Translators are front-line witnesses to the fascinating tug-of-war between established authorities that act as the arbiters for the “proper” way to speak a language (e.g. the Royal Spanish Academy, the French Academy, the Oxford English Dictionary) … and life (do you remember when it was “electronic mail”, or have you noticed how “diss” has migrated from hip-hop records to well, everywhere, including the national nightly news?). Since Miami is the crossroads of the Hispanosphere, TransForma is uniquely positioned to observe how hispanophones engage in this linguistic tug-of-war when it comes to translation from Spanish to English.
Of the three Spanish words in the title, the most universally recognized is “bolsa”, which is derived from the Latin “bursa.” But writers and speakers are often unconscious of the universal reach of their expression, or to the contrary, are deeply aware and choose the more regional word to make a point. “Chuspa” is a Quechua word for “bag” or “sack”, and it has been adopted into the Spanish spoken in Colombia (especially Southwestern Colombia), Ecuador and Perú. “Funda” is used in the Dominican Republic to mean “bag”. Now, just when you thought you were safe, “funda” is also universally used to mean “pillowcase” or “cover”, as in cushion cover. Dizzy yet?
How do we at TransForma make sure that you, our client, are not negatively affected by the linguistic tug-of-war described above? The short answer: Attention to details. When a client approaches us for a translation from Spanish to English, we first determine the document’s country or region of origin and the nature of the document (government issued, legal, technical, marketing). Then, we make every effort to assign the task to a translator from that country or region with expertise in the document’s subject-matter. After all, we wouldn’t want to deliver a translation of a document originating in the Dominican Republic that said that people carry their groceries home in a pillowcase. We apply the same methodology to all our translation projects, regardless of the language combination. We know that there are subtle but crucial differences within every language, be it between European and Brazilian Portuguese, or famously, English English and American English (two countries divided by a common language…).
At TransForma, we love language. We’re not intimidated by the challenges described above. Just the opposite: we’re enthralled by them, and our challenge is to deliver a translation that is faithful to the meaning and context of the original document. You can learn more about us at www.transformaonline.com. If you need our help in the tug-of-war, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 305-722-3827.