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https://www.duolingo.com/tertrih

Names of cities in translation

tertrih
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Should names of cities in translation also be "translated" to the english version. Muenchen is almost always changed to Munich in an english text. But what about less commonly used city name like Konstanz. Should we change this to Constance in the english translation or leave it as is?

4 years ago

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/kristinemc

If there is a translation for that city name then you should always translate, but there are cities that don't have translations in which case you leave them as is. The same applies for smaller city names. If there's a translation for it then add it in there.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Preusser

May we have some guidance on names please?

While contemporary names usually are left alone, historic figures are routinely but not always re-christened. Friedrich der Große may become Frederick the Great, King Ludwig becomes King Louis, Karl der Kahle becomes Charles the bald etc. Some consistency in this realm would be helpful, I think.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
Luscinda
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I would go rather with common current practice - increasingly we use the original name. So we still use Florence and Munich and Seville (and probably always will) but usually it's Mumbai rather than Bombay, Marseille is increasingly more usual than Marseilles and you hardly ever hear Leghorn for Livorno now.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
olimo
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I'd make a search and try to find out if it has the same name in English. If I don't find anything, I'd leave it as it is.

When translating to Russian at work, I do the same, and if I fail to find the Russian name of the city, I transliterate it to Russian letters and put the original city name in parentheses when it is mentioned for the first time. After that, I use only Russian version.

For Konstanz, there is even a dedicated Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konstanz. Although there is an English name in parenthesis, this city is called Konstanz throughout the article, so I'd leave it as is.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kai_E.
Kai_E.
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Checking Wikipedia is usually how I do it. When I come across a city name anywhere in immersion, I make a point never to assume that it has the same name in English. For example, I might go to Wikipedia and find the German article for "München" and then look under the "in anderen Sprachen" section for English. I normally trust that the article uses the correct English name for whatever the location is.

I know that this comes up a lot in the "Hansestadt" article in sentences like "Groß Roop (heute Straupe), Ordensstaat, später Fürstentum Livland (Republik Polen-Litauen), später Königreich Schweden"

I honestly don't think it makes sense to translate "Groß Roop (heute Straupe)" to "Big Roop (today Straupe)" or "Groß Roop (today Straupe)"

In the English translation, that implies that the English once called the city "Groß Roop", but I don't think that we're in a position to make that claim (as far as I can tell, it's always been referred to as "Straupe" in English). What's certain is that the Germans once called the city "Groß Roop". Therefore, I might translate the sentence as "Straupe (former German Groß Roop)" or something like that.

4 years ago