translating names of institutions?
Thread poster: Rachel Vanarsdall

Rachel Vanarsdall  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:24
Member (2004)
French to English
Jan 26, 2003

What is the rule on this? I am translating a doctor\'s CV from Canadian French to English. I\'ve looked up the web sites of some of the Quebec hospitals mentioned to see if they have an \"official\" English translation (it\'s pretty obvious what the translation should be, of course). On the sites that I have checked, even when there is an English-language page, the name of the hospital is written in French. On the other hand, it\'s very easy to find references in English to \"Laval Hospital\" \"Hotel-Dieu Hospital\" etc.


Emmanouil Tyrakis
Local time: 04:24
French to Greek
+ ...
the best way Jan 26, 2003

The best way is to give them a call and ask what name do they use for their institution.

Bonne chance!!


Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC (X)  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
Here's some info which may be helpful Jan 26, 2003

I\'m online (working) and I checked in the \"Chronique de la langue\" in Termium to see if there was anything in there about it.

I found a few rules in relations to the names of Universities on using capital letters, as well as whether or not to translate the names.

I would say that these rules (in regards to translating the names of universities) would also apply to hospitals.

I have copied below a short extract of the information I found:

(The information is in French only btw)

\"... l\'Université de Paris côtoie l\'Université de Grenade et l\'Université de Helsinki. En fait, l\'usage nous permet de constater deux choses :

1) le générique université s\'écrit avec la majuscule initiale;

2) les noms d\'universités se traduisent.

En effet, l\'idée ne viendrait à personne de dire l\'Universidad de Granada, alors que la page Web en français de cette institution parle bel et bien de l\'Université de Grenade... Et que penser de la Helsingin Yliopisto? L\'écrire dans un texte serait vraiment jouer au fin Finnois avec ses lecteurs...

Donc les noms d\'universités se traduisent quand ils sont formés avec un générique et un nom de lieu.

Mais les chemins de la connaissance sont parsemés d\'embûches... Qu\'en est-il des appellations plus compliquées?

L\'Institut de technologie du Massachusetts, vous connaissez? Et l\'École des sciences économiques de Londres? Ces traductions ne sont pas mauvaises en soi, mais force est de constater que l\'usage ne les a pas retenues. Le MIT et la London School of Economics sont connus partout dans le monde sous leur appellation anglaise.

Le langagier doit respecter cet usage...\"





Arthur Borges
Local time: 10:24
+ ...
I woundn't push it as far as "Hotel God Hospital" Jan 26, 2003

e.g. University of Paris, of Algiers (not Alger) or Pasteur Institute but check for an official translation.

Sometimes I fudge certain bodies by using the acronym and frontloading it with a adjective or two. If Renault can get away with it why shouldn\'t others work the trick too?

P.S. Sweden has this famous hospital called the Karolinska Institutet which some folks up there insist on translating as the Caroline Institute, which is um, fine I guess, but the morphology is just different enough to make it look like two different institutions.


PaulaMac (X)
French to English
+ ...
Names Jan 27, 2003

I mostly translate for the Canadian government - the rule generally followed is

a) first find out if the institution has an official translation of its name. Usually you can do this by visiting their website. If so, use it. If their website has an English version and uses the French name of the institution, use the French name (NEVER translate it), in italics.

b) if you cannot find a website for the institution, enter it as a Google search term, in quotations, followed by a space and then Google will search only Canadian federal government website, and any hits, French or English will give you some clues, e.g., if you find the name of the institution, in French, in an English text on a Canadian government site, you can pretty well assume that they have already checked and the use of the French name is correct.

Just a few hints!!


Noel Castelino
Local time: 03:24
French to English
It's probably more helpful to the end user ... Jan 27, 2003

... to leave the name in French, and give a translation in brackets if the institution is not well known. The point is that anyone who wants to check up on the institution or write a letter to it will need to know its exact name.

It\'s like book references (in footnotes and so on) which we tend to leave in the original language for similar reasons.


Noel Castelino


Rachel Vanarsdall  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:24
Member (2004)
French to English
thanks for the input, all Jan 27, 2003

Thank you all for your responses. I wound up asking the client how she handles this (she is another freelance translator) - she prefers the English translations, just to make it easier for the end user. When I translate for insurance companies, I usually keep the French names, French addresses, etc. - because, as someone pointed out above, they may actually try to contact these institutions.

I especially appreciate the tip about searching names with - what I saw from the English-language pages was that the names are generally translated, even when the official Eng. site for the hospital keeps them in French.

Thanks again!



Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:24
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
yeah, sure :))) Jan 28, 2003


On 2003-01-26 19:52, CTIS wrote:

I\'m online (working) and I checked in the \"Chronique de la langue\" in Termium to see if there was anything in there about it.

\" the university about Paris ctoie the university about Grenade and the university about Helsinki. As a matter of fact , plant ourselves allows about ascertain a couple of fixtures : 1) him gnrique academic s\'crit with her capital letter initial ; 2) the names d\'universits herself translating. Effectively l\'ide ne shall come anybody about put the university about Large , whereas her page Web at direct of this institution talk properly about the university about Grenade. And as expect any Helsingin Yliopisto? L\'crire in a texte shall be indeed gamble at the sheer Finnish with her readers. Consequently the names d\'universits herself translating when they are formal with a gnrique and a name about lieu. But the alleyways any acquaintance are am leaving d\'embches. Than it is to well into am - he any appellations anymore complicate? The institute about technology any Massachusetts , you know? And l\'cole any scholarship conomiques about London? These translations ne are not bad at himself , but cogency am about ascertain as plant ne the has not self-restraint. Him MIT and her Londoner Schooner of Economics are acquainted throughout him earth below their appellation Englishwoman. Him language has to respect this practice. \"


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