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LINGUIST List 22.1459

Tue Mar 29 2011

Disc: Culture = Language + Location?

Editor for this issue: Elyssa Winzeler <elyssalinguistlist.org>


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        1.     James Pennington , Culture = Language + Location?

Message 1: Culture = Language + Location?
Date: 23-Mar-2011
From: James Pennington <article27gmail.com>
Subject: Culture = Language + Location?
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Why, when US companies want to reach the Chinese market, do they have
translations produced overseas in China, while at the same time companies
who try to reach multilingual US markets also have translations produced
overseas? I know cost is a major component of the answer, but doesn't it
make more sense to always have translations produced where the audience
actually is?

In US healthcare, for example, many of the topics that are translated are
either non-existent in or very different from other countries (e.g.,
managed care, organ donation, privacy practices, etc.). Yet translation
companies frequently outsource this work overseas.

In other words, where language communities are concerned, shouldn't culture
be thought of as a combination of language and location? I'm seeking any
evidence that suggests that different environments change language enough
(due to separate cultural experiences and influence from other languages)
to warrant that translations be produced locally in order to maximize
comprehension by local immigrant communities.

I work in the translation industry so I know that there are plenty of
qualified US-based translators in at least the 20 most common non-English
languages. I understand the cost advantages of outsourcing overseas, but
I'm trying to make the argument that locally produced translations are in
the best interests of local populations. I feel that if we're talking about
vital communications that affect peoples' lives in very real ways
(healthcare, finances, insurance, social services, legal services, etc.),
then profit should take a back seat.

I would be interested in any research in language change, culture and
immigration related to this topic. Furthermore, even if there are those who
would disagree with my argument, understanding possible disadvantages can
be used to improve current methodologies and develop better services for
local minority language communities.


Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics
Translation


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The LINGUIST List is under the umbrella of Eastern Michigan University and as 
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your financial advisor.

Many companies also offer a gift matching program, such that they will match 
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