Tagalog dialects, dynamic vocabulary and idiomatic expressions

Knowledge of Tagalog dialects in the region is valuable in English to Tagalog translation. Tagalog translators in the Philippines will not be coming from one locality. When they speak, native Tagalog speakers will immediately give away their origins because of their different accents. In many areas, this accent or "punto" or "hayon" (lilt) affect the spelling of the words and also the verb aspects when they are affixed.

People in the Tagalog provinces will likely have a stock of words unknown to  Manila residents. Among these words, expressions from the South are sometimes labeled "deep Tagalog". In fact, translation reviewers give this general comment every time they can't understand the translation. But what is difficult for Manilenos (NCR) may be everyday words for Batanguenos (South Luzon), and terms understood by folks in Bataan, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija (Central Luzon) will probably be Greek to people in Quezon (Eastern Luzon).

The translator's home base. A translator based in Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Quezon, Cavite, Mindoro, or Palawan may refuse to compromise his or her "ear for Tagalog". Catering to a regional "ear-for-Tagalog" will affect diction or choice of words, grammar and syntax, and idiomatic expression. 

Tagalog dialect preferences sometimes weaken a translation, and sometimes strengthen it. Knowledge of dialects offers an advantage specially when back translating or editing the text.  

A grasp of Tagalog dialects may also help in compiling objective editing and back translation standards towards choosing, evaluating, and producing either a formal equivalence or a dynamic equivalence.

Tagalog Dialects in Literal Translation

Who among us have not consulted a dictionary when in translation? But often this is done only at the start. More crucial in our search for the nearest equivalent is our desire to capture the effect as originally intended, the pace or cadence, the register, depth or superficiality, and many others. Notwithstanding all efforts at capturing these nuances, English equivalents may still fail to interpret, say, nonchalant expressions such as ‘Wala lang’, ‘ganon?’ etc.  ‘Bahala ka,’ is always challenging to translate even when the closest intention in a particular context is presented.

Translation is always difficult because it isn't merely a problem of extracting the language DNA.  In dynamic translation, the intention is to make the target reader feel [‘maramdaman’ ] the text. Focusing on this feeling, some strands in the language's DNA will be lost. How far the translator will be able to avoid this depends on her skill and expertise in the use of that language. That's why it is often unrealistic to search for an exact equivalent. What is more realistic is to try something that will give the exact effect.  This is an effort toward crossing a meaning gap - from the imagination of the source to the text of the translator, and finally, in the target reader's interpretation.

As the target reader should perceive the text, this is how the translator should be able to intepret the source. The translator seeks help from her own context, experience and  origin in transfering an original meaning. More than the dictionary, these are her primary sources  so that any losses in some aspects of the source language must be expected and forgiven. The translator need not fear this, because where Tagalog dialects in literal translation becomes the best effort, target readers gain more when they peruse the text.