How to translate On-network and Off-network in Vietnamese


After many years of development, the mobile telecommunications network in our country has penetrated deeply into people’s lives, making the terms in this field become too familiar. But as in photography, everything can take on a new look when viewed from a different point of view, this article will use the lens of translation to explore a different side of these terms in a multilingual context. In particular, in this article we’ll only discuss how to translate two terms: On-network and Off-network.

Differentiate between On-network and Off-network

To put it simply, On-network and Off-network are two methods for calling or sending messages:

  • We use ‘On-network’ when making calls or sending messages among service users of the same telecommunications network.
  • We use ‘Off-network’ when making or receiving calls among service users of different telecommunications networks, or when calls are related to oversea telecommunications service users.

In Vietnamese, On-network means ‘Nội mạng’, which is made up of ‘nội’ and ‘mạng’. Similarly, Off-network means ‘Ngoại mạng’, which is made up of ‘ngoại’ and ‘mạng’.

‘Mạng’ means network, refering to the telecommunications network, which is basically a collection of telecommunications equipment linked together by transmission lines for the provision of telecommunications services and telecommunications application services.

‘Ngoại’ shares the same meaning as in ‘ngoại tuyến’ (offline) in Internet connection, but the same does not apply for the word ‘Nội’ in ‘Nội mạng’. The ‘On’ in ‘On-network’ is different from the ‘On’ in ‘Online’ (Trực tuyến). That is because there are many carriers operating several telecommunications networks, leading to a ununiform connection system unlike the Internet. ‘Trực’ means ‘within’, which is the same as ‘nội’, and it also means ‘available’. Upon connecting to the Internet, we are ‘available’ or ‘online’, but upon connecting to a certain telecommunications network with other service users, we are on the same network as them.

Differentiate between On-network and Local

It is also necessary to differentiate between on-network services and local services. Pursuant to Circular No. 05/2012/TT-BTTTT of the Ministry of Information and Communications, ‘The local services means services which sending, transmitting, receiving and processing information among land immobile telecommunications service users in the same scope of a central-affiliated city or province’.

In other words, the difference between local and on-network lies in the scope of services. The scope of local services is limited to five central-affiliated cities or provinces including: Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho, instead of being limited within the network. Other areas, instead of off-network, will be intra-provincial and inter-provincial.