With English having relatively few inflection rules, many words in English have to do double-duty as both nouns and verbs, or nouns and adjectives. Take, for instance, the word “Pay“: Depending on the bigger context it can stand for a gentle order: “please pay now”, a choice in infinitive form: “you can chose to pay now or later”, or a noun: “receive your pay“. Unfortunately, we often see it just standing there all by its lonesome self in source materials to be localized.
When localizing to a language with slightly different inflection rules, like Danish, each of the above contexts of “Pay” calls for a different translation:
Pay (verb, order) ==> Betal
(to) Pay (verb, infinitive) ==> (at) Betale
(monthly) Pay (noun) ==> Løn
Payment (noun) ==> Betaling
I hope someone pays attention! -Which by the way would be total rubbish in most other languages, if translated literally.
In Danish we “are attentive” or “give attention”, but we don’t “pay attention”. 🙂