Return to front page!

One-time fee web hosting!

Back to replies by Philip Coen (alias Hoang Ba Cong)

Ðọc "Bàitrảlời của Philip Coen" 

Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 03:57:13 EDT
Subject: Philip Coen


Minh Hồ 

Firstly, I thank you, the Editor, for your generosity in providing visitors a forum on vny2k through which they can freely exchange ideas. Secondly, I thank Philip Cohen for spending some time to discuss the questions I raised in my previous email. Now, I would like express some thought that crossed my mind whilst reading his discussion.

1. Fiscal Policy

1.1 Philip's question "Is the usage Australian or American?" is not relevant because "fiscal policy" is a generic term for a macroeconomic policy that involves government spending and tax collections for the purpose of achieving reasonably full employment and non-inflationary economic growth. The aim of these revenue collections and spending programs is to control the level of demand in the economy, and "chínhsách thuế" is, therefore, only one arm of a fiscal policy. On a practical level, a budget provides the framework for the conduct of the fiscal policy adopted by the central government of a country - it does not matter whether that country is Australia or the US - and shows the government's revenue sources and areas of spending in a particular year. On the revenue side there are (i) direct taxation e.g. personal income tax, company tax; (ii) indirect taxation e.g. sale tax, excise duties, etc.; and (iii) non-tax revenue such as sales of public-owned assets, etc. On the spending side there are education, health, defence, social security payments, payments to state governments, etc.

Due to the specialised nature of the term "fiscal policy", which is unlike general English terms, its meaning does not change when its context changes. It is thus unnecessary that the term "fiscal policy" must be seen in the context in which it is used before a decision can be made as to whether it should be translated into Vietnamese as "chínhsách thuế" or not.

1.2 Philip wrote: "Minh appears to be mistaken about the true responsibilities of the Australian

Department of Treasury and Department of Finance and Administration (DOFA) and their various "agencies" but did not say what the true responsibilities of these departments and their various agencies were in terms of "fiscal policy" and "budget".

As far as I know, the Australian Department of Treasury advises, amongst other things, the Australian government, headed by the Australian Prime Minister, on the formulation and implementation of effective macroeconomic policy, including fiscal policy. In particular, Treasury advises on the budget and taxation policies. In addition, the preparation of budget involves several phrases during which the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Minister for Finance and Administration meet in advance every year to establish "the big picture": priorities and strategy for the next financial year. Subsequently, agencies within departments prepare budget submissions detailing new funding requirements based upon the outcome of the meeting. Then these submissions are to be provided to the Department of Finance for agreement of the costing so that the budget can be finalised - which is logical because Finance also advises on accounting policies and prepares financial reports for all government departments.

It is therefore not incorrect to state that 'the Australian Treasury Department is the government body responsible for formulating fiscal policy and the resulting annual government budgets'. By the way, the fact that it is nobody else but the Treasurer who traditionally hands down the annual budget speaks volume about the scope of responsibilities of the Department of Treasurỵ

1.3 From the discussion above, it should be clear that the Australian Department of Treasury and Department of Finance and Administration each has different, but related, responsibilities. The former, however, plays a more strategic role than the latter in the Australian economỵ But that is a side issue. Another side issue - since it has been raised by Philip - is how the terms "Department of Treasury" and "Department of Finance" and their derivatives such as "Treasurer" and "Minister of Finance" should be translated into Vietnamese. The situation is obviously more complicated than what Philip seemed to have thought as he put it: "The older Vietnamese translation of the title of the US 'Department of Treasury' was Bộ TàiChính, then in the late 1970's the 'word-for-word' translators appeared and changed it to Bộ NgânKhố. The original translated the idea and function contained in the title, the latter translated the title only".

The situation is even much more complicated if government departments at the state levels are taken into consideration. For example, there is the Department of Treasury and Finance in the State of Victoria, but there is the Department of Treasury in the State of New South Wales. On the other hand, there is the Department of Finance in, say, California State in addition to the Treasurer's Office (a title equal to "Department of Treasury").

1.4 Philip wrote: "in the US they use the term 'fiscal year' for 'financial year' and their journalists often just use the term 'fiscal' as in fiscal 99 meaning the financial year ending in 1999". In fact, when "fiscal" collocates with "year" the whole phrase means "financial year" (an accounting period of twelve months) and this meaning is universal throughout the English-speaking part of the world - not just in the US, but also in Australia, the UK, etc. you name it! But that is the one and only exception. On all other occasions, "fiscal" does not mean "financial" or anything for that matter but "connected with public money" when it collocates with, for examples, "policies", or "measures", or "reforms", "stability", etc.

2. The Dilemma

Philip is correct when he though "a $350 000 dilemma" is a piece of journalistic cant. The phrase was quoted from a text (of about 250 words) which had been taken out from a newspaper. It is impossible to reproduce the text because it was part of an examination paper on translation that had to be handed back to the examiner. However, it should not be the case that because '$350 000' does not collocate with 'dilemma' in English then 'tiếnthoái lưỡngnan' can collocate with 'trịgiá' in Vietnamese. 'Tiếnthoái lưỡngnan' does not collocate with 'trịgiá' because it just happens to be that way - has anyone ever heard or read such Vietnamese phrases as: "Ông X lâmvào cảnh tiếnthoáilưỡng nan trịgiá $350,000", or "Bà Y lâmvào thế tiếnthoáilưỡngnan vìtrịgiá $350,000"?

Without the need to refer to the context in which the phrase "a dilemma $âŨỠâŨƠ" is used, one can turn it into a "one-size-fits-all" paraphrase: "(người) lâmvào cảnh tiếnthoáilưỡng nan vì không biết có nên (hành động) (tài sản) trịgiá ($âŨỢ) hay không", then the rest is just a simple "fill in the space" exercise: "Ông X lâmvào cảnh tiếnthoáilưỡng nan vì không biết có nên mua căn nhà trịgiá 350,000 ngàn đô-la hay không" , or "Bà Y lâmvào thế tiếnthoáilưỡngnan vi không biết có nên bán lại căn nhà trịgiá 350,000 ngàn đô-la hay không", etc.


Minh Ho



 To  "Thử Ðitìm Cáitươngđương Trong Phiêndịch" by Frank Trinh

Ýkiến bạnđọc về bàiviết 
"Ðitìm Cáitươngdương Trong Phiêndịch" của Trịnh Nhật:



Ðọcthêm ýkiến của Minh Hồ về 
Vietnamese translation in Australia: 
A missing link
của Frank Trịnh

Diễnđàn TiếngViệt
Ýkiến? Phêbình? Vàođây 




This website advocates the use of Vietnamese2020 and Vietnamese Unicode for a better way to  process Vietnamese information.
Sứmạng chính của trangnhà VNY2K.COM là cổvõ cáchviết mới Việtngữ2020 và tiêuchuẩn Vietnamese Unicode vì đó là conđường hiệnđạihoá tiếngViệt. | | | |

For comments or questions, please send an email to
Copyright © 1999-2005