(Yes, Michoacana, you’re natural, but translating to English doesn’t come naturally)
P.O. Box 1335
Ceres, CA 95307
To Whom It May Concern:
I recently purchased a Michoacana ice cream bar, and upon reading the label, was surprised to find such a poor translation into English.
I decided to offer La Michoacana a pro bono translation of the label, in order to increase the marketability and professional image of your company.
The product was a premium ice cream bar of 4 fl oz, and happened to be strawberry flavored.
I will include the original text of your label, along with suggestions, and then I will include a translated version for your benefit.
The authenticity in which we produce our products with natural fruits has always been a tradition that La Michoacana has kept since it’s origen.
We envite you to discover and enjoy our line of ice cream, bolis, paletas.
The Flavor of La Michoacana is The Flavor of Mexico!
1) Information Flow
The flow of information differs greatly between English and Spanish. In Spanish, writing tends to be deductive, meaning that the details are explained first, which then explain the big picture. This is similar to the methods of Sherlock Holmes, who gathered together clues, which led him to the big picture. However, in English, we like to know the big picture first, and then hear about the details. In summary, English writing tends to explain things from macro to micro, whereas, Spanish writing tends to go from micro to macro.
Example: the main idea in your paragraph is to assert the Michoacana tradition of using real fruit. The tradition is the main idea. In the Spanish paragraph, there is a long sentence leading up to the mention of “tradition”. “La autenticidad en la elaboración de nuestros productos, hechos con frutos naturales, es la tradición que La Michoacana…”
Your translation mirrors this deductive method, which makes for an awkward sounding English translation. For an accurate translation, some rearrangement of the paragraph is necessary.
2) Dynamic Equivalence
a) “frutas naturales” – the bilingual dictionary says that natural means natural in Spanish, and frutas means fruit. However, the dynamic equivalence of the word “natural” in English is very different than its Spanish counterpart. In order to have the same effect in English, the use of the word “real” should be used to describe the fruit.
b) “Origen” – English has other words that carry the same meaning as the word “origin”. Origin may work in other circumstances, but is better adapted for scientific or informational purposes.
“Since we opened doors”, “From our small beginning in 1952”
From the very beginning, we have crafted our authentic Mexican helados with real fruit, a long-lasting tradition that continues to this day.
We invite you to savor and enjoy our wide variety of ice cream bars and frozen treats.
The Flavor of La Michoacana is the Flavor of Mèxico!