Translation of references, footnotes
Thread poster: AAAmedical

AAAmedical  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:04
English to Dutch
+ ...
Jun 11, 2002

I am having a discussion with a client who wants me to translate a medical article. I feel (as I always do) that references at the end of the text (author, references of articles, name of the reference article or book) should NOT be translated as they are meant to refer to articles on which the author based himself to write the new article.

Translating them makes it almost impossible to find this references back.

Do you agree or disagree with this and why?

Thanks a lot



Bob Kerns  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:04
Member (2002)
German to English
Provide source and target titles of the references Jun 11, 2002

If the references are quoted in the source language then I usually leave them as they are and add a translation of the titles etc. in the target language. This way the original references are preserved and the reader can also understand what they mean. Another advantage is that you can charge for a few more lines icon_smile.gif


Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:04
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Don't translate titles Jun 11, 2002

I agree that titles in Bibliography should not be translated. What I usually do is I translate things like \"published by\" or \"edited by\", \"in:\", number of pages etc. If I am aware that the book or article was actually translated and published in the target language, I may ADD the title and publisher of translation, but only in case if it is a book well known enough, I usually do not do any special research as to what from the bibliography was translated and published and what was not.

In some cases however, especially if it is a list of publications attached to someone\'s CV, where the meaning of titles might be very important for the reader, I add again the translation after the original title which should be kept anyway for all good reasons Ann has just listed above.




Stephen Franke
United States
Local time: 03:04
English to Arabic
+ ...
Keep biblio entries in original. Translate them only if requested and paid to do that Jun 11, 2002


Keep such bibliographic entries in their original form and languages.

Translate them only if requested and paid to do so. That approach especially helps is the reader wants to find, retrieve and consult an item of interest.


Regards from Los Angeles,

Stephen H. Franke

English Arabic,

Kurdish, and Farsi)


Stephen Franke
United States
Local time: 03:04
English to Arabic
+ ...
Keep biblio entries in original. Translate them only if requested and paid to do that Jun 11, 2002

edited duplicate


Lia Fail (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
I would say, never! Jun 11, 2002

It seems logical taht a text with a biblio is one read by educated people, whether experts or not in the field. It can be assumed that they can put 2 and 2 together and deduce, given the standardised formats for bibliographies, what each item in a bibliographic reference means (such as page nos., vols, etc). They often know enough of a few languages and/or the field to be able to deduce meanings of article and book titles.

Another point is that for articles, books etc, no translation other than the official one - if it exists - should be used, and provisional translations have no place in a bibliography (it is both wrong and pointless, if the person doesn\'t undertsnad the title of a text, he/she is hardly going to be able to read even it if he/she located the original). A provisional translation may be necessary within a text, but has no place in a bibliography. In fact, it may lead a person to believe that the article or book has been translated and he/she may therefore start off on a fruitless search.

To translate bibliographical items is like translating addresses, or street names for tourists, totally pointless and if anything, confusing. It also goes against conventions for drawing up bibliographical lists.


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