correct bibliography practice (translations of works)
Thread poster: lexical
lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:39
Portuguese to English
Oct 24, 2006

Can someone please advise me on this problem that I've never met before?

I'm translating a literary work from PT>EN whose bibliography includes:
Platão – “Critias et Timée”, Garnier Flammarion, Paris, 1990, tradução de XXX
i.e. the edition of Plato used by the author is French, with a translation into Portuguese, I think commissioned by the author.

I'm inclined to render Platão as Plato for the English translation, but how do I indicate which version is used? i.e. do I insert something before “Critias et Timée”? Presumably, I don't translate “Critias et Timée”, although it appears as "Critias and Timaeus" in my text.

Similarly, later we have:
Plínio – « Histoire Naturelle », Librairie Veuve Desaint, Paris, 1771.
Again, Pliny, obviously, but then what?


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:39
Member (2004)
German to English
Leave titles as they are Oct 24, 2006

As you suggest, I'd use the English forms of Plato and Pliny, but you need to leave the French titles of the works because these are what he consulted and used and it would be inappropriate to imply otherwise. From the reference you give, I take that Plato ref. to be saying that the translation into French was done by xxx, and I would simply say "translated by..."

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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
dilemma Oct 24, 2006

Armorel Young wrote:

As you suggest, I'd use the English forms of Plato and Pliny, but you need to leave the French titles of the works because these are what he consulted and used and it would be inappropriate to imply otherwise. From the reference you give, I take that Plato ref. to be saying that the translation into French was done by xxx, and I would simply say "translated by..."


I have had this issue before, and I'm not sure what is the answer.

When I translate to ES, the author (the one I have in mind) refers to ES translations of books in EN. Yet I'm creating an EN text, so should I specifically explain (in a footnote) that the author consulted the ES version of a work rather than the EN version? Becuase otherwise I'm leading readers to subconsciously believe that they are being "confronted" (for want of a better word) with references from the source EN text, yet they check the References and find one to an ES text.

It's also a problem when an author quotes, e.g. in ES, from the translated version. So I paraphrase, as I don't have usually access to the original. But, should I again footnote this detail (that the author hasn't read the original, but a translation)?

In other words, this is a very confusing issue, and it seems to me that the best thing (most honest, also avoids any possible plagiarism) - even if it's intrusive - is to insert footnotes that explain where exactly the author's info is coming from, and how it is, in fact, mediated (i.e. through translation).


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James (Jim) Davis  Identity Verified
Seychelles
Local time: 14:39
Italian to English
General principles Oct 25, 2006

Funny, I suppose long ago I used to wonder what "correct practice was". Now I ask myself, what is this for, what is its purpose.
The purpose of the bibliography is to allow people to find the original sources that the author actually read, so give all the necessary information, for people to be able to actually find those sources. If you translate the title, you will make this difficult, so put yourself in the shoes of your reader trying to find the original.

Whether this is "correct" practice or not, I wouldn't know.

Jim Davis


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James (Jim) Davis  Identity Verified
Seychelles
Local time: 14:39
Italian to English
Quotations from translated texts Oct 25, 2006

Lia Fail wrote:


It's also a problem when an author quotes, e.g. in ES, from the translated version. So I paraphrase, as I don't have usually access to the original. But, should I again footnote this detail (that the author hasn't read the original, but a translation)?



I often face this problem, and that is an idea, I hadn't thought of, paraphrasing. Thank you Lia.

Hmm footnotes. A recent telephone conversation went something like this, "No don't put a footnote in Jim, the graphics artist will probably cut it out if there isn't room on the page. Put it in brackets its safer".

I once saw a footnote "reverse translation", but only once. Has anybody seen the term around?

When they are famous quotations, though, you have to find the original - not too difficult with Google. And of course if you can't find it, well then it isn't really that famous, is it?

Jim




[Edited at 2006-10-25 12:27]


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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:39
Portuguese to English
TOPIC STARTER
thanks to all for your advice Oct 25, 2006

I'm grateful to everybody for their comments, and glad to see that I'm not alone in finding this tricky.

I've done bibliographies on many occasions and know how important it is to retain the full reference in the original language so that, as James points out, the reader can consult the sources used by the author.

However, it's the first time that I've had to deal with an author citing a work (Homer, Plato, Pliny) that has no definitive edition, publication date, etc, and I was just wondering if there was an accepted way of citing the version used by the author e.g. by inserting something like "vers." between Plato and the title. I speak from ignorance here.

I agree with Lia that it's very unsatisfactory to quote passages that are - in my case - originally French translations from the Greek, then translated into Portuguese, then retranslated by me into English, especially when there are good English translations direct from the Greek. But I accept that that was not what the author consulted.

There are already serious discrepancies between the Greek-English translations I've consulted (e.g. Samuel Butler's translation of the Odyssey) and the Portuguese translation of the French translation from the Greek, and I feel I'm just compounding them. It's a bit like the old game of Chinese Whispers.


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