Vietnamese language regional varieties: a potential issue to your translation projects?
Some days ago, one of our client came to us with this question: What are the differences among Vietnamese dialects from Northern, Central and Southern region of Vietnam? Can the differences cause linguistic errors to our projects, like reader from one region can’t understand the content translated by translator from another region?
So here goes our brief answer:
Yes, there’re two main differences among Vietnamese dialects from our three regions.
- Pronunciation (tone, accent): some letters are pronounced differently, with different accent and intonation.
- Vocabulary: different words to describe the same thing.
From these two differences, you can see that the pronunciation will not be able to affect written language as in translation (you just need to pay attention to this point with interpretation, transcription or voice projects). However, the vocabulary may do. It’s possible for a reader to misunderstand, or even do not understand, language from another region due to different word choice. But note that the misunderstanding is limited to word level only. There is no difference in grammar and syntax. Also, vocabulary mainly varies with daily-life topic, not with in-depth expertise.
In conclusion: linguistic errors may arise due to Vietnamese dialect varieties, but should not affect the translation too much and just in some domains. Asking your translators to provide details explanation for each case should be helpful for you to analyze.
If you still have question, please do not hesitate to let us know at: email@example.com. We will be more than happy to assist!