The translation of neologisms in service businesses

Mannequin challenge, crowdfunding, hipster, friki, wearable, cookies, coworking. We are surrounded by so many examples, we see them on the restaurant bill, in advertising, in technology, on the treatment menu at the beauty salon and in an endless number of other situations. Neologisms are inevitable, they arise on a regular basis and are part of the natural evolution of any language. In this post would like to reflect specifically on the convenience of translating neologisms in service businesses.

Neologisms have their critics, those that believe them to contaminate a language´s authenticity, or that it’s ridiculous to adopt a word from another language when one already exists in our own. On the flip side of the coin are their supporters, those that believe that neologisms contribute to the richness of a language and that they are only natural, or that choosing not to translate them is a good marketing strategy And in reality, the translation of neologisms, or the lack of it, is something that a translation company should often think about. Translation and marketing need each other. The service sector provides a lot of work for translation professionals, and translation is, at the same time, a good marketing strategy, as is the case with translation of blogs or newsletters for any company.

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One of the reasons behind the decision not to translate neologisms is the pressure of fashion and the latest trends. For the most part they add something different, they sound great and are powerfully attention-grabbing. We like al fresco dining, speaking to the maître d´ in a restaurant and choosing a holiday villa. This evidence could be a compelling reason to avoid the translation of neologisms associated with services or products that are in fashion.

But apart from this reasoning, which could be considered as slightly frivolous, there are others that are more practical. In the tourist sector, foreigners may be more comfortable with a text if it contains words from their own language, because this helps them understand, even if only a little of the content. Not translating neologisms can help simplify things, as several languages can apply one single term for the same product or service Something that anyone who mistrusts anything related to globalisation would detest.

The debate about the translation of neologisms is always open in service businesses due to their very nature ‑arising out of fashion or the need to find names for new situations– and because in each individual case, translation and marketing are analysed from a different perspective. There will always be controversy, but as a translation company we can always advise you and help you to decide which is the best option for you and your business. If your business is in the service sector and you are contemplating the best marketing strategies through translation, we would be delighted to help you at Okodia.