Thursday, January 14, 2010

Transliteration Preferred Over Translation

Ingrid, at her Language On the Move blog, posts about an interesting M.A. thesis that studied the translation of brand names into Arabic. Money quote:

...basically, he’s saying that the entire target population of an advertising message doesn’t get it. Small wonder that Arabic speakers often gripe about the way the Arabic language has become “infested” (Al Agha’s term; p. 82) with English. Al Agha notes that the preferred “translation” strategy in his corpus of Saudi fast-food ads is transliteration rather than translation.

Having worked in the international branding industry (for an ever so brief amount of time), I can attest to the issues and problems that arise that Ingrid discusses further, and they are indeed non-trivial. It's a good read.

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