Guest post: Social media and translation

Why does a day have only 24 hours? Why???

Here’s the guest post that was supposed to be published on Tuesday. Well, better late than never, right?

Our guest today has already translated one of our posts, so I invited her to write a guest post as well.

Welcome, Alessandra!


The Growing Importance of Social Media Translation

Social Media has completed changed the relationship between people and brands allowing people to share their interests so brands can come to understand customer behavior and adapt in order to reach customers needs. When we talk about social networks, we think of the most common, which are English-based, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Instagram and Pinterest. But countries like Russia and China use different social network websites, such as VK in Russia and Renren in China.

Businesses nowadays are thinking globally and are looking to reach out internationally, their Social Media platforms must follow. And it is very important to help build trust among customers, showing signs of respect by getting to a more personal approach. Companies want to reach to as many customers as possible so they must be where their customers are. They need to acquire Internet Users in Emerging Markets; by doing so, they’ll know which ones to market to and in which language. China ranks number 1 followed by South American countries. According this report published by The British Council on Languages for the Future, Portuguese is ranked the 6th most useful language for business.

In terms of social networks, Brazil has the 2nd largest contingent of Facebook and Twitter users. This is great news for translators of Portuguese. Social media combined with language skills can offer great opportunities to translators as there is a lot of material about it to be translated with content being generated and shared constantly.

In Social Media Translation you end up dealing with many words that do not have an equivalent in another language. So the challenge of translating social media content lies in its new introduced terminology. Due to its peculiar terminology, many words end up keeping its English root or being translated directly such as the verb “to tweet”, which in Portuguese became tweetar and “to tag” = taguear. This way many English words are simply integrated into the target language.

A positive aspect of coming across translations when the target language lacks a lot of terms is to see how creative the language itself can be with the new introduced slang. It is also very interesting to observe what languages do naturally, even if English words end up being used as “loan words”, which means they are not translated, such as hype = “dando o que falar”, justnow = “nesse momento”, weouthere = “é nóis”. The use of Urban Language expressions is huge in social networks as they are considered synonyms of cool chatting.

In online communication, there is a need for quick and condensed language, so verb phrases have become common acronyms used in everyday settings, such as ”rolling on the floor laughing” = ROFL, “talk to you later” = TTYL, “laugh out loud” = LOL, “throwback Thursday” = TBT… You always come across a new acronym being used in order to cut down on the number of words to successfully reach a greater speed when communicating or to simply adapt to character limitations when writing posts.

In Social Media translation, the most important is to make the concept clear. In this process, translating can also be led by an instinct technique. Think about different cultural contexts when translating, if it still sounds familiar in the target language then go for it. It is important to provide your reader with the same enjoyable experience that they could have using social media networks in the English language. Always keep in mind that people are looking for fun and culture while interacting online; on a daily basis, we are all exposed to fast-growing modern ways of communicating. And for me this is the most colorful dynamic in working with different languages.

Thanks for accepting my invitation and taking the time to write something interesting to our readers, Alessandra! 🙂

About the author
Profile PicAlessandra M. Silva é formada em Letras – Tradutor/Intérprete pela Unilago e em Jornalismo e Estudos de Mídia pela CMI – Dublin. Atuou como professora de idiomas por mais de nove anos no CCAA nas franquias de Santa Fé do Sul, São José do Rio Preto e São Paulo. Atualmente, trabalha com tradução e como consultora de moda de luxo. Também se interessa por Marketing Digital e Divulgação de Marcas. Reside na Irlanda desde março de 2008. Entre em contato com ela peloLinkedIn.

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