Are Italian translations important for my business?

Published on 09/08/2021

Italian is the Latin language par excellence. Many companies save on Italian translations if they have previously instructed a professional translation into other Latin languages. They fall prey to the assumption that by doing so, they will only need online translators. The temptation to use only free machine translation tools can have a negative impact on the company's image.

This means ignoring certain aspects like Italian translations as a source or target language need to be revised by professionals. The linguistic nuances can affect the quality of language services. For example dialectal words, addressing someone formally or informally, polite expressions or the peculiarities of legal Italian translations. This is a field in which pitfalls should be avoided, and if necessary, with the help of an Italian translation agency.

1. What you need to know about the Italian dialects for translations

What you need to know about the Italian dialects for English Italian translation

In Italy there are approximately 400 different dialects, which some might forget. But dialects are widely spoken in the south. Around 70 % of the inhabitants of Calabria and Sicily speak a dialect in everyday life. They are all based on standard Italian (which itself derived from Tuscan), but sometimes have major lexical differences.

For a commercial translations, it is always better to use regional words or expressions and not the official standard Italian.

These linguistic nuances in dialects illustrate that Italian is no exception to other languages. It is always better to have a native speaker to revise the translations.

The Tuscan dialect is not the only dialect that has infused standard Italian. Did you know? The famous greeting "ciao" derived from the word "schiavo”, which means “slave” in Venetian. The word ciao literally means "I am your slave".

2. Informally adressing is common in Italian marketing translations

The informal form of greeting is common in Italian marketing translations

This applies both to advertising campaigns and to websites that need to be translated into Italian. Formally addressing people is considered too much courtesy in Italian. Therefore it should be avoided in marketing texts.

The use of a formal greeting is widespread in professional environments, but ALWAYS when addressing children or teenagers.

3. Polite phrases in Italian translations

Polite phrases in Italian translations

To translate letters into Italian, one must know the peculiarities of the Italian language. There are many more possibilities to addressing people than in English.

As the Italian language learner website "LearnAmo" points out, it is not easy to know which greeting fromula to use. One must know the degree of familiarity and the type of the parties' relationship. Mixing expressions such as "Caro/Cara, Gentile, Spettabile, Egregio", etc. is a strategic mistake, which can be avoided.

This makes clear that certain standard English formulas such as "Dear Mr./Mrs." are very useful.

4. Italian English translations: This might make it easier

Italian translations: This might make it easier

As we have seen, the revision of translations is extremely important to identify the linguistic nuances. Those might be very difficult to grasp, especially if you do not speak Italian. In these cases, you can turn to our translation agency, AbroadLink Translations. We offer professional and accurate translations and qualified native Italian speakers.

However, if you want to learn some Italian, you are lucky. Here are 5 facts which might make Italian an easy language to learn:

  • Italian is one of the 10 easiest languages for English speakers to learn;
  • The letters j, k, w, x and y only exist in Italian because of foreign words. Therefore Italian (21) has fewer letters than English (26);
  • Some fields, such as gastronomy or music, include vocabulary which largely from the Italian language. Many words are also used in English.

If your company needs an Italian translation, don't trust in machine translation. Those are always based on English as a reference language. It is better to make sure that translations are accurate without using English reference texts. A language which doesn’t have the same linguistic nuances (such formal and informal greetings) is not very suitable.

Virginia Pacheco's picture
Virginia Pacheco

Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.

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