So I was at an IT show recently — no need to mention who it was or which vendor I was speaking to as it’s “symposium season” and invites to conference centres are abundant just now — but a communications person from a country famous for sausages, beer and oompah bands suggested the following statement…
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“Well, of course, ON DEMAND does not really translate.”
What she meant was that there is no German term for on demand, which I can well understand. It is, after all, a very Americanised IT term that we might imagine being used “intact” in the original English, once in use by a German speaker.
Unsurprisingly, I used this experience to spend a happy 15 minutes on Yahoo! Babel Fish seeing what comes up when you try and translate ON DEMAND into various languages.
German – Bedarfs (I have no idea)
Italian – a richiesta (seems to make sense, sounds like “request”)
Spanish – a pedido
Russian – по требованию
French – sur demande (surely this is OK?)
Dutch – op bestelling
Korean – 주문으로
Japanese – 請求あり次第
Enough already right? I’m sure most of the above don’t translate properly. But it’s fun to investigate. The subject of IT-related English words pervading into other languages as a whole is another subject (I hope) for another day.