Boost your career as a professional translator!

Boost your career as a professional translator! SDL hosts a virtual conference featuring a selection of free resources to help grow your freelance business, as well as an update on the new features of the world’s most trusted translation software - SDL Trados Studio 2017

Click for Full Participation

Brackets or footnotes?
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:55
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?

Direct link Reply with quote
Pilar T. Bayle  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
:-) 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,


Direct link Reply with quote

Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:55
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]

Direct link Reply with quote
Local time: 15:55
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

Direct link Reply with quote
Local time: 14:55
English to Icelandic
+ ...
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.

Direct link Reply with quote

To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Maria Castro[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Brackets or footnotes?

Advanced search
You’re a freelance translator? helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums