https://www.duolingo.com/sandrabruck

Translations of names and titles

I want to speak about some things I noticed in the translations and I think it will be necessary to discuss them.

  • translation of names. There is no conformity and I believe that a lot of people have a problem in handling them. My suggestion is to translate only names that are not of Italian origin (Carlo Magno = Charlemagne/ Charles the Great) and those which have an own (translated) entry in the English “wikipedia”. But in my opinion it doesn’t make any sense to change original names in English.

  • translation of titles. In many translated articles you can find Italian titles in an English translation. In my view that is only appropriate when the English title really exists (for example: film titles (Pane e tulipani = Bread and Tulips), but I’m against newly created titles (for example song titles: I cannot find an Italian song searching it with an English title that doesn’t really exist). However, if desired or necessary (for understanding the whole article) is a translation behind the original title appearing in parentheses a good way. In English - I know - you are habituated to commence with a capital letter, but in Italian it’s uncommon, so I would prefer to use capital letters in English titles and lower-case letters in the Italian ones.

I hope that I did make myself clear (because of my English).

Greetings and I look forward to a fruitful discussion Sandra

April 4, 2014

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/CecilieO.

There are actual rules about how to do this in translation work and information science. Public figures from the far past, royalty and popes get their names translated. Modern people do not.

If a title has been officially translated, the translated title should be used. If not, the Original title is used and the translation is given in brackets.

reference:

http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Immersion_Community_Guidelines_(Unofficial)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#Names%7C

April 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sandrabruck

Thank you very much! So it's only necessary to use these rules. I have seen a lot of translations in the "immersion" in which the rules are not applied correctly.

Greetings Sandra

April 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/CecilieO.

feel free to change them, and in the comment about why you changed them refer people to the duolingo wikia article. I wish the rules were more commonly known as well, it would make the translations much better :)

sometimes I'm tempted to insert a link in the discussion part of each article, but that's another underused feature unfortunattly.

April 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple

I like the comment in the Wikipedia Manual of Style not to use special formatting for literal translations of titles. As someone who spends a lot of time looking up books, it drives me crazy when a literal translation masquerades as an actual title of an official translation. Given the choice, I prefer to leave out the literal translation after the original unless the meaning of the title is the subject of discussion, though I was told recently that it was not "good manners" not to translate every single word. I guess I read a lot of bad-mannered literary criticism, where that is the norm... A literal translation, even after the original title, is often problematic because most people don't bother to check and see if there is an actual English translation of the work out there. If they did, it wouldn't be an issue. But that's just a personal pet peeve, I guess.

April 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/CecilieO.

I tend to do a google/wikipedia search on the articles I translate, just to check if I'm using the vocabulary correctly, I don't know if it's common, but I think quite a few people do it as well.

And if I read a work written in a language I don't speak, f.ex chinese, I really do need the litteral translation if no official title has been given it in "my" language. The rules are standard for all translation work, not just between languages that is possible to sort of figure out.

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple

My impression here is that it is not common for people to do research. I definitely feel that including a literal translation of a title can sometimes be useful, but I think that it often creates more problems than it solves. Say I am looking at an article on Alberto Moravia, for example, and some well-meaning person has not done their research to know that his novel La ciociara was translated in English with the title Two Women. So they write it like this: La ciociara (The Woman from Ciociaria). If I did not know Italian and wanted to consult an English version, seeing the literal translation written that way, I would be sent on a wild goose chase for an English translation titled The Woman from Ciociaria when I would have otherwise just searched for "English translation La ciociara" in Google and found my answer in 30 seconds. This is why I leave out the literal translation if I am not sure if an official translation exists. When dealing with literary works, at least for Romance languages, the trend, even on Wikipedia, seems to be to leave out the literal translation and only include English if an official translation exists. I don't see any problem with including a clearly marked literal translation if there isn't a published translation of the work, but one must proceed with caution, and it seems to me that it is often easier just to leave it out.

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/jaye16

That's the way I feel. Having a literal translation is of no benefit to the reader. Knowing the official title of course is the best way. I always research titles, names and other proper nouns to learn what the accepted English version is. The two sites given by CecilieO. are excellent I only wish everyone used them.

April 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/CecilieO.

Hm, if duolingo had a good guideline on-site, I would probably encourage them to add some marker like TitleX (lit.trans: x). Unfortunatly it's not encouraged to add such markers in the text, even if they would be helpfull.

And while I'm making wishes, I wish there was a way to encourage people to research, it could possibly make the quality of the translations to go up a lot.

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/jaye16

This thread has some of the best advice ever and I agree with all of it (well what's here so far) Lingots for every comment out of gratitude.

April 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/psionpete

I agree with you about titles of films etc, although it would be useful if the English title was also given in brackets if it is known. It is no good just translating the title because the English version of the film may have a completely different title, so a translation may produce a non existent title.

Names are a little different, especially for famous people, as English readers may not know the original name. Your example of Charles the great is a good example. If I read Carlo Magno I may not associate that with Charles the Great. Another example is Cristobal Colon, who most English speakers will only know as Christopher Columbus. These should always be translated if you wish to be understood.

April 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sandrabruck

yes, I also want names to be translated but only if they are "real names" in English (like Christopher Columbus), but I don't want every "Giovanni" to become a "John". Because of this I prefer translations only of names listed in Wikipedia (or other common dictionaries).

Another problem is the use of loanwords/ foreign words (like Lira and Contrada), you can find many different plural forms in the translations (lira = lire or liras; contrada = contrade or contradas), I think it would be necessary to define how to utilise the plural forms. I am not familiar enough with the English language to know the rules of grammar (which in German obviously exist, and I also know them in Italian, but in English I have no idea).

Greetings Sandra

April 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Chuckstarrrr

Lol, "Cristobal Colon"! Sounds like a character from a Carry On film :)

"Charles" is definitely a very good name :D I did not realise "Charlemagne" was "Charles the Great", but then I have never really been into history. I'm mainly a techy buff.

What a place this DL is, you learn about things other than language, love it :D

April 4, 2014
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