Church name

English translation: St X's (church)

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:l'église de Saint-X
English translation:St X's (church)
Entered by: Tony M

15:20 Feb 28, 2013
French to English translations [PRO]
Religion / "Church of" or " 's Church" ?
French term or phrase: Church name
Dear translators and French-English speakers,

I am French, and I have to describe photos of churches and translate their name from French to English.
I wonder what is the difference and the correct form to translate such names.

For example, when I browse the internet websites I find two possible translations for "Eglise Saint Pierre", which are:
1) St Peter's Church
2) Church of Saint Pierre

Which one is correct? Is it one suitable to speak about a building, and an other to speak about a religious order?

Here are some other example:

FR: Eglise Sainte Marie
EN1: St Mary's Church
EN2: Church of St Mary

FR:Eglise Saint George
EN1: Saint George's Church
EN2: Church of St George

Thanks a lot for considering my request.
Regards
quickly
St X's (church)
Explanation:
Generally, when used specifically with saints' names, we tend to put it before and use the possessive; very often in EN we will even leave off the 'church' altogether — this is fine in everyday speech ("Go down the High Street and turn left after St Mary's"), but may be less easy in your written context.

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Note added at 11 mins (2013-02-28 15:31:16 GMT)
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HOWEVER, very often in EN when it is a name of someone/thing OTHER than a Saint, it will be expressed the other way round:

the Church of the Blessed Virgin
the Church of the Sacred Heart

with those, you would NEVER use the possessive up front!

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Note added at 15 mins (2013-02-28 15:35:31 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

It gets trickier if you have a plurality of Saints; in London we have (the church of) St Martin's-in-the-Fields (cf. Saint-Germain-des-Prés!) — we wouldn't say St Martin's-in-the-Fields church, though we will often just say St Martin's-in-the-Fields on its own, with no 'hcurch' either before or after.

Then we come to things like All Saints', or the Church of St Michael and All Angels — again with the latter, we'd be more likely to leave off 'church' altogether.

Another problem arises of course when it has a different name: St Paul's Cathedral, but the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mercies; the Sacred Heart Basilica in Paris...

I think to some extent you just have to go by what 'feels' right...

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Note added at 19 mins (2013-02-28 15:39:11 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

On the question of whether or not to translate at all, sometimes, it might be helpful to retain + explain: Karlskirche (St Charles' Church) Cathédrale de Saint-Etienne (St Stephen's Cathedral — or, it might be Saint-Étienne Cathedral, if it actually is the one in the city called Saint-Étienne!)

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Note added at 20 mins (2013-02-28 15:41:00 GMT)
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Whatever you do, I would avoid mixing languages, as you have done with your "church of Saint-Pierre".

If you are in a section headed 'Churches and other places of worship', then you lay be able to avoid repeating it all the time...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 21 mins (2013-02-28 15:41:08 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

** may **

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2013-02-28 16:46:22 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Brigitte reminds me of the EN children's song 'Oranges and Lemons', all about the bells of London churches.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2013-02-28 17:26:24 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

There's another London church name I always liked, I'm not sure if I've remembered the saint correctly, but I think it is St Geroge Without.

My mother used to live at the Church (pro-Cathedral, actaully) of Our Lady of Victories in Kensignton, destroyed in the War.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 13 days (2013-03-14 08:50:58 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

Christopher has kindly given us authoritative information about a number of saints here in France, including Saint-Martial, which I quoted for the very reason that I live near Limoges, so it is very current for me. Sadly, the erudtion of my esteemed colleague notwithstanding, I have to say that here in Limoges the vernacular people of earlier times seem to have cheerfully confused the two, so we have a wealth of Martials and Martins all muddled up, and definitely in some contexts where it is indeed a confusion, rather than talking about the two saints separately. hey-ho, whoever said logic was supposed to come into it?

I was interested in Chris's comment about Sainte Foi — I know the abbey church in Conques quite well, and more round my way in Aquitaine, there are a number of toponyms that use Sainte-Foy.
Selected response from:

Tony M
France
Local time: 03:18
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +5St X's (church)
Tony M
5 +3depends
Christopher Crockett


  

Answers


22 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
depends


Explanation:
What form you use depends upon both the context and the nature of your intended audience.

A general Anglophone audience cannot be expected to know what "église" means --though they may be able to figure out what is meant by the context.

If you are translating from French into English, then clearly "Church of Saint Pierre" is no good.

You have not given us the context.

Tony's "left after St. Mary's" is fine, albeit quite informal.

"The church of St. Peter" is what you mean --though "St. Peter's church" is o.k., if awkward.

Again, it depends upon the context and audience.

In Chartres (my area of expertise) there is an ancient Benedictine abbey (now a parish church) which is dedicated to St. Peter.

In the 17th c. it started to be called, "St. Pe`re," and is still referred to as that in all of the guide books and much of the scholarly literature as well.

When I am referring to it in my scholarly writing --or communications with other scholars-- I like to call it "the church/abbey of St. Peter," because *that* is what it was, throughout the Middle Ages.

A somewhat special instance, perhaps, but to my ear, "the abbey of St. Pere" just doesn't sound right.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2013-02-28 17:25:28 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Of the possibilities you give, I would prefer "[the] Church of St Mary" and "[the] Church of St George."

Though, again, the context is important --should we ever be blessed enough to know the context.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2013-02-28 17:50:39 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Note to Tony:

Your suggested "Cathédrale de Saint-Etienne = St Stephen's Cathedral" is medievally correct --those folks actually thought of the church as *belonging* to the saint (along with all the property which belonged to their church).

But, I would, in most contexts (there's that dratted word again), prefer to say "the cathedral of St. Stephen."

And, "it might be Saint-Étienne Cathedral, if it actually is the one in the city called Saint-Étienne!" is Right On, if an instance of an occurrence which is somewhat limited.

Alas, St. Martial is not at all the same guy as St Martin, at least not in France (and not even in darkest England, I would guess). The former was most important around Limoges; the latter around Tours (among other places).

This brings up a good point, however: while it is true that most Saints can be translated from the French form of their name to the English form (Pierre > Peter; Marc > Mark; Luc > Luke; Etienne > Stephen, etc.), there are some who cannot, because their names simply do not occur in English.

The Martial above is a case in point --definitely *not* = Martin.

For instance, there is a [church of] St. Quintin in Beauvais (and also a cathedral dedicated to him in the *town* of Saint Quentin), a [church of] St. Yved in Braine, of St. Eutrope in Saintes, etc., all of whom are not blessed with equivalent English names.

Just to add to the confusion, there is a Gallo-Roman virgin martyr, most famously venerated at Conques (but who also owned a minor church in Chartres), named Sainte Foi.

As a general rule, I very much prefer using the English form of all Saints' names whenever possible (and the older, original form, like Peter rather than Pere), but in this case I don't like "Saint Faith" at all --even though the translation is a literal one and there is, indeed, a female name "Faith" in English.

There are exceptions to every "rule" and, to my mind, "the church of Ste. Foi of Conques" is one of them (note that I also, inexplicably, prefer to keep the "Ste." form of the feminine French --go figger).

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2013-02-28 17:54:03 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

[misspelled "Quentin" the first time around, above. I *hate* it when that happens.]

Christopher Crockett
Local time: 21:18
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M: Would take issue on just one point: I think it would be perverse to refer to 'the Cathedral of St Paul' in London, other than e.g. in a formal ecclestiastical context. Cathedrals are often called by the name of their city, as in Salisbury Cathedral.
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Tony.

agree  AllegroTrans: yes indeed, translate whenever it's translatable
1 hr
  -> But, by definition, the untranslateable cannot be translated, can it? Thanks, A.T.

agree  pacamu2000
3 hrs
  -> Thanks, Pamela.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +5
église de Saint-X
St X's (church)


Explanation:
Generally, when used specifically with saints' names, we tend to put it before and use the possessive; very often in EN we will even leave off the 'church' altogether — this is fine in everyday speech ("Go down the High Street and turn left after St Mary's"), but may be less easy in your written context.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 11 mins (2013-02-28 15:31:16 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

HOWEVER, very often in EN when it is a name of someone/thing OTHER than a Saint, it will be expressed the other way round:

the Church of the Blessed Virgin
the Church of the Sacred Heart

with those, you would NEVER use the possessive up front!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 15 mins (2013-02-28 15:35:31 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

It gets trickier if you have a plurality of Saints; in London we have (the church of) St Martin's-in-the-Fields (cf. Saint-Germain-des-Prés!) — we wouldn't say St Martin's-in-the-Fields church, though we will often just say St Martin's-in-the-Fields on its own, with no 'hcurch' either before or after.

Then we come to things like All Saints', or the Church of St Michael and All Angels — again with the latter, we'd be more likely to leave off 'church' altogether.

Another problem arises of course when it has a different name: St Paul's Cathedral, but the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mercies; the Sacred Heart Basilica in Paris...

I think to some extent you just have to go by what 'feels' right...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 19 mins (2013-02-28 15:39:11 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

On the question of whether or not to translate at all, sometimes, it might be helpful to retain + explain: Karlskirche (St Charles' Church) Cathédrale de Saint-Etienne (St Stephen's Cathedral — or, it might be Saint-Étienne Cathedral, if it actually is the one in the city called Saint-Étienne!)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 20 mins (2013-02-28 15:41:00 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Whatever you do, I would avoid mixing languages, as you have done with your "church of Saint-Pierre".

If you are in a section headed 'Churches and other places of worship', then you lay be able to avoid repeating it all the time...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 21 mins (2013-02-28 15:41:08 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

** may **

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2013-02-28 16:46:22 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Brigitte reminds me of the EN children's song 'Oranges and Lemons', all about the bells of London churches.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs (2013-02-28 17:26:24 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

There's another London church name I always liked, I'm not sure if I've remembered the saint correctly, but I think it is St Geroge Without.

My mother used to live at the Church (pro-Cathedral, actaully) of Our Lady of Victories in Kensignton, destroyed in the War.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 13 days (2013-03-14 08:50:58 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

Christopher has kindly given us authoritative information about a number of saints here in France, including Saint-Martial, which I quoted for the very reason that I live near Limoges, so it is very current for me. Sadly, the erudtion of my esteemed colleague notwithstanding, I have to say that here in Limoges the vernacular people of earlier times seem to have cheerfully confused the two, so we have a wealth of Martials and Martins all muddled up, and definitely in some contexts where it is indeed a confusion, rather than talking about the two saints separately. hey-ho, whoever said logic was supposed to come into it?

I was interested in Chris's comment about Sainte Foi — I know the abbey church in Conques quite well, and more round my way in Aquitaine, there are a number of toponyms that use Sainte-Foy.

Tony M
France
Local time: 03:18
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Laurel Clausen
1 min
  -> Thanks, Laurel!

agree  BrigitteHilgner: From my days in London I remember the Church of St. Anne and St. Agnes (most of the time mentioned without "church").
12 mins
  -> Thanks, Brigitte!

agree  AllegroTrans: I think 95% of church names are easily translatable - the names are not "French property" after all.....// yes indeed, 5% are more challenging...
1 hr
  -> Thanks, C! No, more likely all Latin to start with... However, the problem comes with names that don't have a standard translation, as locally here Saint-Martial, which ought to have been St Martin, but...

agree  philgoddard: Yes, I think you're right.
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Phil!

agree  Wolf Draeger
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, Wolf!
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