Recently, I have the impression that in the translations that I am doing for some of my clients, there is a growing number of terms in English. It is not my intention to leave them in English, but rather are my clients who request me to leave specific terms in English. The problem is that when you are reviewing the translation and come up with a final appraisal, I don’t know, but on one hand, I feel that I have fulfilled my duty with my client as I took into account their indications, but on the other, I don’t feel completely satisfied with my duty as translator. I don’t know whether this has ever happened to any of you, that is, to experience a bittersweet feeling about it.
Last week I made translations for two of my clients and in both cases the final text was full of terms that had to be left in English. One of them was the translation into Spanish of the online help of a leading travel system. This system has countless branded names for the applications or functions related to this huge travel booking program. And each time that one of them is named in the online help, a mandatory requirement in the translation is to leave them in English, as they are copyright names. As a result, there are sentences where up to three of these copyright names appear and, as they must remain in English, the sentence, read in Spanish, becomes complete gibberish.
And in the other company that I have worked for this week, I had a similar case. It was about translating a web tutorial that helps to learn concepts by means of a game where you are awarded gold, silver and bronze badges. In this case, they expressly asked me to leave terms in English that do not even pose any translation difficulty, such as Big Data, Small Data, Business Intelligence or Business Analytics. In addition, I came up with a rare term “Gamification” (I never heard about this before), which I suggested to translate into Spanish as “Ludificación”, but they preferred “Gamificación”, as this seems to be (according to them) the term most widely used in Spain for this kind of games.
The fact of leaving things in English should not be displeasing to me. On the contrary, you are fulfilling your customers’ requirements, you are paid for each word exactly as if it had been translated, you don’t have to do research to find out its meaning and in what context it is used. That is, you are fulfilling your duty and your client will be satisfied and they will surely ask you for more translations in the future. However, I don’t know whether you have also experienced this bittersweet feeling I talked about in the first paragraph. And some questions immediately arise: why I don’t feel comfortable about it? Where will all this lead to? If it is generally assumed that everybody can speak and understand English, why doing translations into Spanish? What is the point about filling a text in Spanish with more and more terms in English? Why not translating them? What will be the result if this practice does not come to an end?