pivot language

velisarius

Senior Member
British English (Sussex)
A pivot language, sometimes also called a bridge language, is an artificial or natural language used as an intermediary language for translation between many different languages – to translate between any pair of languages A and B, one translates A to the pivot language P, then from P to B.

Pivot language - Wikipedia

I came across the term in an article about the EU languages and translation. I haven't found it in dictionaries.
The meaning isn't transparent.
 
  • jessiekim

    Member
    Korean-Korea
    I happen to know about this term. In an international forums, there could be many participants who are speaking different languages.
    Let me take an example. The speaker is Japanese, and the main audience speaks English. Then, there are some portion of people who only understands Chinese and Japanese. Then there going to be a Japanese- English interpreter who translate the speech into a pivot language( In this case, English) and then there are other translators in separate booths talking in Chinese. So the audience can choose the channel of the language they prefer.
     

    anahiseri

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain) and German (Germany)
    A pivot language is often used when translating written texts from a language you can't find many good translators for. For example, in Spain there are few Russian translators, that's why some novels by Tolstoy have been translated into Spanish from the French version; in this case, French is the pivot.
    Another typical situation: You are in Indonesia, in a small village, and want to communicate with the native people. They speak no English, and not even Bahasa Indonesia. So you speak to your guide in English; he speaks in Bahasa Indonesia to a local guide, who translates into Dani or Javanese or whatever.
     

    Şafak

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Another typical situation: You are in Indonesia, in a small village, and want to communicate with the native people. They speak no English, and not even Bahasa Indonesia. So you speak to your guide in English; he speaks in Bahasa Indonesia to a local guide, who translates into Dani or Javanese or whatever.

    I'm sorry but in this situation what language is the pivot?
     

    anahiseri

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain) and German (Germany)
    in this situation the pivot is Bahasa Indonesia. The pivot is the language "in the middle"

    English -- Bahasa Indonesia - local language

    My guide interprets English - Bahasa Indonesia
    the local guide interprets Bahasa Indonesia - regional language.
     

    Şafak

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you very much. I see what it means then. In this case, just out of sheer curiosity, isn't the term "lingua franca" applicable? I think it means the same. o_O
     

    anahiseri

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain) and German (Germany)
    no, it's not the same. Any language can be a pivot, it depends on tthe situation.

    "lingua franca" is a language that is spoken by many people as a second (or third!) language, so it helps to communicate between people who have different native languges. It can work as a pivot, of course;
    but very often the people speak in this language without a pivot.
    In the 18th century Latin was still a kind of lingua franca for science; science books were written in Latin., for example by Newton.
    Today the lingua franca for most people is English
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I haven't found it in dictionaries.
    It’s translation/interpreting jargon. I wouldn’t expect to find it in a dictionary.

    By the way, I’ve always heard “pivot” in this context pronounced “pee-voe,” based on the French pronunciation. The native English equivalent is “relay language.”
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I mentioned that I haven't found it in dictionaries because that's what we are supposed to do when we start a Dictionary Additions thread. This is a language forum: translation jargon interests a lot of people.

    To contribute a suggestion, start a new thread in this forum with the term in the thread title line. Then add:
    1. Your own definition for the term,
    2. An example showing it in use.
    3. The URL or link to a place where you have seen it used.
    4. Any other information that you think is relevant for a dictionary entry: for example, an explanation of the derivation of the term.
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    General, non-specialized dictionaries do not typically include jargon. There are dozens of other translation/interpreting terms that I’m sure are not in the dictionary: “foreignization,” “domestication,” “transcreation,” “décalage,” “split attention,” “shadowing,” “compensation,” “dynamic equivalence,” “functional equivalence,” to name a few off the top of my head.

    This forum’s users are of course interested in finding and supplying translations (among other things), but I’m sure the vast majority are not particularly interested in translation/interpreting as an academic field or profession. Only a small fraction of people who go to the doctor are interested in medicine as an academic field or profession.
     

    Şafak

    Senior Member
    Russian
    General, non-specialized dictionaries do not typically include jargon. There are dozens of other translation/interpreting terms that I’m sure are not in the dictionary: “foreignization,” “domestication,” “transcreation,” “décalage,” “split attention,” “shadowing,” “compensation,” “dynamic equivalence,” “functional equivalence,” to name a few off the top of my head.

    This forum’s users are of course interested in finding and supplying translations (among other things), but I’m sure the vast majority are not particularly interested in translation/interpreting as an academic field or profession. Only a small fraction of people who go to the doctor are interested in medicine as an academic field or profession.
    In this case, I think it might be reasonable to start an academic dictionary (along with all other dictionaries the website provides) that will contain professional terms and jargon.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    So what is your point, elroy? Are you really saying that this thread has no place in Dictionary Additions? You're a moderator, so if that's what you think you are welcome to delete the thread.
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Oh, I wasn’t posting as a moderator. I’m not involved in deciding what does or doesn’t get added to the dictionary.

    I was only making the point, as an ordinary forero, that I’m not surprised the term isn’t in the dictionary and that adding it would in my view constitute a departure from what is normally done / what I would expect.
     
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