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Accents on names in Spanish to English Translation
Thread poster: Peter Collins

Peter Collins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:49
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 6, 2014

I guess this must have come up many times before but I am wondering what to do with accents on Spanish names when translated into English. What is most normal? To eliminate all accents or to keep some which may be considered to be normal? The translation is for an academic publication, where some writers may prefer to keep the accents on their names.

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Francisco Vare
Poland
Local time: 05:49
Polish to Spanish
+ ...
Leave them! Nov 6, 2014

I am Spanish, and my second name is José. It would hurt my eyes seeing my name written not properly. It is the same with surnames, leave the accents (we call them "tildes"). They are there for a reason, pronunciation, so I would definitely not delete them.

I hope I could help.

Regards,

Franko


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No reason to drop "tildes" Nov 6, 2014

Peter Collins wrote:

I guess this must have come up many times before but I am wondering what to do with accents on Spanish names when translated into English. What is most normal? To eliminate all accents or to keep some which may be considered to be normal? The translation is for an academic publication, where some writers may prefer to keep the accents on their names.


I presume you need more "informed" opinion on the part of native into English translators (which I am not), but common sense, as well as common practice gives us good indication.

Take just any other language other than Spanish, say, Serbian. we read: "Željko Lučić (born 24 February 1968) is a Serbian operatic baritone who has had an active international career since 1993".

If you know how the name is written in the source language, the safest thing to do is to replicate it when "translated" into English.

Now, when I "translate" the name of the President of the Russian Federation into Spanish, I follow the Russian phonetics and Spanish orthography. Therefore, the beloved dignitary's name in Spanish will be written as follows: “Vladímir Putin” and not “Vladimir Putin”.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
Depends Nov 6, 2014

Tildes can come out oddly on certain websites and other formats. My spellchecker removes the accent from place names like Almería...

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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
That's different story Nov 6, 2014

neilmac wrote:

Tildes can come out oddly on certain websites and other formats. My spellchecker removes the accent from place names like Almería...


That's because in English it is Almeria. "Sevilla" is Seville, etc. It changes.

Another example: "Antwerpen" in Dutch and "Antwerp" in English. But guess what: "Amberes" in Spanish.

People's names, however, do not change. "José" is not "John".


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:49
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Similar thread Nov 6, 2014

Here's a similar thread on this topic:
http://www.proz.com/forum/translation_theory_and_practice/193559-accent_marks_in_spanish_words_used_in_english.html


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:49
English to Spanish
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Leave them in Nov 6, 2014

That is my practice and is also followed by many leading publictions in the USA.

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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:49
Spanish to English
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Yeup! Nov 6, 2014

Henry Hinds wrote:
Leave them in

That is my practice and is also followed by many leading publictions in the USA.


I totally agree.

Though I have found that most Spanish speakers will add a tilde to my name when written and spoken (Tristón - which is strange because I'm generally a happy guy).

[Edited at 2014-11-06 16:22 GMT]


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 11:49
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Two things Nov 6, 2014

1. Not everyone can type these characters
2. Non-English letters don't show up properly on all systems.


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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:49
Member
French to Spanish
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As a philologist... Nov 6, 2014

I would say the same: leave them.

"Tildes" in names are not only a phonetic tool, but also a diacritical one: "Simon (ENG)" vs "Simón (ESP)". They are important to the idiosyncracy of individuals and nations, too.

When I book a flight or a hotel I'm always upset when the webpage doesn't allow me to enter "tildes" nor dots. Not to mention the fact that I can't add the second surname! My name: Susana E. (Esperanza) Cano Méndez.

)


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Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:49
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I always leave them Nov 7, 2014

and get annoyed when they are missing in the original text.

For example, you might see a name in a legal document like JOSE GONZALEZ BENITEZ (I've invented it) and I always want to 'correct' it.

However, my surname is written without an accent, although there should be one over the 'i'. At some stage someone 'Catalanised' it!


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Werner Maurer  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
tilde en capitales Nov 7, 2014

Helena, cuando tomaba clases de español me enseñaron que cuando se trata de CAPITALES las tildes son opcionales, y algunos hasta dicen que deben desparecer.

[Edited at 2014-11-07 01:44 GMT]


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Peter Collins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:49
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Nov 7, 2014

Many thanks for all the input. My particular interest is the use of accents in authors' and place names in academic papers. I am going to go with keeping the accents in all but the most common place names.

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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:49
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Pues lo siento pero te enseñaron mal Nov 7, 2014

Werner Maurer wrote:

Helena, cuando tomaba clases de español me enseñaron que cuando se trata de CAPITALES las tildes son opcionales, y algunos hasta dicen que deben desparecer.

[Edited at 2014-11-07 01:44 GMT]


En el diccionario panhispánico de dudas de la RAE indica claramente:

1.1. El empleo de la mayúscula no exime de poner la tilde cuando así lo exijan las reglas de acentuación (→ tilde2, 7): ÁFRICA, África. Únicamente las siglas, que se escriben enteramente en mayúsculas, no llevan nunca tilde: CIA (del ingl. Central Intelligence Agency), y no CÍA


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Sarah Lewis-Morgan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:49
Member (2014)
German to English
Keep the names as they are Nov 7, 2014

I would always do this. When I translate from German to English I keep names with ä, ö, ü and ß as they are. It rather annoys me that my German bank now refuses to take these special characters when banking online, forcing me to enter ae for ä, ss for ß etc. It seems the height of stupidity when these are letters of the alphabet.

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