Use of first name in news article (not done in US).
I was going through a translation of an article about a young man (23) who disappeared in Belgium. He was referred to by his first name, and we don't do that in the US. One translator suggested the translation should use the last name. I agree but what is the thinking of others, or the duolingo staff?
gitanomama, I agree with you. The translation should reflect the style and diction of the particular literary genre in the target language.
So if you're translating a news article into English, the translation should read like a news article from the English-language press. Ideally, an English-speaking reader of the translation should be unaware that they're reading a translation.
ceaer, an awesome translator btw, has written some excellent posts on the topic of translation style.
Here are just a couple of links:
While I agree with asherbennaphtali in general there are different conventions in different parts of the English speaking world and it seems wrong to me if, for example, a perfectly correct usage from somewhere other than the US was corrected to the US version as suggested in one of the links. Duolingo may be US based but they now accept usages from the rest of the English speaking world in lessons and it's more than a little irritating for native speakers to be told they are incorrect because they don't follow US English. As I don't want to offend I don't correct US usages when I translate even though some grate to a non-American and I'd like to think I'd receive the same courtesy from others.
helenvee, I totally agree with you that US usage should not necessarily be construed as the norm. As a Canadian, I often feel the weight of living under an American shadow.
Maybe Kiwis feel the same way about Aussies. (Any Kiwis out there?)
In this particular case, regarding the use of first names vs last names in a news article, a cursory perusal of American and Commonwealth news articles in English would seem to validate gitanomama's post. It doesn't appear to be a particularly American phenomenon.
That's certainly how the Canadian press writes their articles. When a person is mentioned for the first time, the full name may be printed. Subsequently in the article, it's the last name only.
Usage is a bit varied here. Most commonly, subsequent mentions are surnames preceded by Mr, Mrs or Ms or professional or other titles (Professor, Minister (Government), Doctor, Sergeant etc.). Surnames alone are usually only used when reporting on court cases or when referring to prisoners. Children are referred to initially by full name and then first name.
Just to clarify that first link -- I wasn't suggesting changing BrE to AmE, but if given a choice between the two in an initial translation, with all other factors being equal, erring on the side of AmE for the reasons I mentioned there. But that discussion is from four months ago, and as you pointed out, Duo now accepts other varieties of English on a much more consistent basis.
My feeling is that the translation needs to be consistent. Either BrE from start to finish or AmE from start to finish. I stick to the original style to the best of my ability and I don't change things from AmE to BrE or from BrE to AmE unless it's to maintain consistency in the translation, and I always leave a comment explaining that.
Just a quick note: the English-language press does not have a single set style for this -- for example, the New York Times still uses the fairly formal "Mr. Doe" and "Mrs. Doe" or "Dr. Joe" after spelling out someone's name completely, while U.S.A. Today drops the title completely, and that's just in the U.S. The article you're translating sounds as if it would be closer to U.S.A. Today's slightly less formal style.