AZ World is currently in the process of translating a large website and an interesting event came up worth explaining in the blog. It started with the increasingly common term, “Sustainability.”
This term, according to the major Spanish language institute, the Real Academia Española, should be translated as “Sostenibilidad.” And this was how AZ World advised the client. However in all of the client’s previous translations, for items such as HR documents or press releases, “Sustainability” had been translated as “Sustentabilidad.” While technically incorrect, the use of this word is becoming more common, and may in the future be considered acceptable. But as it currently stands, AZ World would not advise its use.
The client is now faced with a choice that only they should make. Should they start translating the term differently from now on? Should they go back and change all the previous uses? Should they continue to translate it less than correctly for the sake of consistency? These are decisions that only the client must make; we as linguists should only advise.
This is a very common problem. Different departments will often hire different translation companies who don’t share things like TM’s or glossaries. AZ World recommends that every company choose a single agency for their translation work, or at least insist on common translation memories and glossaries.