5 Best Practices for English to Vietnamese Translation Services
Vietnam is classified as a low English proficiency country. Even young Vietnamese people who have better English proficiency still prefer buying products and services that are available in their native language. That’s why having an accurate and error-free English to Vietnamese translation is the first key to getting your business closer to Vietnamese audiences.
There are many common traps that you might encounter when handling English to Vietnamese translation projects. In today’s post, we will share with you 5 best practices for English to Vietnamese translation services to help you avoid mistakes that can cost your business money and reputation in the Vietnamese market.
Table of Contents
1. Use Personal Pronouns Smartly
The Vietnamese language has a rich system of personal pronouns that only make sense when used in the right context. The choice of personal pronouns in Vietnamese depends on the age and relationship between the addressee and the speaker. Meanwhile, the English personal pronouns show either of the two factors.
Thus, when handling English to Vietnamese translation, translators might have a hard time finding the right personal pronouns for their translations. This is because misusing personal pronouns might ruin the messages of content or even offend the addressee.
Some common personal pronouns in Vietnamese
Let’s see an example. The sentence “He would like to invite us for dinner” can be translated into:
- “Anh ấy (He) muốn mời mời chúng ta (us) đi ăn tối” if “He” is older than the speaker.
- “Em ấy (He) muốn mời mời chúng ta (us) đi ăn tối” if “He” is younger than the speaker.
- “Ông ấy (He) muốn mời chúng ta (us) đi ăn tối” if “He” is much older or of higher status than the speaker.
And there are still many other ways to translate this sentence.
So how do you know which is the right choice of personal pronouns for your English to Vietnamese translation projects? It all depends on the context and the communicating style/relationship your business want to create with your audiences. In most cases, brands prefer using pronouns “Bạn” for “You” and “Chúng tôi” (formal) or “Chúng mình” (more friendly) for “We”. However, they do not work for all businesses and types of documents. We recommend you always consult localization experts as well as your native Vietnamese translators for the best personal pronouns choice.
2. Acknowledge the Differences in Regional Writing Styles
There are some notable differences in the spelling, vocabulary, and writing styles of Vietnamese accents within the country (Northern Vietnam, Central Vietnam, and Southern Vietnam) and Vietnamese communities around the world.
Spelling – Northern Vietnamese spelling is considered as the “standard” Vietnamese which is used in official documents, course books, and the media. However, the regional spellings of words that are slightly different from the standard ones might be used for specific situations.
Vocabulary – There are some significant differences in the vocabulary of each region that makes even native speakers confused sometimes. A lot of words have the same spellings but contain completely different meanings.
In addition, one subject can be interpreted by various words.
Due to these differences, it is essential that your company consider carefully the writing styles to match your target Vietnamese audiences. Factors such as audience locations and types of documents should be taken into account. For example, formal documents such as agreements, contracts, and business should be written in the standard language. When it comes to marketing materials, you might want to customize the messages by using regional dialects. This approach helps your brand leave a better impression on your Vietnamese audiences.
3. Pay Attention to the Capitalization System
The use of capitalization has a significant impact on the meaning of words in Vietnamese. It demonstrates your company’s professionalism and awareness of the Vietnamese language and culture. The Vietnamese language has a complicated set of capitalization rules. The following are some of the most important rules to bear in mind when you are using English to Vietnamese translation services:
- If the term is a heading or if every word in the English text is capitalized, the first letter of the Vietnamese translation will be capitalized. E.g. Protected Health Information is translated as Thông tin sức khỏe được bảo vệ.
- The first letter of words or phrases that describe a type of agency or organization, its functions, and its areas of activity should be capitalized. E.g. World Health Organization is translated as Tổ chức Y tế Thế giới.
- If the English words are human names, place names, etc., the first letter of each word in the Vietnamese translation will be capitalized. E.g. New York, Hà Nội, Hồ Chí Minh.
4. Prepare for Word Expansion
The length of texts is usually expanded in English to Vietnamese translation projects. While the expansion of text does not have influence on the accuracy of the translation, it has a great impact on the layout and design, particularly for high-visual content such as brochures, posters, or websites. This is due to the nature of the Vietnamese language which is more expressive and detailed.
From our years of experience in providing English to Vietnamese translation services, Vietnamese translated documents are likely to be 30-37% longer than the original content in English. To make sure the layout of the translated documents in Vietnamese is clear and consistent with the original, you should leave out more white space when creating the original files. Or you can ask your Vietnamese translators to use shorter words and change the sentence structures to decrease the text length.
5. Work with a Profesional Vietnamese Translation Agency
To get high-quality English to Vietnamese translations, you cannot just work with any bilingual who can speak English and Vietnamese. You need someone who is familiar with the content in your industry as well as having a great understanding of the Vietnamese culture and market. Or in other words, you should always work with professionals.
As a Vietnamese-based translation agency, GTE Localize has years of experience in providing high-quality English to Vietnamese translation services for a wide range of industries such as life-science, business, IT, engineering, etc. We have a team of in-house native Vietnamese translators with an average of 8.2 years of experience and a network of native Vietnamese freelance translators with 5+ years of experience to serve all your English to Vietnamese translation demands.
Book a 1:1 consultancy with localization experts and let us help you get closer to your Vietnamese audiences today!