Should You Have Slang Terms Removed In Your Translated Document?

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When you have a document translated, you might have to make the decision to leave in or take out irregular language like slang or jargon. Your decision can depend on a variety of factors, including the purpose of the document in question and the unique characteristics of both the source language and the target language.

Consider all of the following before you make any decisions on slang in your translated document.

Conceptions on slang in your target language

Slang usage can have different connotations in different languages. While it might come across as uncultured and improper in one language, it could be perceived with an affectionate familiarity in another language.

Conceptions on slang will also depend on the particular words being used. Vulgarity is almost never regarded positively, but terms that are unique to a particular ethnic group could provoke an emotional response that might be beneficial to marketing efforts, for example. 

Possibility of finding slang equivalents

Slang terms tend to be very unique to particular languages. This can make finding an appropriate translation difficult. You don't want to use a slang translation if the meaning of the word used in the target language is straying too far from the meaning of the word in the source language. 

Purpose of translated text

Texts that will be used in a professional setting probably shouldn't have any slang whatsoever- either in the source language or target language. However, slang usage is often a good idea in documents meant for advertising or other marketing efforts. Slang should also be left in a document where possible if it is a translation of a literary work. 

Your target audience

The age group you are trying to appeal to or interest in your document is an important factor in translation decisions regarding slang. A younger crowd might be more inclined to enjoy this type of language than older adults. 

Vocabulary differences between countries or regions

Slang terminology doesn't only differ between languages. It can also differ within the same language depending on the region or country that a speaker comes from.

For example, the French term "bibittes" can have a significantly different meaning between French speakers from France and from Canada. In France, the word can refer to male genitalia, while in Québécois French it can be used to refer to personal challenges. 

It you want your translated document to be equally understood by language speakers from a wide range of geographic regions, you might want to have slang completely removed. On the other hand, if you're really trying to target a particular region, you might want to have slang terms translated according to local dialects or vocabularies. Work with a language translation service to find the right balance.

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14 August 2015

the different cultures of the world

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