Translation Essentials: The Trouble With Abbreviations

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Translation Essentials: The Trouble With Acronyms and Abbreviations Translators often talk about the difficulty of translating acronyms and abbreviations. Some common acronyms have equivalency in other languages, but others do not. In this case, what do you do? If your translator does not know what the acronym means, you may have an issue. Let's start by looking at some common abbreviations and acronyms. You may be surprised to find out that some of them are not universal. For the sake of simplicity, we will limit our comparison to English, French and Portuguese. Since these languages all have the same roots and use the same Roman alphabet there is a greater chance that there will be commonalities. Even so... English French Portuguese…show more content…
càd (c'est-à-dire) No standard abbreviation; isto é Limited Liability Corp. Ltd. SARL (société à responsabilité limitée) Ltda - limitada Megabyte MB Mo (mega octet) MB - megabyte Gigabyte GB Go (giga octet) GB - gigabyte Social Security Tax FICA URSAFF No standard abbreviation; segurança social. United States US É.-U.(États-Uni) EUA – Estados Unidos da América United States of America USA É.-U.A. (États-Unis d'Amérique) EUA – Estados Unidos da América You may think that this is interesting but not shocking. In fact, it makes you wonder what the big deal is with translating acronyms and abbreviations. After all, the list above shows that many common business acronyms translate into at least a couple of languages just fine. Consider, however, that several of these acronyms have alternative meanings. For example, even within the business environment, ATM might also mean asynchronous transfer mode or autonomous trade measures. In Portuguese, CEO might refer to the European Tool Committee (Comité Europeu das

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