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Brackets or footnotes?
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:17
Flemish to English
+ ...
Nov 14, 2003

I am translating a text full of typical American Stock-Exchange jargon which cannot be translated into the target-language. So, I have added a short explanation of the meaning in Italics between brackets.
What do you prefer : this method or using footnotes?

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Pilar T. Bayle  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:17
English to Spanish
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:-) I am a lazy woman... Nov 14, 2003

short explanation of the meaning in Italics between brackets.
What do you prefer : this method or using footnotes?

So, beside all considerations for style, I prefer to see the meaning in brackets. After having read plenty of books wasting my time with footnotes and endnotes, I have developed a blindness for footnote markers. I simply don't see them any longer.
Also, since what you insert in brackets relates to what's just before, and it is not a bibliographical note, I prefer to read clarifying meaning without having to scan the page.

Best regards,


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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:17
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
It depends.... Nov 14, 2003

on what your target language is; some languages prefer brackets and some prefer footnotes. Endnotes are also a possibility. It also depends on the text type and function. Perhaps the best thing would be to look at texts in the target language that are of a similar nature and see how they deal with it (they could be translated or written in the target language). I hope that helps.

Note added:
It also depends on your target audience and what you assume or the text assumes that they may already know about the subject. Giovanna's suggestion of adding a glossary is a pretty good one!

[Edited at 2003-11-14 10:55]

[Edited at 2003-11-14 10:56]

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Local time: 23:17
well, Nov 14, 2003

I think that the meaning in brackets would work if the jargoon words were limited to a small number, otherwise your text will turn out to be a mess. My suggestion is to add a page (before the text translated) containing a small glossary, or if you prefer, an appendix for the notes. Footnotes are useful as a reference to a bibliography, quotations...
Hope to be exhaustive

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Local time: 22:17
English to Icelandic
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ask your client Nov 14, 2003

Why not ask your client how he/she wants it done? That way you won\'t get complaints after you turn in the translation.
If it\'s being left up to you and you have to explain a lot of terms, I think having a glossary would be a good idea. You could then italicise the words in the text as a reference to the glossary.
If it\'s just a few words, I think your solution of using brackets is just fine.

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