THE IMPORTANCE OF TAGALOG TRANSLATION
There are reasons that make the Philippines an ideal place for global businesses. The long beaches keep tourism strong, the cheap laborers who are very fluent in English, the attractive tax policies. The nation has been trading partners with the biggest players such as the USA and China. Although most Filipinos can communicate well in English, it’s still an essential step to translate and localize all your material in order for your customers to feel related.
There’s a fact that Filipino is the official language of the Philippines, not Tagalog. But it doesn’t mean these two are much different. In short, Tagalog is the foundation of Filipino and Filipino is the evolution of Tagalog. It is estimated that about 80-90% of Filipinos is Tagalog and the rest is collected from Spanish, English, and other local languages.
If you start thinking about choosing Filipino over Tagalog, think again! According to the locals, Tagalog is considered more profound and deep, so it is often used in formal documents, whereas Filipino appears to be a conversational language which is more natural and modern.
One strange but interesting thing about Tagalog is that in the form of Filipino, it is recognized by the state and as Tagalog, it performs as a regional language. These differences are not easy to spot for outsiders, and are likely to cause problems for foreign businesses. That’s why you need native translators, they are better equipped to translate a tongue and not non-native speakers who have not known a language since their birth.
3 problems when translating Tagalog
Although Tagalog has three genders, pronouns are not gender-assigned. The pronoun “siya” means “that person”, which totally excludes the meaning of gender unlike the “his”, “her” in English.
In terms of nouns, there are only some borrowed from Spanish that are marked for gender. For instance, amigo (masculine) – amiga (feminine).
Taglish is the “child” of Tagalog and English language parents. English is one of the official languages in the Philippines and even more popular in the younger generations or urban citizens. Taglish is mainly communicated in the capital but it is easy for other Filipnos to understand.
Elderly people and teachers may dislike Taglish, but if your target audiences are from Gen Y and Z, Taglish can give your brand a more modern and trendy vibe. Still, it is not standardized, so it’s hard to really distinguish the “true Taglish”. In order to deliver a trendy yet natural translation, the professionals must always keep up with local social media trends.
This is an example:
Tagalog: Kumain tayo sa Wendy’s.
English: Let’s eat at Wendy’s.
Taglish: Eat tayo sa Wendy’s.
In Tagalog, there are a huge amount of words that don’t have a direct translation. These are a few examples:
“Basta”: the word means you don’t feel like being asked about the reasons since you may not know what they are or you just can’t tell clearly or simply because you don’t want the others to know.
“Naman”: if you want to say something important but are afraid to sound too bossy, then add “naman” to soften it. Another usage is adding it right after “when”, “why”, “what”, “where” to make your question more subtle.
Tagalog is not an easy language to translate, not to mention its fast-growing vocabulary and new usages. An in-depth understanding of local culture, as well as the language, is required for successful Tagalog translators.
If you need to translate into Tagalog, give us a call today!