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When do I have to translate people's names?

 

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  #1  
Old August 12, 2012, 10:24 PM
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When do I have to translate people's names?

I observed that Biblical names are always translated to Spanish, and so are papal names. I thought that, for all other names, they are spelled as-is, either from the person's native language or via the closest English version of the name... but then I saw Maria Sharapova's entry in the Spanish Wikipedia and saw that her name there was made Hispanic.

Furthermore, the textbook that I'm reading suggests translating Charles and Mary to Carlos y María, and vice-versa.

So when do we translate people's names to Spanish?
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  #2  
Old August 12, 2012, 10:36 PM
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Not that I know the answer, but I do know that the Bible was not written in English, Spanish, or most languages originally. I believe it was written in Hebrew and all of the names that we read have already been translated into the language we use. I suppose we would have to know what the original names were in the original language.

Just my

Last edited by caliber1; August 12, 2012 at 10:44 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old August 12, 2012, 11:37 PM
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Names are not always translated. There is no mandate to do so. Indeed, many names are intentionally left untranslated, even if there is an equivalent or close equivalent.

There are some English-speaking parents that give their children foreign names and I know hispanic people living in Spanish-speaking countries that give English names to their children. I suppose this happens the world over. So, there is no real point in translating these names.

As caliber1 said, the "English" names we see in the Bible are a translation from another language (the original name can be found in most instances, and it isn't always Hebrew). Some of the names, especially place names, have been left untranslated (appearing in romanized fashion so we can set them in type).

Even the names of celebrities and other famous people are not always translated into Spanish, even though there may be a Spanish equivalent. I think everyone knows who Tom Cruise is. In the Spanish-speaking countries, they may not pronounce his name exactly like we do in American English, but they associate the person with the way they pronounce his name and don't need to hear Tomás Cruzero to recognize him. By the same token, we English-speaking music lovers recognize the name Guiseppe Verdi, and wouldn't ever think of calling him Joseph Green, which is the same name translated into English.
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Old August 13, 2012, 12:05 AM
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I agree with the above answers.
Just mention that while I am far from being a Bible specialist, I believe it was originally written an Aramean (or Aramaic), not in Hebrew... well, Random House gives,
Biblical Aramaic,
a Semitic language that was the vernacular in Palestine in the time of Christ and in which a few sections of the Old Testament are written.

Not sure about the language the rest of it (New Testament, etc.) was written in. I believe Greek was one of the key languages... but that's another subject, anyway.

A while ago I got to read some "Royal" magazines and found that Kings and Queens names ARE translated into Spanish... Like "Elizabeth II" is called in the Spanish magazines "Isabel II" (Isabel Segunda)... and the same goes for all the Royal families from all over Europe...

No doubt anyone will know an important actor like Pablo Nuevohombre (of course I am joking now), or Juan Camino-Ne, not to mention Pedro Vendedores or many others that one will have to do some gymnastics, to get their actual names... which should never be translated.

Frankie the Limper, as a humorous reference to the thirty-second president of the USA, (F. D. Roosevelt) could be "translated" as "Frankie, el renco" or some such (always with all due respect).

"El Cid" which in Arab meant "el Señor", will never be translated or "altered", as "Cid" is "Cid" as a "proper name"...
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Old August 13, 2012, 08:45 AM
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I agree with everyone about the translation of names specifically in the Bible.

As far as when you should? I don't think you ever should. At least not proper names. Unless you are doing it just for the sake of becoming more familiar with a language and using it as a learning tool...

My
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Old August 13, 2012, 11:36 AM
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I agree with Elaina, but also want to say that some people may have "several names".

Like, "Johan Cruyff" whose 'actual' name is Hendrik Johannes Cruijff.
In a DVD about him, when he talks about his son "Jordi Cruyff", they asked him, when naming the baby, if it was "Jorge"... to which he responded that "it was not 'Jorge', but 'Jordi'. That in itself could be an assertion of freedom of election, and also using a language as a means of vindication...

My Catalan friends used to call me "Pau" instead of "Pablo", and I felt at ease with that, but again that's a personal choice...

Proper names should stay in their original form, even if an Italian name like the Nobel Price "Dario Fo" (which is pronounced in Italian with stress in the first syllable, "rioFó") is said in Spanish as "Darío Fó"... but those are just details...
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Old August 13, 2012, 09:45 PM
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Your explanations all make so much sense. Thank you for clarifying the issue (esp. regarding Biblical names)!
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Old August 14, 2012, 01:40 PM
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The Old Testament is largely classical Hebrew with a few chapters in Aramaic, but some of the names are Egyptian, Babylonian, etc. The New Testament is largely vernacular Greek with a few Aramaic words (usually glossed, including some Aramaic names), but some of the names are Latin.

Given that Hebrew names from the Old Testament are Hellenified in the New Testament, it would seem a rational translation decision to translate names uniformly. However, no translation into English or Spanish which I'm aware of translates ʼΙησους as Joshua / Josué, and there are other minor inconsistencies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPablo View Post
A while ago I got to read some "Royal" magazines and found that Kings and Queens names ARE translated into Spanish... Like "Elizabeth II" is called in the Spanish magazines "Isabel II" (Isabel Segunda)... and the same goes for all the Royal families from all over Europe...
Yes. This gets really weird when you're reading a newspaper in which it translates the name of a royal and in the same article doesn't translate the name of a politician from the same country. Similarly with some books. I recently read a translation of Stendhal's Le rouge et le noir into Spanish, and although the main character is still Julien (not Julián), and it even keeps accents for names like de Rênal, kings are referred to as e.g. Luis XIV, so I have to translate back into French to match the name up with the famous Roi Soleil.
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Old August 14, 2012, 02:00 PM
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Thanks for the clarification on the Biblical languages...

Yes, these usages and translations can get a bit confusing, but I guess one can get use to whatever convention is agreed upon...
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Old August 20, 2012, 08:56 AM
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Yo tengo entendido que se traducen los nombres de personajes históricos/mitológicos/ bíblicos, conocidos. También existe la adaptación del nombre de pila cuando el nombre extranjero tiene correspondencia en la lengua de llegada, pero esto último no es una norma.

Los nombres propios de la realeza históricamente siempre se han adaptado, ahí tenemos al Príncipe Carlos, y el nombre del Papa también, ahora bien, los nombres propios de personas de a pie, NO se traducen, yo me llamo Andrés aquí y en la conchinchina, aunque mi tía se empeñe en llamarme "Andreu" y una amiga mía "Andrew" xD
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