Translating Spanish Names
Translating English or Spanish names (or deciding when to do it) can be a tricky situation for translators.
Names can pop up in a number of different places within a document and translators have to decide what to do with them as they are translating. Proper nouns can be business names, names of sports teams, personal names, or names of products. The decision a translator has to make is whether or not he/she should translate the names.
One thing translators must keep in mind is that all languages are different and languages vary in how they treat proper nouns. Here, however, we are interested mainly in English and Spanish names.There are a couple of things translators can remember to do when confronted with a name in their work.
1. Ask the client what he/she wants done.
2. Use common sense.
3. Check out what others have done in similar situations.
Translating English or Spanish names often is a straightforward translation task. Sometimes it can be tricky, though, to know what to do and there might not be any rhyme or reason for different reasons to translate or not translate terms.
About six months ago I was working on an English-Spanish dictionary of sports terms and for part of my research, I looked at ESPN.com in Spanish and English. One of the most interesting things I uncovered was that the names of sports teams for Major League Baseball were translated into Spanish while the names for NBA teams weren't translated into Spanish (they were rendered in English) on ESPN's Spanish site (ESPNdeportes.com).
I don't really have a clue as to why this is the case but it is an important difference to note, especially if you are a sports translator. Even if you work in another translation field, there could quite possibly be similar situations to the one above.
The important thing to keep in mind is to not take anything for granted, especially when working with a client for the first time. It's better to ask and spend some time researching and get the translation done right, than do it in a rush and get it wrong. As the saying goes, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
If you're interested in some general links about Spanish names, click on one of the links below:
Babies Names in Spanish: A list of some Spanish names perfect for naming your new baby!
Spanish Surnames: A list of common Spanish surnames from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Spanish Dog Names: Need a name for that special companion? Look no further!
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