Translation Analysis of Yahoo! Terms and Conditions



Translation is defined as “the replacement of textual material in one language (Source Language) by equivalent textual material in another language (Target Language)” (Catford, 1965, p.20). The process of replacing here can be done with two approaches as proposed by Nida (1964): formal equivalence and dynamic equivalence. Formal equivalence refers to “..a formal orientation such that the message in the receptor language is to match as closely as possible the corresponding linguistic forms in the source language..” (House, 2009, p.12).

Furthermore, formal equivalence views that the message in the target language must match the difference parts in the source language which makes the standards of accuracy and correctness are determined (Nida, 1964). Therefore, formal equivalence is usually used in the text which needs to be carefully translated because the message is really significant. There is no single word or phrase can be replaced carelessly for it will change the message that the text is trying to convey.

However, finding the suitable equivalent for words or phrases often poses difficulties for the translators. This usually happens in technical terms since they are representing certain concepts. Jayantini (2011) noted that a translator rarely suggests new terms if the audience seems to be more familiar with the English terms. When a translator is faced with problems of non-equivalence, there are some strategies that can be used such as translation by a more general word, a more neutral word, cultural substitution, using loan word or loan word plus explanation, paraphrase using related or unrelated words, omission, and illustration (Baker, 2011).

This paper will analyze the translation of the terms and conditions of Yahoo!. As a company which provides internet service globally, Yahoo! ensures that all its customers all around the world are served equally. In this context, Yahoo! speaks to its customers in their language including in the terms and conditions which are the specific rules and specifications as a form of contract that customers need to agree. The data sources include both versions of the terms and conditions: an original (terms and conditions) and the translated version (ketentuan layanan).

Review of Literature

Formal Equivalence

Nida (1964) proposed two basic orientations in translating: formal equivalence and dynamic equivalence. The concept of formal equivalence is source-oriented which is designed to reveal as much as possible of the form and content of the original message. It is believed that formal equivalence is used when the translator is concerned that “..the message in the receptor language should match as closely as possible the different elements in the source language”. Formal equivalence tries to reproduce several formal elements including grammatical units, consistency in word usage, meanings in terms of the source contexts.

Non-equivalence at word level

It is often happened that the translator must face difficulties of non-equivalence at the word or phrase level while doing the translation job. When the target language has no direct equivalence for a word which occurs in the source text, it means that the problems of non-equivalence at word level just happened (Baker, 2011). Choosing the suitable equivalent relies on many factors which could be strictly linguistic or extra-linguistic.

According to Baker (2011), there are several types of non-equivalence at word level: culture-specific concepts, as found in the English word ‘Speaker’ which has no equivalence in Russian or Chinese and is often translated into ‘Chairman’; the SL concept is not lexicalized in the TL, as found in the English word ‘savoury’ which has no equivalent in many languages although the concept is easily understood; the SL word is semantically complex; the SL and TL make different distinctions in meaning, as found in Indonesian words ‘kehujanan’ and ‘hujan – hujanan’ cannot be similarly translated into ‘going out in the rain’; the TL lacks a superordinate; the TL lacks a specific terms, as it might be found while translating variety of hyponyms under house (bungalow, cottage, shack, hut); differences in physical or interpersonal perspective, just like Japanese language that has six equivalents for the word give which depends of who gives to whom; differences in expressive meaning; differences in form; differences in frequency and purpose of using specific forms; and the use of loan words in the source text.

Translation using loan word as strategy

To overcome the problem of non-equivalence at word level, professional translators using several strategies, one of them will be further discussed in this paper which is translation using loan word or loan word plus explanation. Baker (2011) described that “the strategy is particularly common in dealing with culture-specific items, modern concepts, and buzz words”. Furthermore, using loan word or loan word with explanation as strategy depends on the norms of translation apply in the societies.

Research Methodology

The procedures of collecting the data involved several steps. Firstly, the writer read the terms and condition, both the English and Indonesian version. Secondly, the writer classified the findings related to the topics (formal equivalence and non equivalence at the word level) and listed the evidence of the strategy of translation using loan word. The data was taken from the terms and conditions in Yahoo! Website.


To begin with, this paper will analyze the use of formal equivalence as an approach in translating the text. Nida defined that “formal equivalence attempts to reproduce several formal elements including: (1) grammatical units, (2) consistency in word usage, and (3) meanings in terms of the source context” (Venuti, 2000, p.161).

Table 1: Formal equivalence in the translation of Yahoo! Terms and conditions


Source Language

Target Language

Please be aware that Yahoo! has created certain areas on the Service that are restricted from general viewing and you must fulfill the specified conditions to access and views such areas

(Part 2: Description of Service, par.4)

Harap diperhatikan bahwa Yahoo! menyediakan wilayah tertentu dalam Layanan yang terlarang untuk akses umum dan Anda harus memenuhi syarat – syarat tertentu untuk mengakses dan melihat area – area tersebut

(Part 2: ‘Ketentuan Layanan’, par.4)

Yahoo! reserves the right at any time and from time to time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the Service (or any part thereof) with or without any notice.

(Part 13: Modifications to Service)

Yahoo! berhak setiap saat dan dari waktu ke waktu untuk mengubah atau menghentikan, untuk sementara atau seterusnya, Layanan (atau bagiannya) dengan atau tanpa pemberitahuan

(Part 13: ‘Perubahan Layanan)

You expressly understand and agree that: (a) Your use of the service is at your sole risk.


(Part 19: Disclaimer of Warranties, Par.1)

Anda secara tegas menyatakan paham dan sepakat bahwa: (a) Digunakannya layanan ini oleh anda menjadi risiko anda sendiri.

(Part 19: ‘Penolakan atas Jaminan – Jaminan, Par.1)

The translator chooses to use formal equivalence as found in the three evidences above. Consistent with what Nida (1964) identified of how formal equivalence attempts to do, in the translated (Indonesian) version of Yahoo! terms and conditions, we can see the translator replaces the words ‘areas’ with ‘area – area’, ‘warranties’ with ‘jaminan – jaminan’, and ‘conditions’ with ‘syarat – syarat’ to ensure that the grammatical units are kept to be similar, even though the message will still be alike if the translator uses one word only. There is also indication that the translator replaces word by word bound to the meaning, as we can see in the translating process of ‘..any time and from time to time..’ into ‘..setiap saat dan dari waktu ke waktu..’.

Since terms and conditions can be categorized as technical text, we can still find the problem of non-equivalence at word level here. Some of the problems can be seen in the words: ‘link’, ‘online’, ‘upload’, ‘download’, ‘object code’, ‘source code’, ‘reverse engineering’, ‘reverse assembly’, ‘security interest’, ‘junk mail’, ‘spam’, and ‘posting’. The problem of non-equivalence at word level here seems to match one of the types mentioned by Baker (2011) which is: the source language concept is not lexicalized in the target language. For example, the concept of the word ‘spam’ is quite easy to be understood as ‘all mails recognized by the mail service as suspicious because the sender is unknown or the receivers are too many’. Yet, we still do not have the most suitable of it in Bahasa Indonesia. On the other hand, it is quite interesting of why the translator keeps the words ‘online’ although nowadays people often use ‘daring’ to replace it. Same cases happen in the words ‘download’ instead of ‘unduh’, ‘upload’ instead of ‘unggah’, and ‘link’ instead of ‘tautan’. The most sensible reason I can think of here is that because the translator considers that people who read the terms and conditions or ketentuan layanan are already aware with all those terms.

In this case, to overcome the problems of non-equivalence at word level, the translator seems to use one of the strategies mentioned by Baker (2011) which is translation using a loan word.

Table 2: The application of translation strategy using a loan word


Phrases/ Sentences in Target Language

“..untuk menggunakan object code dari Perangkat Lunak di satu komputer; dengan syarat bahwa Anda tidak (dan tidak membiarkan pihak lain untuk) menyalin, mengubah, membuat tiruan, melakukan reverse engineering, melakukan reverse assembly, atau mencoba mencari source code, menjual, mengalihkan kepada, memberikan lisensi kepada pihak lain, memberikan security interest..” (Ketentuan Layanan, No.18 : Hak milik Yahoo!)
“..meng-upload, memasang, mengirimkan lewat email, mengirimkan atau menyediakan segala bentuk iklan, materi promosi, “junk mail”, “spam”..”

(Ketentuan Layanan, No.6: Tanggung jawab anggota, part g)

“..berapa ukuran maksimum ruang (disk space)..”

(Ketentuan Layanan, No.13: Ketentuan umum berkaitan dengan penggunaan dan penyimpanan)

Examples shown above clearly indicates the use of loan word or loan word with explanation. In the first and second examples, the translator applies the strategy of using loan word in translating. Keeping the buzz words and using them as ‘loan words’ may give two consequences: the message is kept original, therefore there will be less misconception, or average readers will find it difficult to understand the message. Unlike the first two examples, the third sample indicates the application of translation using loan word with explanation (berapa ukuran maksimum ruang) to ensure that the readers comprehend of what ‘disk space’ means.

To summarize, the translation analysis of Yahoo! terms and conditions shows the use of formal equivalence approach by the translator to make the message contained is fully understood by Yahoo! customers. Yet, there are many specific terms in the source language that do not have the most suitable equivalent in Bahasa Indonesia, thus, creates the problem of non-equivalence at word level. To keep the message original and avoid confusion, the translator chooses to apply the strategy of translation using loan word or loan word with explanation.


Having known the importance of Yahoo! Customers to fully understand the message in the terms and conditions or ketentuan layanan is closely the reason of why the translator uses formal equivalence. However, there are several technical terms that cause the problem of non-equivalence at word level because the source-language concept is not lexicalized in the target language. In order to cope with the problems, the translator of Yahoo! terms and conditions deals applied the translation strategy using loan word.


Baker, Mona. (2011). In other words: a coursebook on translation. New York: Routledge

Catford, J.C. (1965). A linguistic theory of translation. London:Oxford University Press

House, Juliane. (2009). Translation. UK: Oxford University Press

Jayantini, I Gusti Agung Sri Rwa. (2011). Domestication and foreignization in English-Indonesian technical translation: Are they worth disputing?. TransCon 2011, 32-39

Nida, Eugene. (2011). Principles of correspondence. In Lawrence Venuti (Ed.), The translation studies reader (pp. 153-167). New York: Routledge

Yahoo! Indonesia. (2010). Ketentuan layanan. Retrieved from: http://info.Yahoo!.com/legal/id/Yahoo!/utos/

Yahoo! Indonesia. (2010). Terms of Service. Retrieved from: http://info.Yahoo!.com/legal/ide/Yahoo!/utos/details.html


Pasal 72 UU No. 19 Tahun 2002 bahwa barangsiapa yang melakukan tindakan plagiarisme alias penjiplakan karya cipta seseorang tanpa seizin sang pencipta atau tidak menyantumkan sumber asli dari karya yang dijiplak, akan dikenakan denda dengan biaya paling sedikit Rp 1.000.000.- (satu juta rupiah) sampai Rp 1.500.000.000,- (satu miliar lima ratus rupiah) atau dipenjara dengan hukuman paling minimal satu bulan dan paling berat dengan kurungan 5 tahun penjara.




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