How to write a translators's note re untranslated references?
Thread poster: reery
Jan 26, 2013


I'm translating a report where Several other reports and articles are referenced. Those reports have not been translated. So I have to translate them myself. How can I write a translator's note in this case? Is it possible to write a one general note for all the lines referenced? or do I have to write a single note for each line??


Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:32
Italian to English
Clarification Jan 26, 2013

Hi reery

Do you mean that some text from these reports and articles is quoted in the body of your document or that there are simply references (i.e. author, title. publisher and date) to indicate the original source of what it says in the document?


re: clarification Jan 26, 2013

Some of these are direct quotes followed by citation others are paraphrases followed by citation

and of course there's a bibliography list at the end of the report


Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
A few ways around it Jan 26, 2013

... but I'd ask the client if I were you.

Bibliography: you can't really change the version (if any) that the authors really used, so apart from bibliographic data, entries are generally not translated, if the approach has to be scholarly (note that there may be other considerations).

I personally prefer translating all the running text for reader comfort, but what to do with the original in direct quotes remains a question. Some people may want that moved into the footnote along with the bibliographic data while others may consider it redundant. For one, it increases space used (publishing considerations).

If a target language translation exists, it may be used; it would also be proper for the translator to acknowledge source. You could write a general note in a first instance explaining your criteria. Again, it's a valid question to ask the client.

Paraphrases should constitute no problem; the source remains the authors' source and the bibliographic data is translated.

Hope it helps. In my experience, consulting the client does no harm.

Oh, and if the author quoted a translation from your target, don't try to back-translate and pass it off as original! Get the original, or failing that, take off the quotation marks.

[Edited at 2013-01-26 13:12 GMT]


Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:32
Italian to English
My view Jan 26, 2013

I would translate the paraphrased sections as normal.

As for the direct quotations, my preference would be to leave them in the source language and include a translation as a footnote (or vice versa), but this depends on: the type of report (i.e. academic, marketing etc.), the length and frequency of the quotations and, above all in this instance, the client's preference.

In the references (citations), the title in both cases should always remain in the source language, unless perhaps there is a published translation, in which case that translation should preferably be used and the reference (citation) should be expanded to include the details.

I am not sure that a translator's note serves any purpose here.

Edited to say: I think I am basically agreeing with Parrot here, but her post was not here when I started my reply.

[Edited at 2013-01-26 13:20 GMT]


need more clarification Jan 26, 2013

So there will be no need to write a footnote saying that the references used are originally written in English and that the translations are my own??

This is the report

I'm not doing the translation for a client. It's an assignment


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How to write a translators's note re untranslated references?

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