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Translating (academic) titles
Thread poster: Karin Walker
Karin Walker  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:58
German to English
+ ...
Aug 30, 2001

For lack of a better suited forum to ask this on, here goes:



I am in the process of setting up a style guide and wish to have your ideas on translating/retaining academic titles for translations into English. Specifically, when I come across the German \"Herr Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Hans Schmidt\", do I bother with writing it all out in English (which, in my humble opinion, be most un-native-like), or do I write it out once and then continue with Hans Schmidt (my instinct tells me to do this)??? I have heard that this problem arises also with other non-English languages - how do people deal with it?



Would love to hear your thoughts. By the way, I have not been able to find any style guides for translators that mention this problem.


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:58
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Aug 31, 2001

Hi,



Quote:


On 2001-08-30 07:06, KGartshore wrote:

I am in the process of setting up a style guide and wish to have your ideas on translating/retaining academic titles for translations into English. Specifically, when I come across the German \"Herr Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Hans Schmidt\", do I bother with writing it all out in English (which, in my humble opinion, be most un-native-like), or do I write it out once and then continue with Hans Schmidt (my instinct tells me to do this)??? I have heard that this problem arises also with other non-English languages - how do people deal with it?





I think it depends on the context: in some texts where it may be important to emphasize qualifications, I would leave all of it in except the \"Herr\" (I think using Mr. sounds too old-fashioned sometimes). In others where it would be really out of place or pretentious, just put \"Hans Schmidt\" or \"CEO Hans Schmidt\" (or whatever his function in the company/organization is - that would probably be more important).



I completely agree with you that these titles are weird in English. In the US, we would only spontaneously think of medical doctors or, in an academic context, professors when we see \"Dr.\" But I think it is partially a political issue, too. A more traditional \"Vorstand\" would not necessarily be happy to be stripped of his/her titles. In addition, the education system is so different that there may not really be a direct equivalent. In that same vein, you would not want to give the impression that the person received their degree(s) in an English-speaking country when they didn\'t (i.e. by using designations like BA and MA).



This URL might give you some ideas, too:

http://www.bmbwk.gv.at/en/univ/naric_e/naricinfo4e.htm#03

(note: Austria-specific)



Have fun with your style guide!

Daina

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Karin Walker  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:58
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Sep 6, 2001

Thanks Daina. Agree with what you say - particularly the bit about not giving people academic titles they don\'t have. I saw this being discussed on a German translation list once - it is in fact an offense to claim a degree you do not have, and that would include claiming to have the degree \"equivalent\" to your own if, say, you were translating your CV into another language and your degree did not exist there.



But this title business seems to be difficult - I can see, however, the benefit of retaining a German title in English, however strange and stiff it might seem - if only to convey to the reader the world and the environment this text comes from (depending on the audience, naturally). Having said that, even though companies here in Germany LOVE going global and acting like they\'re American, no German Vorstandsvorsitzender would like to be \"stripped\" of his title, that\'s for sure. But here\'s a point: what about US CEOs? Meg Whitman, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Carly Fiorina? No Dr or Prof in sight there, yet there\'s a good chance they might have a PhD. Oh dear, what a dilemma for translators.


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Jean Houwert
Local time: 18:58
Dutch to French
titles? Oct 5, 2001

Dutch people do the same (de heer, ing. drs. Blabla). In French these titles are not usually used before the name, so I just leave them out and only use Monsieur H.I Blabla. (Except for the military, of course)

Good luck



Jean


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David Morrison
Local time: 17:58
German to English
+ ...
Dr Dr h.c. Oct 16, 2001

Depending on the nature of the work, why not leave the title in the original the first time it occurs, and add a footnote? Failing this there is a real danger that the customer may assume there\'s been a typo, and may not know that one of the doctorates is honorary.

David Morrison


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Alison kennedy
Local time: 18:58
Italian to English
+ ...
Academic titles from Italian to English Dec 11, 2001

Academic titles are like mushrooms in Italian and \"grow\" everywhere. Any person with a first degree has the right to use an academic title, while this is only true for Phds or certain professional categories which carry letters after the name in GB English. Then, there are the honorary titles that are added ( Cav. lav; Cav. etc) - a real mouthful!



Academic titles in Italian often substitute names and surnames in documents or minutes for example and are used orally to address people ( eg. Would the Doctor like some tea?).



Titles that are so commonly used in one language but not in another are not easy to deal with.



This is my general rule of thumb.



In business documents such as Notice of AGM, Balance Sheets, Articles of Association, Minutes from meetings, unless someone is a legal person, accountant/auditor or university professor (and it is important that this is stated in the document certifying that he or she is a qualified professional carrying out some kind of role or function that is pertinent to the business being discussed in the document), I normally delete titles such as Dr. or Ing. or substitute with Mr. or Ms. For business cards, I normally just use name and surname.

For academic papers, unless otherwise specified, I would use Dr. or Prof. and sub-note or refer to \"notes on authors\" providing titles and academic positions.



For lawyers, I often use the original Italian Avv. and for architects and medical doctors Arch. and Dr.respectively. The funny point is that in GB English a doctor who is a hospital consultant would simply be called Mr. to distinguish him from the \"other\" hospital doctors.



In no way would I try to equate foreign academic titles with GB or USA equivalents. This is only misleading.

In the same way, with my first GB degree and working as a translator, I always decline being called \"dottoressa\",while my Italian colleagues often adopt the title dottore or dottoressa.

Hope this helps you in some way.


[addsig]


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