Notes from the Editor – December 2015

How to deal with quotations

When the text you are translating into English contains a quotation, and it is from a world-renowned figure, a well-known book, an article in an international newspaper or magazine, and so on, then you will likely find the original quotation in English. It’s that simple. You should translate the quote if, and only if, you are unable to find the quote in English.

This principle applies to all quotations, provided that it is a proper one, i.e., not made up.

The quote in Turkish below is from Audrey Hepburn. The translator did a very good job searching for and finding the original quote. His research skills allowed him to pinpoint the exact quote in English. He also included his source as a comment on Nubuto (our cloud-based transcreation platform).

“Yaşamak, bir müzeyi hızlıca gezmeye benzer.” 

Without this research a literal translation could be “Life is like a quick tour in a museum”. Did Audrey said that, of course not.

All you need to do is to search for certain key words in quotation marks to find exact results as in the following:

The first result gives you what you are looking for:

“Living is like tearing through a museum” was her original remark.

Research is key if you are transcreating quotes because you cannot simply back translate as an independent translator. You must find the original quote.