For anyone working, living, or visiting the Dominican Republic, it is crucial to be able to communicate effectively with other people in the region.
While the primary language spoken in the Dominican Republic is Spanish, there are many regional dialects and language variants that must be accounted for within the country. Finding a translator who understands these dialects is crucial for achieving accurate and high-quality translations.
In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about finding the ideal translator to help you understand Dominican dialects more clearly.
What is a Dialect?
A dialect is a version of a language that has key differences from the standardized version that is specific to a geographical region or group of people.
One of the most popular examples of a dialect is the American Southern dialect, which is a derivative of the English language but contains many slang words and phrases seen almost exclusively within this dialect — such as y’all, over yonder, and the ever-famous phrase, “bless your heart.”
When it comes to why understanding dialects is important, the answer is communication.
Without a proper understanding of regional dialects, language professionals would only be able to translate and interpret words written or spoken in the most grammatically-correct, standardized version of a language. With a deep understanding of different dialects associated with a language, however, a language professional can take a more nuanced approach to maintain the original meaning of a text.
How Many Languages are Spoken in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is found in the Caribbean region, with Spanish as the official national language.
In the Dominican Republic, a variation of Spanish is spoken known as Dominican Spanish. This version of Spanish is seen widely not just in its home country but also in the diaspora of Dominican immigrants living along the U.S. east coast in New York City, New Jersey, Boston, Philadelphia, and Miami.
An estimated 90% of the Dominican Republic’s population is believed to speak and/or understand Spanish — both the standardized version and the Dominican Spanish dialect.
Aside from Spanish and Dominican Spanish, two additional languages are spoken natively in the country — Haitian Creole and Samana English. Haitian Creole is spoken as a first language by more than 160,000 people, while Samana English is a variant of the English language spoken by roughly 12,000 Dominicans.
The Dominican Republic has also undergone quite a bit of colonization throughout the centuries, leading to several foreign languages becoming prominent in the country as well. These include English, French, Chinese, Italian, and Japanese.
English and French are both mandatory and taught in schools in certain parts of the Dominican Republic.
How are Dominican Dialects Translated?
Translating a Dominican dialect can be tricky, as it can be an off-shoot of a more standardized language that does not account for certain regional differences in dialect. In terms of how Dominican dialects are translated, there are a few main options to choose from.
- Professional Translation Services: Professional translation services are almost always your best option when trying to translate a specific regional dialect. Unlike basic translation services or programs, a professional translation service can provide you with the target language fluency and regional dialect expertise needed to obtain a highly accurate translation. As such, professional translation services are recommended for all business-related translations.
- Smart Voice Portable Translators: Smart voice portable translators are often used by international travelers and students studying abroad to help them communicate in real time with locals. With this device, a recording device records a person’s voice in one language, converts that recording into text, translates the text to a second language, and then reads back the final translation in the target language selected.
- Online Translation Programs: Online translation programs are popular for super quick translations of single words or simple sentences. One of the most popular examples of an online translation program is Google Translate. Though these types of automated translators can offer great convenience, they do not offer the same accuracy that a professional translator can.
What is Language Localization & How Does it Relate to Dominican Dialects?
Language localization is a term used to describe the process of adjusting a translation to retain the meaning and cultural context of an original piece of text.
When performing a translation, there are several moving parts to consider. For instance, if a piece of text is written in a regional dialect, the word-for-word translation into a target language may not convey the same meaning, as certain slang words or phrases from the dialect may need different equivalent words in the target language.
Without paying careful attention to these kinds of details, a translation can end up distorted from its original meaning. To illustrate this, let’s imagine a translation is converting a Dominican Spanish document to English.
In this document — which is a business letter — the original writer includes a joke that uses keywords and phrases known to be used within a joking manner in the Dominican language. Yet, once translated to English, this joke loses some of its original meaning and ends up sounding like an insult.
A language localization expert’s job is to identify these types of details within a translation and adjust them in minor ways so that the translation is still accurate but better conveys original meaning and intent.
What to Look for in a Professional Language Translator
As mentioned, the best option for translating Dominican languages and dialects is through a partnership with a professional language translator. By working with a professional, you can achieve translations that are much more accurate and meaningful than anything a computer program could produce.
However, it is equally important to perform due diligence and research different professionals and companies before deciding on one. If you are going to pay for professional translation services, you want to be assured that the results you receive will be high quality.
Here are three key characteristics to look for in a professional language translator:
- Regional Specialities: Regional specialties refer to a translator’s specialized areas of expertise when it comes to regional dialects and language variances. Right off the bat, one of the first things to look for is a professional translator who promotes their ability to work in specific regional specialties, as this will ensure you find someone who understands the nuances of the Dominican dialect you are working with.
- Language Localization: As we have covered, language localization is incredibly important for conveying the right meaning through translation. When looking for a translation services professional, make sure to look for one who has experience with language localization and has taken the time to learn about the cultures whose languages they translate.
- Language Training: In many cases, a translator or the company they work for may offer language training solutions. These can be important to take advantage of, especially if you plan to continue working in international regions, as it will give your business team the strong foundational knowledge needed to increase their fluency in specific languages.
Final Thoughts: Partner with PGLS for Top-Class Language Solutions
At PGLS, our team is not only fluent in more than 200 languages and regional varieties, but we are also highly experienced in working in a wide range of industries and regions all over the world.
By working with PGLS, you can receive customer language solutions — including translation, interpretation, language training, and more — that meet the exact needs of your business and team. Whether you need to communicate with clients or ensure international business partnerships run smoothly, PGLS has you covered.
To get started with PGLS, contact our language services team today.