Erkan Altınsoy

Translating Automotive into Turkish

Walking on a fine line

There are many difficulties in creating texts using the Turkish automotive language.

Like most of the technical fields in Turkish, the language used in the automotive texts is not consistent within the industry. Terminology used varies from one company to the other or even within the same company. So, sometimes you get a company where the sales department uses a certain terminology in communicating the product specifications to the dealers, the marketing department uses another terminology in communicating the products to the public (via the web site, brochures, catalogs etc.), the media relations company uses another terminology for the press releases and the advertising agency uses yet another terminology for the ads. And, the dealers have another language and terminology. In the end, customers or the public may get quite a different language from these different departments and communication channels of an automotive company. Each with a different level of language and industry terminology competence.

The degree of inconsistency in the language within the company varies from just a few terms to quite a few terms and from slight language and style deviations to altogether different languages and styles. There are actually very few companies, if any, who can master a consistent language throughout the whole organization and its extensions, i.e. the media agency and the ad agency.

Add to this the inconsistent and incompetent automotive language of the media and you have a lot of reason to worry about.

So, the job of the translator in translating a text into Turkish is a very difficult one. The elusive Turkish automotive language is the biggest problem because a translator is treading on a fine line between many poles. Some terms are "too foreign" while some are "too Turkish" (in the sense that they are new and not widely used), some terms are too technical while some are too general, etc.. It would have been lovely to have a language like English or German where the automotive terms have been established long ago. Translating between those languages is mostly just finding the right equivalent which is there. Translating into Turkish, however, requires a bigger effort on the part of the translator because the target language is not stable and you have many considerations when using automotive language. You need a lot of experience, and even then, it is sometimes very difficult.

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