Explanatory Translator's Notes
Persoa que publicou o fío: Alice Bevilacqua

Alice Bevilacqua
Italy
Local time: 21:54
English to Italian
Aug 7

I am currently working on a translation from Italian into English for a US audience: the source text is about the history of the University of Bologna, and I am not sure whether or not it would be acceptable for me to include footnotes (or perhaps notes on a different document?) giving brief information on the Italian historical figures mentioned. Many are only immediately well-known in Italy and I am worried that the overall target text would lose substance if there is not much to highlight the... See more
I am currently working on a translation from Italian into English for a US audience: the source text is about the history of the University of Bologna, and I am not sure whether or not it would be acceptable for me to include footnotes (or perhaps notes on a different document?) giving brief information on the Italian historical figures mentioned. Many are only immediately well-known in Italy and I am worried that the overall target text would lose substance if there is not much to highlight the University's prominent alumni. At the same time, I feel it might be perceived as a patronizing behavior to presume such a thing!

Any suggestion or resource to give me guidelines is greatly appreciated, thank you.
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Daniel Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:54
Membro (2018)
German to English
+ ...
Ask the client Aug 7

I think the answer to this one depends on what your client wants. As a historian myself, my instinct would be to write all sorts of notes, but some clients don't appreciate that. It might be worth sending them an e-mail (or picking up the phone), pointing out that there are a lot of references to figures that may not be familiar to a US and/or English-speaking audience and offering to write some explanatory notes if the client would find them useful.

Morano El-Kholy
yam2u
Alison Le Douarec
Teresa Borges
Alice Bevilacqua
Giuliana Maltempo
neilmac
 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:54
German to English
Consult with the client Aug 7

The client may have certain preferences, depending on the intended audience. Personages associated with the university such as Enzo Ferrari or Marconi may be familiar to many, whereas Carlo Severini or Alberto Bolognetti may be unknown to the average educated reader. It never hurts to ask!

Morano El-Kholy
yam2u
Alison Le Douarec
Teresa Borges
Alice Bevilacqua
Giuliana Maltempo
neilmac
 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:54
Membro (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
At most, only minimal notes would be at all acceptable Aug 7

At most, one sees brief and minimal notes clarifying (for example) unfamiliar terms or historical references, or puns in the original that are untranslatable. I have never read a translated work that includes extensive translator's notes.

And many translated works include no notes at all.


yam2u
Teresa Borges
Alice Bevilacqua
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
Giuliana Maltempo
 

Alice Bevilacqua
Italy
Local time: 21:54
English to Italian
INICIO DE TEMA
It truly is the client's call Aug 7

Daniel Williams wrote:

I think the answer to this one depends on what your client wants. As a historian myself, my instinct would be to write all sorts of notes, but some clients don't appreciate that. It might be worth sending them an e-mail (or picking up the phone), pointing out that there are a lot of references to figures that may not be familiar to a US and/or English-speaking audience and offering to write some explanatory notes if the client would find them useful.


Thank you, I truly couldn't find any guideline and it really has to be the client's decision in this case, because I see many pros and cons to both choices, thank you for the advice.


 

Alice Bevilacqua
Italy
Local time: 21:54
English to Italian
INICIO DE TEMA
It never hurts to ask indeed Aug 7

Kevin Fulton wrote:

The client may have certain preferences, depending on the intended audience. Personages associated with the university such as Enzo Ferrari or Marconi may be familiar to many, whereas Carlo Severini or Alberto Bolognetti may be unknown to the average educated reader. It never hurts to ask!


As you point out, many names are already widely known but this poses the question of how to pick those that need to be explained, potentially making my notes very long to include everyone. Will follow the advice because I cannot decide otherwise, thank you!


 

Alice Bevilacqua
Italy
Local time: 21:54
English to Italian
INICIO DE TEMA
This was exactly my main concern Aug 7

Robert Forstag wrote:

At most, one sees brief and minimal notes clarifying (for example) unfamiliar terms or historical references, or puns in the original that are untranslatable. I have never read a translated work that includes extensive translator's notes.

And many translated works include no notes at all.


The type of notes I considered adding would really make the translation heavier, and it already feels somewhat weird to see the few I made for now. I might suggest not to include any at all, thank you for your remarks!


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 13:54
Membro (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Also... Aug 8

Alice Bevilacqua wrote:

Robert Forstag wrote:

At most, one sees brief and minimal notes clarifying (for example) unfamiliar terms or historical references, or puns in the original that are untranslatable. I have never read a translated work that includes extensive translator's notes.

And many translated works include no notes at all.


The type of notes I considered adding would really make the translation heavier, and it already feels somewhat weird to see the few I made for now. I might suggest not to include any at all, thank you for your remarks!


Of course, check with your client but I agree with Robert that minimal notes are probably best. Extensive notes are appropriate in scientific articles but not in texts meant for a general audience. Don't forget that, if readers are really interested, they can look these names up on the web.


Alice Bevilacqua
 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:54
Membro (2006)
French to English
+ ...
An alternative Aug 11

I absolutely agree with previous comments that you need to consult the client about this. However, subject to the client's agreement, I would suggest that, rather than using translator's notes, you could insert a brief explanation in the text e.g. "Carlo Severini, the eminent mathematician".

[Edited at 2020-08-11 12:58 GMT]


Chris S
 

David Lee
United States
Explanatory Translator's Notes Aug 22

Great! It may be familiar to many to a US and/or English-speaking audience.

But many translation works do not include any notes.


 


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