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Translating names of places

Just wanted to get some advice/opinions on whether or not to translate names of places and streets. For example, if presented with "Museo Nacional de Antropología" would you translate this into English or not? So far, I've been leaving these sort of things in their original language with a translation in brackets, since I figure it's a name of something and so should be left as is. What do you think?

December 5, 2012



Hi Beshore_Blue. This is a question that has plagued me too. I try to do some research to see if the place has a common English translation (Wikipedia can be great for that, as well as just general Google searches). If so, I use it. If it doesn't appear to, then I'll leave it untranslated. As an example, often in the "music category", translations will mention band names. Often, taken in a vacuum, these names can be translated into English, but I don't, because that's the proper name of the band, and if I were to buy the CD in the U.S., the band name would still be the same. As a specific example, "Kraftwerk", a German electronic rock group from the before-times, is (was) well known in the U.S. and they were known here as "Kraftwerk", not "Power Station". When talking about the band, I would not consider translating their name. On the other hand, the city Germans call "Köln", English speaking countries know as "Cologne", and in that case I would use "Cologne" in my translation.

In the case of names of bands, organizations, groups, even buildings (like hotels, galleries, convention centers, etc.), you can often find versions of their websites in English. If they translate their names on their English websites, I will probably translate their names too. If not, I won't either.


Thank you very much. That was very helpful!

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