Criteria for translations into English

Translating is a balancing act. On the one hand, translators must strive for maximum fidelity to the substance and tone of the source text; on the other, they must ensure the readability, idiomatic nature and comprehensibility of the translation itself, particularly for readers who may not be familiar with the source language and culture. Depending on the exact nature of the source text, this can variously require straightforward translation, parenthetical explanations or even minor changes in content (e.g. when dealing with idioms or culturally specific metaphors).

The overall goal of these guidelines is to help ensure the consistency of the translations produced by and for the UOC – and to maximize the comprehension and readability thereof – by providing answers to certain common questions regarding our house style. This notwithstanding, it is important to distinguish between translations to be published by the UOC and translations to be published elsewhere. For UOC texts, the following guidelines should be used; for texts to be published elsewhere, translators should follow the relevant publisher's guidelines or check with the author.

What general conventions should I follow when translating into English?

Unless otherwise explicitly stated by the end client or target journal, the UOC prefers to use BrE spellings and conventions.

Likewise, unless specifically requested to do otherwise by the end client or target journal, do not convert currencies and units of measure (temperatures, weights, lengths, etc.).

Occasionally, a text will make a reference to a cultural phenomenon or concept with no direct equivalent in English (e.g. el seny i la rauxa, culé, capgrossos). In such cases, leave the term in the source language, but provide a brief descriptive translation in brackets on first mention.

For more detailed explanations of our criteria, click on What should and shouldn't I translate? (also at the top of this page).