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Thread poster: PB Trans
Should I make a translator's note? Where?
PB Trans

Local time: 11:14
French to English
+ ...
Mar 25, 2005

When translating an excerpt from a document that has no official English translation, should one add a translator's note? If so, where does it go (footnote, end of paragraph, or ??) and how should it be worded?

Thanks!!


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-03-25 15:18]


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Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:14
Latvian to English
+ ...
Translator's note Mar 25, 2005


Pina Nunes wrote:

When translating an excerpt from a document that has no official English translation, should one add a translator's note? If so, where does it go (footnote, end of paragraph, or ??) and how should it be worded?

Thanks!!


I'm not entirely sure I understand what you're asking Surely everything we translate has no official translation, otherwise we wouldn't be translating it in the first place?
Therefore, to my mind, a translation doesn't require a translator's note unless you are modifying the source text.

In my experience, I have only ever used a translator's note to point out errors in the source text, ie. translate the source text as it is, but use a translator's note for the 'correction'. By way of example, I recently translated a document which made reference to a Section of a particular Law and used a translator's note to point out that the reference was incorrect.

[Edited at 2005-03-25 13:18]



[Edited at 2005-03-25 13:21]


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Kimmy
Local time: 20:14
Italian to English
+ ...
Pina is referring maybe to a book excerpt or a poem... Mar 25, 2005

I have the same problem. A translation of an excerpt from a poem by the famous Roman Dialect poet Belli....
I have found a translation of numerous poems but not the one I am looking at!

So, my creative flair is born!
But I should make a note of that somewhere!

I think Pina means this - right Pina?

Ciao

Kim

p.s.: Any idea of a complete translation of Belli (Giuseppe Gioacchino)????????


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PB Trans

Local time: 11:14
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Translator's Note Mar 25, 2005


Jana Teteris wrote:

I'm not entirely sure I understand what you're asking Surely everything we translate has no official translation, otherwise we wouldn't be translating it in the first place?
Therefore, to my mind, a translation doesn't require a translator's note unless you are modifying the source text.

In my experience, I have only ever used a translator's note to point out errors in the source text, ie. translate the source text as it is, but use a translator's note for the 'correction'. By way of example, I recently translated a document which made reference to a Section of a particular Law and used a translator's note to point out that the reference was incorrect.

[Edited at 2005-03-25 13:18]



[Edited at 2005-03-25 13:21]


I am referring to translations of literary works that have been published, such as poems, historical essays, etc. They are quoted in a report that I am translating.

[Edited at 2005-03-25 14:49]


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Alex Lane  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:14
Member
Russian to English
+ ...
Still not clear, but... Mar 25, 2005


Pina Nunes wrote:

I am referring to translations of literary works that have been published, such as poems, historical essays, etc. They are quoted in a report that I am translating.

[Edited at 2005-03-25 14:49]


Hmmm. So as I understand it, you're you faced with having to translate an text that has been translated into English from a language that is not your target? (For example, you're translating into French something that has already been translated from, say, German, into English?)

It's an interesting situation, and if you want to cover your bases, you should add a translator's note, stating that your text is a translation of an apparent translation.

Where? I usually insert translator's notes as footnotes that differ in style from any footnotes in the translated document, by which I mean I'll use symbols instead of numbers, etc. to distinguish translator's footnotes.

HTH.

Cheers...


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PB Trans

Local time: 11:14
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
language Mar 25, 2005

Hi Alex,

I have to translate into English an excerpt from a French poem by a published author that is quoted in a French report. I haven't been able to find an official English translation.


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giogi
Local time: 11:14
hello Mar 25, 2005

I would cite the original in the "body" of your translation and your translation (If an official one does not exist)in a footnote.
Hope it helps
Giovanna
I mean the original passage, of course

[Edited at 2005-03-25 17:43]


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:14
German to English
+ ...
leave in the original language and (optionally) provide a translation or paraphrase Mar 25, 2005

In addition to Giovanna's good practical suggestion, here are my comments. This is all IMHO, as I am not a literery translator, but it reflects what I have seen in such situations and a bit of common sense.

Generally speaking, I would say that the quotation should be left in the original language (and especially if it's French in a Canadian document!). A learned or expert audience can be assumed to be able to understand at least the gist of the poem in the original language (particularly with a widely used language such as French) and will probably expect to see the quotation in the original language. If the report is an official document or intended for publication in a learned journal, the poem definitely should be left in the original language. IMO there are two reasons for this: (a) the original text is what the author of the report quoted, not the translation, and you should assume that the author had good reason to use a quotation instead of presenting the same idea or content in his or her own words (besides which a literary text has a different status than a bit of ordinary text that is only intended to convey information), and (b) poetry is one of the most difficult types of material to translate, since it depends so much on nuances of meaning, so practically all translations of poetry (no matter how good) are not the same as the original.

For readers who cannot understand the quotation in the original, it's useful to provide a translation or at least a paraphrase, with an indication that it is a translation or paraphrase (this could simply be the word 'Translation:'). Setting the translation in a different typeface (such as italic) and/or placing it inside brackets is often used to indicate to the reader that it is not the original text. Giovanna's suggestion of placing the translation in a footnote is also a tidy solution.

In any case, asking the client is probably a good idea, and you might wish to consult one or more style guides.


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 03:14
English to French
+ ...
Judgment call Mar 25, 2005

Hi Pina

I agree with Kenneth, you should definitely check with the client; someone needs to make a decision here -probably not you-if only for legal reasons as you would probably need an authorization to translate that poem anyway.

Good luck!

Sarah


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SwissTell
Local time: 06:14
Member
German to English
+ ...
on separate page Mar 25, 2005

if anything at all. I found it necessary, in a couple of cases, to point out an ambiguity or to otherwise clarify a point (such as a conversion rate from/to metric standards). By putting the note on a separate (last) page, you facilitate the further distribution of a document which can then easily be done with or without that added page.

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PB Trans

Local time: 11:14
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you!! Apr 2, 2005

Thank you all for your help!

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