common Portuguese names containing a J pronounced like a French J: Jaime, Jerónimo, Jerônimo, João, Joaquim, Jorge, Josefina, Júlia, Júlio.

Juventus

Finally, Juventus is a special case. In Italian, the letter J is only used in words borrowed from foreign langauges. Otherwise, the J sound (as in jam) is always represented by the letter G (Genova) or by the combination “GI” (Giuseppe). The name of the Turin-based club is derived from the Latin iuventus, meaning youth, and is pronounced yu-VEN-tus.