Dan Matei wrote:
>> Dan, I'm not sure what you are describing with:
>>> <title xml:lang="ru">
>>> 	<value>Война и мир</value>
>>> 	<transliteration standard="?">Voyna i mir</transliteration>
>>> 	<translation xml:lang="en">
>>> 		<value>War and Peace</value>
>>> 		<transliteration standard="none"> Уор енб пеаке</transliteration>
>>> 	</translation>
>>> </title>
>> Is this describing a book in hand that is in Russian?
> :-) Good question ! I was thinking to a manifestation, i.e. an edition. But it could be an expression (the Tolstoy's 
> original).
> We can object to the idea of translating the title of an expression. But in scientific journals (and bibliographic 
> databases) is common practice, right ?

As far as I know, it isn't common in bibliographic databases, although 
the scientific journal article case does exist. I don't know how 
extensive it is. In music, there seem to be translations of titles, and 
those are unrelated to the translation of the resource, at least for 
those musical pieces without words.

With textual works, in general one has the translated title only when 
one has a translation of the resource. So it's not so much that the 
title has been translated but the whole thing has, making it a 
considerably different beast, IMO. At that point, it makes sense to me 
to identify it as the title of the English translation or of the Spanish 
translation, which isn't the same as a translation of the title.

There is someone on a project I'm working on whose native tongue is a 
minority one, and uses a script that is not common. That person feels 
strongly that there should be translations of titles for those who don't 
read or understand the original. That may be so, and I suppose if 
someone wants to translate the titles of books into that language we 
could use something like your sample code, above. But we need to make 
clear when we are talking about a translation of the title and when we 
have a manifestation with that title. There's a big difference between 
translating a scientific title, with the purpose of expressing its 
meaning to a reader, and producing a more creative translation to 
accompany a translated work. (Think of "Remembrance of things past," 
which has now been re-translated in English to "In search of lost time," 
which is a more direct rendering of the original.)

While I can see coding a translated title where that is the case, I'm 
basically not sure what it means to identify the language of a title 
(rather than the language of the text). There are dozens of books with 
the title "Marcel Proust" in a number of different languages. What is 
the language of those titles? Or, if I can use a non-text example, I 
once worked near a restaurant that called itself "Pasta Cuisine" -- a 
combination of Italian and French that, as many have pointed out, could 
probably only have been thought up by an American English speaker. What 
language would you call it?


Karen Coyle / Digital Library Consultant
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