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French museum names in English
Thread poster: Hermien Desaivre

Hermien Desaivre  Identity Verified
South Africa
Local time: 04:10
Member (2008)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Nov 30, 2008

Does anybody know where I can find a standardized list? My client has not come back to me with an answer as to whether they want the names in original French or in English (all captions to pics in a book) so I am going to continue translating them. For the bigger and better known museums it is easy to find English names on Google, but the small ones are rarely translated, and then there are some rather obscure ones...Thank you in advance.

I am afraid this is edit phase and deadline is tomorrow so sorry for those who have the weekend off


Minnie


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:10
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Sometimes there aren't translations Nov 30, 2008

We have often this problem with geographic names in Portuguese. We see all three around in PT: New York (untranslated), Nova York, and Nova Iorque.

I've seen my home town, São Paulo (do you see the tilde on the A in Sao?) de-tilded, Sao Paulo, but also "translated" as San Paulo (?), San Pablo (ES) and San Paolo (IT).

I know two brothers, actually cousins of mine. One was born in St. Paul, MN, USA, and the other in Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil. Translation could really mess up their documents.

Österreich, the original name, becomes Austria in most other languages, which also changes radically its position when a list of countries is alphabetically sorted.

My advice would be for you to check the "options" available, if any, but above anything else use your common sense.


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Hermien Desaivre  Identity Verified
South Africa
Local time: 04:10
Member (2008)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
yes to common sense Nov 30, 2008

Thank you - that is what I've been doing. In the absence of clarity from the client, it is hard to make such judgment decision. I hope for the best!

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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:10
Member (2005)
English to French
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original name + translation in brackets (or reverse) Nov 30, 2008

That the option I prefer when I have to translate touristic material.

The original name helps to find it on a map or when asking for direction in the country.

The translation helps to know what it is about. Of course no need to explain for Le Louvre - but when it comes to "musée de la dentelle de Calais" a translation could help.


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Crassenstein
Germany
German to English
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list of museums Dec 2, 2008

so, where`s the list, source?

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Hermien Desaivre  Identity Verified
South Africa
Local time: 04:10
Member (2008)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Standardised list Dec 8, 2008

I didn't have a source list as such, I was just wondering where one could find, for instance, a standardised list issued by the French Museums Council or something. I ended up translating the names in the source text in the absence of direction from my clients.

Thanks for all who commented. If I ever do find such a list, I'll certainly post it here.

M


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:10
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Does it exist? Dec 9, 2008

I don't think such a list exists. Who would need it?

In general, in English, French museum names are not translated. The Musée d'Orsay remains The "Musée d'Orsay". The Musée du Jeu de Paume remains exactly that (a translation would be absurd, and if you went around Paris asking for the "Early version of Tennis Museum" I don't know what kind of looks you'd get.) The Grand Palais is the Grand Palais. Beaubourg is Beaubourg. etc.

Possibly the Musée Picasso becomes "The Picasso Museum" but I'd think that's an exception to the general rule.



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Hermien Desaivre  Identity Verified
South Africa
Local time: 04:10
Member (2008)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No rules? Dec 9, 2008

I hear you, Tom. There seems to be an inconsistency based on usage - sure we say "Picasso Museum" and "Musee d'Orsay" but then I've seen "Musee des Arts et Metiers" become "Museum of Arts and Trades"... It would hsve been nice for the client to give me some idea of what they want; colleagues of mine had a similar problem with a Dutch text and ended up using the original with a translation in brackets. They had no comebacks but no confirmation either.

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Kathryn Litherland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:10
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
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establish a guideline Dec 9, 2008

From an editor's perspective, one of the cardinal rules is to be consistent within the text. That doesn't necessarily mean treating every similar case the same (in your case, e.g., all museum names in French, or all in English), but it does require you to devise some sort of rule or guideline that you can apply consistently, and of course treating identical cases identically.

In your case, perhaps that rule might be to leave the name in French only if it appears that way on the English version of the museum's own web site, the list you mention, or the museum's wikipedia entry (and that's the priority I would give to those 3 sources of information), and in all other cases to translate into English.

I can tell you from my experience as an editor that authors are all over the place when it comes to translating or not translating proper names of organizations and so on. Part of that decision depends on the target audience, but a lot of it is just random/author's preference. I so think as a translator you should look around and try to get a sense for what others are doing, but also feel empowered to make a judgement call when one is called for with matters like this.


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Hermien Desaivre  Identity Verified
South Africa
Local time: 04:10
Member (2008)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Consistency Dec 9, 2008

Hi Kathryn - point well taken, thanks for your input. I went for consistency, translating the names, but to be honest I didn't feel comfortable with translating them all. I think next time I'll go for keeping the original, with a translation in brackets. Consistently.

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