The process of “actualisation” is one translation companies need to be aware of, particularly when working with more conversational texts where slang and informal turns of phrase are used. It’s important, during document translation, to ensure that not only the meaning of the text is conveyed, but that its spirit is preserved in the target language.
But as languages are always evolving, it can be difficult to keep up with new turns of phrase – and that’s where actualisation comes into play. Actualisation is the process by which a particular use for a word or phrase becomes commonly accepted, and not simply a niche departure from the widely agreed vocabulary or grammar of the language.
For translation companies, this means we can look out for phrases when they first begin to appear, and track their progress until they become commonly used – at which point they’re ready to enter into our document translation, if they suit the tone of voice. It’s a topic that has grabbed the attention of the Linguistic Society of America in recent days, ahead of the publication of the September 2012 issue of the journal Language.
And notably, the article points out how actualisation differs from language to language, depending on other similar words and phrases that already exist – highlighting why this challenge is unique to those who work with texts in multiple dialects.
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