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would you translate titles of art works?
Thread poster: Susana Galilea
Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 29, 2003

Hello all,

I am translating a press release for an art gallery in NYC, and I wish to verify whether it is customary to translate the titles of art works. I am tempted to leave them in English, since the titles are quite tongue-in-cheeky and rely heavily on wordplay. The translation would be for the Spanish-speaking community in the U.S., so chances are most people would understand the English anyway.

Any feedback will be much appreciated.

Thanks much,

Susana Galilea
Accredited Translator, EUTI
sgalilea@ispwest.com
www.accentonspanish.com


[Edited at 2003-10-31 21:53]


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Lucy Phillips  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
if possible, yes Aug 29, 2003

Hi Susana

I do a lot of translations that involve titles of novels, soap operas, songs etc for a specialised audience, many of whom probably understand the original. However, I always try to provide an English translation, bracketed in the context which I work in. I think it's helpful to do so and if you can find a tongue in cheeky way to do so in Spanish, so much the better! I think you can't assume that all your audience has your sophisticated knowledge of English, otherwise why translate at all?

In terms of standard practice, I have a catalogue for an exhibition of art from Argentina held in the Uk and the titles are translated (without the Spanish originals). This would have been for a mostly monolingual audience presumably. So in your case the English title with a creative Spanish translation below would seem like a good solution.

best of luck!


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xxxCHENOUMI  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
Yes, I would. Aug 29, 2003

Hello Susana,

Yes, I would, depending on the source language and the target public.

An alternative solution would be to keep the original title and put an approximate translation in parentheses.

Happy translations and Have a nice weekend.:)

andra


[Edited at 2003-08-30 00:59]


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:21
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Agree Aug 29, 2003

I agree with the above. Leave it in English and add an approximate translation in parentheses.

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Andrea Ali  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 13:21
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Hi, Susana! Aug 30, 2003

In my case, I asked the painter (who also speaks English) and she preferred to leave the titles in Spanish, regardless of the audience.
I suggested writing the English equivalent in brackets, but she declined the idea...

Regards,
Andrea


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
you make a good point, Lucy Aug 30, 2003

Lucy Phillips wrote:
I think you can't assume that all your audience has your sophisticated knowledge of English, otherwise why translate at all?


Oh, I agree with you completely. I was referring to an audience of art gallery-goers in New York City, which is a very specific demographics. To be quite honest, mostly I am looking for a good excuse not to translate these titles, but it seems I may not be able to get away with it

Andrea, I wish I could ask the artist. She was a dear friend of mine who passed away a couple of years ago, hence the retrospective. I am actually trying to decide what she would have wanted me to do about this. Knowing her, chances are she would have enjoyed my stepping up to the challenge...

Thanks for all your thoughts and advice

S.G.

[Edited at 2003-10-31 21:53]


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Jean-Luc Dumont  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:21
English to French
+ ...
Translated but... Sep 1, 2003

Hi Susana

Titles of masterpieces have been translated in every museum where they are exhibited.
La Joconde is Mona Lisa... Van Gogh or Gauguin's paintings names are translated as well in most museums...

If the artist is or is not a foreigner and gave a name to his painting or statue in a foreign language, I actually like to see the title in both languages. The original name in Spanish/Italian/Russian (etc.) and between parenthesis the translation in the language of the country where the piece is presented, here English then. I think it adds to the mood and understanding of painting and painter... gives it an "exotic" touch and respect the "original-ity"... of the artist's inspiration in her/his environment.

JL

Ex:
Champ d'oliviers (Olive Grove) even if not necessary to understand painting but even more so if it helps understand it.

Quand te maries-tu ? (When Will You Marry?)


When Gauguin gives a Tahitian title to one of his paintings, I like to see the title in both languages: the original Tahitian name and one I understand...

Te nave nave fenua (Terre délicieuse), Manao tupapau (L'esprit des morts veille) et Arearea (Amusements).





[Edited at 2003-09-01 01:15]

[Edited at 2003-09-01 01:17]


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I would definitely leave the original title Sep 1, 2003

JLDSF wrote:
If the artist is or is not a foreigner and gave a name to his painting or statue in a foreign language, I actually like to see the title in both languages. The original name in Spanish/Italian/Russian (etc.) and between parenthesis the translation in the language of the country where the piece is presented, here English then. I think it adds to the mood and understanding of painting and painter... gives it an "exotic" touch and respect the "original-ity"... of the artist's inspiration in her/his environment.



Oh, absolutely, I would be leaving the original title and adding a translation in parentheses.

The artist, my dear departed friend, was Dutch but lived in the U.S. so the titles are in non-native English and I would be translating them for a Spanish-speaking audience in the U.S. Colorful right there!

My friend worked in the realm of "Found Art", pretty much making art out of everyday objects, and allowing the viewer's associations to run freely. And the titles borrow just as freely from language!

Well...there's always Kudoz

S.G.

[Edited at 2003-10-31 21:54]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:21
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
In your case it's a good decision Sep 1, 2003

However, as a general rule, there is no general rule; English-speaking specialists would refer to "Las meninas" as nothing else and might even get confused by any attempt at translation. Ditto for "Les demoiselles d'Avignon". Nonetheless, for all Duchamp's wordplay, "La mariée mise a nu par ses célibataires, même" has gone down as "The Bride laid Bare by her Bachelors" (no one has ever been able to translate that "même"). And "LHOOQ" (elle a chaud au cul) is referred to as "Duchamp's Mona Lisa".

This may be compared with the "rules" in the translation of proper names: why is Giulio Romano known as "Julio Romano" in Spanish when Pietro Aretino (born Pietro Bacci, in Arezzo) was never made "Pedro", both coming from the same historical period?


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Jean-Luc Dumont  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:21
English to French
+ ...
You made my day, Parrot ! Sep 1, 2003

Parrot wrote:

And "LHOOQ" (elle a chaud au cul) is referred to as "Duchamp's Mona Lisa".

[quote]

Funny

JL


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:21
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I was quite serious... Sep 3, 2003

[quote]JLDSF wrote:

Parrot wrote:

And "LHOOQ" (elle a chaud au cul) is referred to as "Duchamp's Mona Lisa".



Funny

JL


... but I've nothing against a good laugh for you (Duchamp gets the credit)...


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Sheila Hardie  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:21
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
bride stripped bare...the large glass Sep 3, 2003

Parrot wrote:

Nonetheless, for all Duchamp's wordplay, "La mariée mise a nu par ses célibataires, même" has gone down as "The Bride laid Bare by her Bachelors" (no one has ever been able to translate that "même").


But they have tried...I remember when I was studying art we always referred to it as 'The Bride Laid Bare by her Batchelors, Even' or the 'Large Glass', but the 'Laid Bare' is often translated at 'Stripped Bare' too. There are so many different ways of attempting to translate that one:-) Whatever you call it, I'll never forget the explanation the teachers gave about how Duchamp had made it and what each bit meant...amazing:-)

Sheila


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:21
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Dust Breeding Sep 3, 2003

Sheila Hardie wrote:

But they have tried...I remember when I was studying art we always referred to it as 'The Bride Laid Bare by her Batchelors, Even' or the 'Large Glass', but the 'Laid Bare' is often translated at 'Stripped Bare' too. There are so many different ways of attempting to translate that one:-) Whatever you call it, I'll never forget the explanation the teachers gave about how Duchamp had made it and what each bit meant...amazing:-)

Sheila


I loved that "process". Sort of comes natural to more than one translator I know....


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