Translating titles of books or articles referenced in footnotes
Thread poster: Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:20
Italian to English
+ ...
Jan 9, 2008

I'm translating a critical essay which will be published as a book by a local company, but will be distributed internationally. The text contains various footnotes with references to other texts (books and articles on the same subject).

My question is what to do with the titles of articles and books that appear in the source language in these footnotes. Should they be left in the original language if I have no verification that the title has been previously translated or can I translate them into the target language? My fear is if they are translated by me for the first time, the reader will then have no way of finding the original work, without the title in the original language.

Another thought, should I leave them in the source language with a translation offered in parenthesis to make the title comprehensible to the reader?

I would appreciate any insight or suggestions you can offer.


 

Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:20
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Talk to your client Jan 9, 2008

Your client probably has preferences on this issue, but has apparently not let you know what they are. I recommend keeping the title in the original language. Some considerations:

a) Determining whether a book or article has been translated is time consuming. In addition, just as there may be more than one book with a given title in Italian, there are likely to be multiple books with the translation of that title in English (substitute the language pair you're working in). In addition, a given work may have been translated multiple times with multiple titles.
b) Even if you find that "Storia de Kentucky" was translated as "History of Kentucky", your footnote probably references a specific page of the Italian work and the associated quote in English is probably on a different page.
c) Another issue you should deal with when you contact your client: Suppose you come across a quote from a target-language book quoted in source-language. Are you expected to track down the target-language book?

I strongly recommend you contact your client and ask about such issues.


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:20
Italian to English
References Jan 9, 2008

Hi Nicole

You must quote the title in the original language, I would suggest in italics (though titles should be in italics - or underlined - in English academic practice anyway).

Whether or not you offer a translation in brackets depends on various issues:
What is the client's preference?
Can the meaning, or at least the subject matter, be deduced from reading the essay?
Who is the target audience?

My gut feeling is that if the reader cannot interpret the title, then he / she is unlikely to want to pursue the reference unless, as you say, there is a translation available.

Just to complicate matters. my experience is that Italian references are often limited to the title and publisher, whereas in English, we give prominence to the author and date of publication (which can usually be traced quite easily).

Russell


 

Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 04:20
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't translate the references Jan 9, 2008

The references are used to inform the source of the information. If an author decides to inform us the source of a concept, idea or information, he/she let us know the name of the book or the article containing that original information. So, that name should not be modifyed. I would translate, nevertheless, the name of the city where the editorial house is located, or the month of the publication. If there are many authors, and the English says "et all", I would translate as "y otros" in Spanish (I don't know in Italian).
In Spanish there are certain rules for quoting references (not obeyed by everyone, but they exist). I would recommend you to investigate if there are similar rules in your target language.

Kind regards

Clarisa


 

Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 08:20
Dutch to English
+ ...
Et al Jan 10, 2008

Clarisa Moraña wrote:

The references are used to inform the source of the information. If an author decides to inform us the source of a concept, idea or information, he/she let us know the name of the book or the article containing that original information. So, that name should not be modifyed. I would translate, nevertheless, the name of the city where the editorial house is located, or the month of the publication. If there are many authors, and the English says "et all", I would translate as "y otros" in Spanish (I don't know in Italian).
In Spanish there are certain rules for quoting references (not obeyed by everyone, but they exist). I would recommend you to investigate if there are similar rules in your target language.

Kind regards

Clarisa


Et al (not et all) - just for sake of clarity


 

Nicole Johnson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:20
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to all of you for your comments and suggestions Jan 10, 2008

My first instinct was indeed to leave the titles untranslated (as I will be doing with titles appearing in other languages as well, i.e. French, German, etc.). I have contacted the client to see how they have dealt with this issue in the past, if they indeed have dealt with it and I am waiting to hear from them.

Of course I will translate the other information provided in the footnotes, and luckily in this case all of the references include authors/editors as well as the title of the book or article.

However I agree with those of who who recommend leaving the titles in the original language.

I will wait to hear whether the client also wants to provide an ENG translation in brackets.

Thanks much for your valuable comments and advice.


 


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