The translation of proper abbreviations in technical writings

4 Maj
2015

Proper abbreviations found in original (real plague for translators and technical translation verifiers) should be identified, so we have to make sure that they are actually proper abbreviations and not commonly known abbreviations or proper name abbreviations.  If you already know that  encountered abbreviation in the source text is invented by the author of the technical or business text, try to guess "what the poet had in mind". In many cases this can be deduced from the context, but it is always a real guessing game. We cannot help it and there is no point in complaining, because we will not change the world in this matter. Application and coming up with one’s own abbreviations is a  fatal manner of writing, that the nature and origins are not going to be explained here, nor commented on. Let's think what a translator can do with such unrestricted combinations of several letters (and sometimes even digits) originating , horror of horrors, from unknown language and sometimes from several unknown languages.  Well, despite the growing feelings of rebellion and irritability, a technical and business translator must always think about the comfort of the recipient of the message. And must not focus on one's anger at the author of the original text.

One should try to translate proper abbreviations and it should be done always, and not only at the beginning of the text or in the footnotes, because it must be remembered that the completed text can be read by fragments and not from beginning till the end. So the abbreviations in technical or business translation must be obvious, or there should be no abbreviations. Proper abbreviations, if occur 100 times in original text, should always be translated 100 times to the full version. In such cases, do not worry about the increasing number of hits- now you know how to explain it and why you need to do so- for the sake of the client. He will not have to wonder about the incomprehensible abbreviations in the translation received from the agency, and  will not waste time looking for the right fragment (or appropriate footnote) with an explanation. Texts which are in daily business use, and therefore also translations, are not scientific texts and there is no application of academic text layout. In business matters speed, so in the case of translation industry, the priority is fast access of the user to useful information. They pay us for translation, so we think what They need, in what circumstances and in what way They use prepared translations.

See also