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I'm translating a statement for an iPad application, how should I translate the word "pad" in this context?

"Are you sure you want to clear the pad? This cannot be undone."

I have:

"¿Estás seguro de que desea borrar el [pad]? Esto no puede estar deshecho."

Also, would "despejar" be better in place of "borrar," to mean returning the app to it's default state, "clearing" any changes that have been made?

  • Posted Apr 22, 2010
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5 Answers

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Oh dear! The problems of translation don't go away. You can't translate this sort of stuff by replacing word for word. If you do it will sound just like a translation and make little or no sense to the (in this case) Spanish speaking reader.

Let's try for the sense behind the words.

"Clear the pad" appears to mean "remove whatever is shown on the screen" but probably doesn't: I don't have or use an iPad. So you can choose between "borrar lo que se ve en la pantalla" (clear the screen) or "volver a la pantalla de defecto" (return to default/home).

"This cannot be undone" is maybe easier. Let's go for "no se puede desechar esta operacion" which is, at least, a Spanish-sounding construction; "no puede estar desecho" is near to nonsense as well as ungrammatical.

Can this be smoothed out? Well if there is already a body of usage for iPad terminology, it might be OK to "borrar el iPad" or something like it but you still need to decide if "clear it" is really what you mean or should it be "reformat" as Gekkosan says.

  • Good answer, Geof. "this cannot be undone" is easy, because there is a standard translation for that. "Esta operación no se puede deshacer" - Gekkosan Apr 22, 2010 flag
  • As far as the "pad" thing goes, I suspect it might be moot. As far as I can see, Apple only refers to the product as "The iPad", never "The Pad" . So the user does whatever " a su iPad". - Gekkosan Apr 22, 2010 flag
  • Aha, I thought as much, but then I looked at some other examples of applications and they seemed to take a more impersonal tone. Would you say in all cases where in English the action is the subject (THIS cannot be undone), you would use impersonal se? - adamfisherco Apr 22, 2010 flag
  • Also, I'm not writing the English, I would have said iPad there as well, I may just go for that in the translation anyway. - adamfisherco Apr 22, 2010 flag
  • Question 1, I'd say generally speaking, yes. And yes, if I guessed correctly, then your only safe option is to always refer to the product by it's trademark name. - Gekkosan Apr 22, 2010 flag
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I'm not 100% sure, but my guess for 'pad' would be el bloc because that's how you say 'pad' as in 'writing pad,' which is el bloc de notas.

  • Thanks, any idea on despejar vs. borrar? - adamfisherco Apr 22, 2010 flag
  • I don't know. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful. - MacFadden Apr 22, 2010 flag
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When you say "clear the pad" do you mean erase all contents as in "reformat", or do you mean clear the screeN?

  • I don't know how much I'm allowed to say about the application, but it would be analogous to reverting to a blank document without saving. - adamfisherco Apr 22, 2010 flag
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Ok, then you have a couple of options. To me, the safest is to say "borrar la pantalla", as in "clear the screen".

If we're talking about some sort of notepad - word processing application, then McFadden's suggestion of "block" for "pad" is the best. The thing is, you would have be ensure that you are consistent with that description throughout your translation.

If the application's analogy permits it, you can also say "borrar or eliminar la hoja", or "borrar la página", as in "erase or discard the (pad's) sheet" or "erase the page". Again, consistency would be most important.

In my opinion, you should only use the term "pad /bloc" if it refers to the application, and not the device. The device should always be "the iPad" / "el iPad".

  • Right. I figured 'pad' was referring to the program, which I assumed was functioning like a notepad. The name of the device definitely shouldn't be translated. - MacFadden Apr 23, 2010 flag
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How about un tablet PC con pantalla táctil? The name iPad, just like iPhone, a proper name and you can´t translate it.

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