How to cope with the difficulties of translating job titles?

There may be subtleties in the work of translators, which only high-class professionals can deal with. Such an example is reasonably considered to be the translation of the title of the position. Agree, it is not so easy to figure out many options when everything is decided depending on the organizational structure. The main secret is the following:

  • In different jurisdictions;
  • In organizational and legal forms;
  • In the culture and other features of the desired country.

We should not forget about the lack of uniform standardization of the names of private companies. Here everyone is guided solely by their own opinion. Ideas about the structure and name of the organization completely depend on the discretion of the owner and the board of directors. If it seems to them that it is this name that best describes the functionality of a particular position, then it is useless to argue with this.

As for English-speaking countries, most often the organizational structure of small companies looks like this:

  • Director General - CEO;
  • Head of Department - Director or Vice President (VP);
  • Manager - Regular employees (supervisors, specialists, representatives, associates, clerks).

In any case, a translation specialist needs to be extremely attentive to differences in the hierarchy and analogies in the title of positions.

What to choose: General Director or CEO

If it concerns a large international firm or an American company, then the most accurate translation of the name of the General Director will be Chief Executive Officer (CEO). A suitable analogue for the UK is considered to be Managing Director. For countries such as Spain, etc., it is preferable Director General. The most adequate option for companies in Russia is considered to be the General Director.

About the translation of names for other directors

Addiction to high-profile job titles is precisely considered the reason for the fact that, along with the general director, purchasing directors, their sales colleagues, etc., carry out activities in companies. In relation to this category of managers, the term Director is considered quite appropriate. Moreover, even in the USA, an alternative to such a translation may be Vice President or Branch Manager, but in most English-speaking countries, Director will be as close as possible in value.

If it is necessary to translate in accordance with the American version of the English language, it is necessary to remember the following:

  1. In reputable companies, the structure of which, along with departments, includes some divisions, their managers are usually called Director or Vice President.
  2. Name of the Branch Director - Branch Manager;
  3. In accordance with the direction of activity, the size of the company and at the discretion of the owner, you can give preference to any name from Team Lead to VP.

About the translation of the names "head", "chief" and "manager"

There is no need to argue about the relationship between these terms. Moreover, since it concerns departments and divisions of a certain company, the Manager will be the best translation option. However, taking into account the specifics of the context, it is necessary to immediately decide which names will be more acceptable:

  • Head;
  • Direсtor;
  • Manager;
  • Leader.

Moreover, in some references, the Head may have the value of the Director of the company. In this case, it is worth choosing the term Company Director.

How to translate "Deputy Director"

Almost always translators choose between the designations "Deputy" or "Vice". However, it is possible to understand such subtleties only by specifying the exact meaning of each of the words. Exactly:

  • Translation Deputy X is the name of one of the many employees appointed by the official special X in order to transfer a number of their own powers.
  • Name Vice X indicates an employee elected by the Board of Directors, who will be considered the second person in the company, but with a certain list of responsibilities.

It will not be a mistake to define this with the word Deputy added to the position of Director.

What you should know about the translation of IO and VRIO

Since acting employees can work alongside deputies, the translator has to choose between such options:

  • Interim;
  • Acting.

If we talk about Interim X, then the case concerns an employee of the same rank as X himself, who is entrusted with filling the position of the vacated predecessor. Moreover, Interim X is an employee specially hired to fill a position, who can subsequently apply for this job permanently.

Under the term Acting X means an employee with a lower status compared to X. The replacement of the position applies to the time of X's vacation, his stay on a business trip or on sick leave. It provides for obtaining only the most necessary powers.

Despite the opinion about the possibility of unambiguous comparison of Russian terms with English analogues, it would be a mistake to translate IO as Acting, and VRIO as an Interim. The reason for this is the need to clarify the clear difference between words. The difficulty is that the concepts of IO and VRIO are not registered even on websites specializing in personnel and legal issues, and it is almost impossible to find an unambiguous interpretation.

The reason for such confusion is different information about the names for employees who combine or hold a position with a full transition to it. It will be more correct to focus on acting or interim. However, it should be noted in advance that most often translators give preference to the word acting.

Moreover, when you have to think about the term manager, then do not rush to rejoice at the presence of a direct equivalent in English. It's not that simple. Usually the definition of Manager is used in relation to a junior manager. Moreover, if in the Russian version everything is determined by the expression top manager, then in English there may be misunderstandings.

As for the leadership of a higher rank, the acceptable name is considered -Vice President, Director, Head of Department.

The English version of clerk or associate almost always corresponds to the term "manager", which defines even those employees of intellectual labour who have nothing to do with heads. The main attention should be paid to the job description. Clarification about management functions can be made only by looking at the resume or by asking a direct question to the client.

The confusion in this topic is indicated by the example of sales departments of Russian companies, in which the name of each employee sounds like a sales manager. Hence the conclusion: when starting the translation, it is necessary to shed clarity in advance whether this employee has subordinates or not. In the second variant, the translation the sales representative will be correct. If there are subordinates, you should prefer sales manager.

Specialist, employee or professional

The main thing is to take into account the specifics of the context. Quite often, these positions are translated as specialist or professional. However, in some cases, it is considered best to stop at the terms officer or controller. This usually happens when it comes to employees focused on processing and issuing documents. For example, an employee of the HR department is translated as an HR officer.

The most correct thing in some situations is to replace the difficult word with an indication of the type of activity. This is exactly the case with Data Analyst is a specialist in data analytics.

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