Dialects vs sub dialects in translation

dialects vs sub dialects in translation

The use of dialects vs. sub-dialects in translation

One of the hallmarks of a qualified translator is how they use dialects vs. sub-dialects in translation. In the world of linguistics, the use of precise language to convey meaning is important; however, when it comes to translating text from one language to another, it becomes a different challenge altogether.

Using proper text to refer to general and specific terms as they appear in the original text is very important. This is why only qualified translators can use dialects and sub-dialects when translating documents.

If you have documents written in foreign text that require translation, the only way you can get the quality you desire is if you hire professional linguists who are

  • Native speakers of the target language
  • Experts in the field

What is a sub dialect?

A subdialect is a term in linguistics used to differentiate dialectological categories between a dialect and what is called an idiolect. Sub dialects are simply sub-divisions of a dialect, a dialect broken into subgroups. However, sub-dialects can also be broken down into idiolects too. Sub dialects belonging to one group are closely linked but may differ in pronunciation.

What is a dialect?

A dialect is a regional language under an umbrella language with distinguishable features in terms of how words in the language are pronounced, vocabulary, grammar, and word constitution.


Using proper text to refer to general and specific terms as they appear in the original text is very important.


How do expert translators handle dialects vs. sub-dialects in translation?

Expert translators understand the proper use of dialects vs. sub-dialects in translation, especially as it affects messaging. Using the right phrases is an essential part of translation work, but this is not as easy as it seems.

For instance, translating Arabic or Chinese text into English is a complex art that only master linguists can handle. Take a look at the Chinese language; for instance, there are different sub-dialects, such as Han Chinese and Mandarin, which is the widely spoken sub-dialect.

Translating Mandarin Chinese into English is much easier since it is widely spoken, and the translator has many references to draw inspiration from when translating the text into English.

The same is not the case with more obscure sub-dialects like those spoken in provinces up north close to the Mongolian border or the variant spoken in Xinjiang.

Another challenge translators have with languages that have sub-dialects is that there isn’t a scientific methodology for splitting certain languages apart. Translating Japanese into Swedish is easier because they are two different dialects. However, translating text written in a dialect into another sub dialect even though it is the same language is not so easy.

If that translator is not careful, he will end up using words in the same dialect without doing much translation at the end of the day.


The translator must understand that languages are communication tools for conveying ideas and revealing meaning.

Qualities a good translator must have

When dealing with dialects vs. sub-dialects in translation, there are certain qualities a translator must have. Let’s review some of them.

Understand language as a communication system

The translator must understand that languages are communication tools for conveying ideas and revealing meaning. However, language is not definitive but only an umbrella term used to describe specific words. Understanding the relationship that words have with one another is important for a perfect translation job.

Understand the politics and culture between dialects and sub dialects

A good translator must understand the politics and culture behind the dialects and sub dialects he works on. A deep understanding of these factors will make them aware of appropriate and inappropriate words to use. Words considered social taboos when addressing a subject will be avoided so as not to offend the audience.

Must be a native speaker

For dialects vs. sub-dialects to be used properly in a text, the translator must be a native speaker of the translated language; that is the only way they can understand the first two points explained above. It is virtually impossible to do proper translation work if the translator has only an average understanding of the language. We will even go as far as to say that they must have above average understanding of the language in the translated text and an expert understanding of the language the text will be translated into.

Hire Circle Translations for proper dialects vs. sub-dialects use in translation

If you have text that requires translation to a closely related sub dialect, Circle Translations is the service provider you want to hire for the job. We have expert translators who are professional linguists in closely related languages. Our record speaks for itself, and all the clients we have worked for have come to trust the quality of our work. Reach out to us today and let us be of service to you.