Welcome / Bienvenue / Benvinguts / Bienvenidos
For information about my translation services, please visit the main site.
Pour des informations sur mes services, merci de regarder le site principal.Para información sobre mis servicios de traducción, visite el web principal.
It is easy to fall into the trap of using literal translations when labelling graphs and tables, but we should try to look for translations that sound more natural. Here are a few quick thoughts on translating some of the expressions that often come up in Spanish (Catalan) texts:
Usually followed by a number. These labels usually refer to some kind of graph. I would suggest translating it as Figure.
Evolución de… (Evolució de…)
My current project has the following label for one of the graphs:
Evolució del dèficit d’habitatge a Seül, 1926 – 2009
If the project had been in Spanish it would have read:
Evolución del déficit de vivienda en Seúl, 1926 – 2009
Evolución (Evolució) is always a tricky word to translate. The English cognate, evolution, is not used nearly as frequently as the Spanish (Catalan) word.
In the context of graphs, the Spanish and Catalan words usually refer to the fact that the graph shows information over a period of time. My suggestion here is simply to leave it out in the English, since the date in the label already makes it clear that the data refer to a period of time (if the date range is not in the Spanish or Catalan label or title, we could add it).
So, my translation of the Catalan was as follows:
Housing shortage in Seoul, 1926-2009
Elaboración propia (Elaboració pròpia)
Anyone who translates from Catalan to English will, at some point, have had the headache of having to translate the phrase llengua pròpia. Part of the problem is that in English we can’t normally use the word own next to a noun without an accompanying possessive pronoun such as his or my.
An additional problem with the designation elaboración propia (elaboració pròpia) is that elaboración (elaboració) and elaboration are false cognates. The English word implies adding more detail to something, rather than producing something.
Based on my experience of texts written in English, my suggestion is to translate the phrase as Author’s work, or if the document has more than one author, Authors’ work (NB: make sure you double check whether you need the singular or plural possessive if it comes up as an “exact” match from your translation memory, as your previous project might have had a different number of authors!)
Do you agree with my proposed translations? What other tricky terms do you often see next to tables and graphs?
One of things that can make an English translation look like an English translation is overuse of connectors, or linking expressions, between sentences. Such expressions are much more common in Romance-language texts than they are in English. Here is an example from a text I was working on this morning, used with the author’s permission.
Hay quien afirma que la traducción automática es simplemente una herramienta más de traducción. Otros, en cambio, defienden que estamos ante un cambio de paradigma en la profesión. En cualquier caso, los defensores de ambas concepciones de la traducción automática la utilizan con reticencias.
I have marked the two connectors in bold. My first draft read as follows:
Some say that machine translation is just another translation tool. Others, meanwhile, argue that it represents a paradigm shift in the profession. However, neither view is expressed without reservations.
When revising my translation, I was uncomfortable with the result, which didn’t seem to flow well. My solution was to remove the adverb “meanwhile”, which is unnecessary in English, since the words “some” and “others” already provide the necessary contrast in English. I also moved the position of “however” away from the beginning of the sentence, which is another useful technique to make English translations sound more authentic.
UPDATE: I no longer recommend this macro because it does not look at footnotes and text boxes. Instead, you should use the macro available here.
Many users of CAT tools like to convert smart quotes and apostrophes to straight ones before translating their documents, because if the straight versions are always used, it means concordance searches for words including apostrophes will always work.
The problem is that it takes quite a while to do this in MS Word. You can’t just find/replace the apostrophes, because even if you put a straight apostrophe in the replace box, Word will interpret it as a smart apostrophe if you have set Word up to use straight apostrophes and quotes.
Of course, you could change that setting, but then it is more complicated to convert the straight varieties to the smart varieties after exporting from your CAT tool.
The solution is to use a macro that will automatically switch smart quotes and apostrophes off, then perform the search, then switch them back on.
Here’s a macro that will do just that.
' ReplaceQuotes Macro, by Timothy Barton, Anglo Premier Translations
Application.Options.AutoFormatAsYouTypeReplaceQuotes = False
.Text = ChrW(8220)
.Replacement.Text = """"
Texts in Romance languages usually place footnote markers before punctuation. In English we place them after the punctuation. I usually change this on the fly while translating, but I’ve just received a text I outsourced because it was Italian-English and the translator hasn’t moved the footnote markers. No worries! There’s no need to go through the footnotes one by one, as a quick find-and-replace routine in Word will put the footnote markers in the right place (if you prefer, you’ll find a macro at the bottom of the page). Open up the find/replace box, select “Use wildcards”, and enter the following:
It should be safe to use Replace All, but if you want to play safe you can click the Find button once and then keep clicking Replace.
^2 = Footnote reference (same as ^f without wildcards)
[ ] = Look for any character contained in the square brackets. The ? and ! are preceded by a backslash because they normally have special meanings. The backslash tells Word to ignore the special meaning and look for a literal ? or !.
\2 = Replace with the contents of the second parenthesis
\1 = Replace with the contents of the first parenthesis
If you wish to do the opposite conversion, to convert the English format to that used by the Romance languages, run the following procedure, also with wildcards:
If you have to perform either of these regularly you may want to create a macro. Here’s the code for converting to the English format:
' Macro by www.anglopremier.com (thanks to Simon Turner for converting to macro format)
' Moves footnote markers to after punctuation
.Text = "(^2)([.,:;\?\!])"
.Replacement.Text = "\2\1"
.Forward = True
.Wrap = wdFindContinue
.Format = False
.MatchCase = False
.MatchWholeWord = False
.MatchAllWordForms = False
.MatchSoundsLike = False
.MatchWildcards = True
For those of you working from English to Romance languages, here’s the macro for you:
' Macro by www.anglopremier.com (thanks to Simon Turner for converting to macro format)
' Moves footnote markers to before punctuation
.Text = "([.,:;\?\!])(^2)"
.Replacement.Text = "\2\1"
.Forward = True
.Wrap = wdFindContinue
.Format = False
.MatchCase = False
.MatchWholeWord = False
.MatchAllWordForms = False
.MatchSoundsLike = False
.MatchWildcards = True
I’ve corrected some of the bookmarklets I made available on my main website. All the bookmarklets now lead to the correct site, and the Oxford English Dictionary one now works with all words. There is also a link to a site explaining how to disable speed dial in Firefox, since the bookmarklets don’t work if you are on the speed dial page.
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.
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.
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.
When the ball is played between the legs of an opposing player.
Five goals, but not necessarily by the same player.
If you don't know what a goal is you probably won't be interested in this article!
corner, calcio d'angolo
*goal (straight/directly) from a corner, *score (straight/directly) from a corner
When the ball goes straight into the goal from a corner, without touching another player (except perhaps a small touch by a goalkeeper).
The main official in charge of a match.
lap of honour
When players walk around the edge of the pitch, celebrating in front of their fans.
A short, high kick going over the head of an opposing player or over the arms of the opposing goalkeeper. Also used as a verb.
*beat, *go (a)round
When a player knocks the ball past an opponent on one side and runs around the other side of him or her.
The area just inside where the crossbar and post meet on the goalposts.
An additional 30 minutes of play in knockout matches when the scores are level at the end of ordinary time.
prolongación, descuento, tiempo añadido
prolongació, descompte, temps afegit
injury time, stoppage time, time added on
Additional 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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
A lot of translators get far too upset about certain websites where people are requesting translation services at astonishingly low rates. A good cure for this gripe is to inadvertently end up on one of the large databases of “translation agencies” that some of these sites hand out.
I ended up on one such website several years ago. I asked the site to remove me, which they did, but before long I was starting to receive CVs again, so presumably I’m back on the list. I currently receive approximately two to three CVs per day, all of which are sent to my old e-mail address from my old site, which is no longer visible and redirects to my new site. Curiously some of the candidates claim to have “read about my company”, even though they’re writing to an e-mail address not published anywhere on my website. Not surprisingly, the e-mail is normally sent as a blind carbon copy. In other words, the e-mail is being sent simultaneously to countless “translation agencies”, most of which the applicant knows absolutely nothing about.
Recently I’ve begun to open up some of the e-mails I’m sent, out of curiosity. Doing so has made me understand why such shoddy rates are offered. The vast majority of messages I receive are pitiful. The English is usually terrible, even from people claiming they translate into English. Many claim that English is their native language when the English they use clearly shows that this is a lie. One could argue that it is unfair to judge, say, an English-to-French translator based on the quality of his or her English, although this is debatable, since mastering the source language is also an essential skill. If, however, their e-mail contains incorrect usage of punctuation ,with commas written like this ,[sic] or with spaces before full stops, or with incorrect usage of capital letters, one can expect their work to be shoddy too.
Why, then, do good translators get so upset because a website is offering translations at such low rates? Does the owner of a top-quality restaurant get upset because half a mile up the road there’s a McDonald’s offering a meal and a drink for less than €10?
To illustrate my point, here are some extracts from some of the e-mails I’ve received recently. Comments in square brackets are my own interjections. Needless to say I won’t be hiring any of them for any jobs.
Translator 1. Native language: French.
Dear Madam / Mr . [not looking good already]
Note that my qulifications [oh dear] match greatly with your demand . [bad punctuation already]
I have read about your company , [this is probably not true]and I have sufficient knowledge about translation world .
As you will note in the attached CV that I am :
Firm believer in the Power of Languages and understanding of diverse cultures. From China to the Dominican [in his attached CV he says “From China to the Dominican Republic” but in the e-mail the word “Republic” has disappeared] communication is essential, having lived in four different countries in the last ten years, I have conjugated my background in International commerce and business administration as well as my knowledge of five languages to bring a more in depth approach to each opportunity presented to me.
I should inform you that I am an excellent speaker of French ,English , Portuguese and Spanish , and I use Microsoft Windows , Word , Excel , Power Point , and Internet skills .
I would be very pleased If I have a positive reply .
Translator 2. Native language: Chinese
Hello ,,, [no need to read any more!]
Translator 3. Native language: Arabic
My specializations include Translation, Legal , , Proofreading, localization, Copywriting, Ghostwriting, Editing and general
I obtained a BA degree in specialized translation at ALAQAS University I studied one year of postgraduate studies in English Arabic translation. , I worked as translator in many Educational Institutions in my country. I also worked as freelance translator and English proofreader/editor Experienced translator in wide range of field.
Translator 4. Native language: Norwegian
Subject: “Meeting your all languages needs”
Translator 5. Native language: Chinese
This is [name removed] from China.
I engaged in translation when I was 22 years ago and in the Zhongnan University, majored in English.
Translator 6. A translation agency.
Do you spend long time [sic] searching for qualified translators?
Do you like to have the best price?
Do you worry about the translators’ commitment regarding deadlines?
Why do you bear all this while we are ready to do it for you?
[Translation agency name] is really there for your translation agency best choice. [What does that mean?] We offer such a great language translation experience, you never want to go back and look for your own freelancers, volunteers, or in-house translators again. We can beat them down with our lowest rates, better quality, accessibility, tax deductions (you can get rid of high expenses of translation services!), and 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Translator 7. Native language: French
Subject: English into French Translator and Vice Versa
Hello All, [at least he’s honest that it’s a mass mail]
Hope this message finds you well.
My name is [name removed] and I am a French native. I am a freelance translator/reviser since six years. [Yes, I know changing “je suis…depuis” to “I have been…since” is confusing, but if you claim to translate into English this is basic.] I translate from English/Spanish/Italian into French.Specialization field: art, culture, literature, creative writing, fashion, politics, economy, social sciences, international relations, technology, web localization, internet.
Please find attached to this e-mail a copy of my CV that details my past experience.
If any interest from your side, please let me know I would be pleased to provide you mi services.
Translator 8. Native language: Russian
[The line breaks are in the original e-mail.]
I am a freelancer. My name is Ripsime. My working languages are
English, Russian. My native language is Russian, and due to the fact
that I live many years abroad I use English in my everyday life. I
have more than 8 years of experience as a freelance translator, as
well as I am a graduate of political sciences and international
relations with honors.
Translator 9. Native language: Italian
Subject: My services are punctual ,never delayed ,very accurate ,precise ,with genuine respect to the source. [Enough said, I think.]
Translator 10. Native language: Spanish
[The CV is taken from a template. She hasn’t paid to remove the watermark, and her name has the word “Edit” between her first name and surname! Also, her e-mail appears to have a typo, although I have no way of knowing if that is deliberate.]
I’ve just been installing the program that enables me to generate my end-of-year tax declarations, and I was rather confused when I came across this screen:
One of the options says “Crear teclas de método abreviado para todos los usuarios”, which means “Create keyboard shortcuts for all users”. It seems a strange question to ask when installing a program. When you toggle the option, the list of programs in the above window changes, which is when I realised what had happened.
It should be asking whether I want to place a shortcut in the Windows menu for all users. The installation program was probably translated from an English installer that said “Create shortcuts for all users”, and the translator interpreted it as keyboard shortcuts (teclas de método abreviado) rather than shortcuts in the Windows menu, which I believe are called “accesos directos” in the Spanish versions of Windows.
Either the translator failed to use the context, or more likely, the translator was not given the context and was simply given a list of words and phrases to translate. There was probably no testing either. Whenever a translation is done and then transferred to another environment, somebody should view the translation in its final environment to check that all is well and rectify any problems (referred to as “testing” in the industry). Types of documents that require testing include websites, Powerpoint presentations and software. Similarly, before any translation are sent to print the translator should see the proofs to ensure nothing has gone wrong during the typesetting phase. Testing and checking proofs are both services provided by Anglo Premier Translations.