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Advice wanted on translating footnotes
Thread poster: Lesley Clarke

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:23
Spanish to English
Jul 26, 2004

I have to translate some extensive footnotes and there are a lot of quotes.
This to going to be proofread later, but time is at a premium and I don't want to do the wrong thing and make work for the proofreader, so could someone tell me, do I leave the quotes in their original language and put the translation in brackets after them?

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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:23
German to English
+ ...
Ask the client Jul 26, 2004

Hi Lesley,

Can you ask the client?

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Marie-Céline GEORG  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:23
English to French
+ ...
Depends on the context... Jul 26, 2004

I guess that it depends on the kind of text you're translating and what the footnotes are for. Are the quotes originally in the source language? If not, there may be no point in keeping them in the source language since they were translated in the first place.
Do the readers have to understand the point using the source language? I mean, the notes can illustrate a pun or something for which you have to read the source language even if you don't understand it. In this case it might be useful to keep the original quote and to translate its meaning for a better understanding.
If the quotes are just here to explain something, then the readers most probably will have to understand them so it will be better to translate them.
I hope this helps you sort things out!


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 13:23
German to English
If the footnotes are bibliographic references ... Jul 26, 2004

there's no need to translate them, since there may not be an existing translation of the work referred to, and a translation would only serve to confuse the reader. Explanatory notes or quotations are different: I'd translate the explanatory note; for a quotation I'd use the original as well as a translation.

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