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Policies & Practices > dual-language books

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message 1: by Conrad (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:21AM) (new)

Conrad | 2 comments Should dual-language texts (the side by side kind, like Loeb classics) be combined with single language editions?


message 2: by Elizabeth, Chief Wordsmith (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:21AM) (new)

Elizabeth | 13 comments Mod
That's a really tough question.

My initial thought is no, but I could be convinced otherwise. Do you think that people use dual-language books for a different purpose than single language books? If so, I guess it's probably better to keep them separate, but if the majority of this group thinks that they are used interchangeably, let's combine.

Right now, because I'm so conflicted on this, I'd rather err on the safe side by keeping them separate. Conrad, what do you think?


message 3: by Sere (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:21AM) (new)

Sere | 4 comments Even if most people used dual-language books as a single language book, I still wouldn't archive them as single language editions. After all, there *are* 2 versions of the same book there. Just my 2 cents


message 4: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:21AM) (new)

Kate (kate-schmate) | 6 comments So long as we're not combining editions of a book written in different languages (indeed, as we shouldn't), I don't think we should combine dual-language editions with single-language either. After all, if an English and German edition is published, who's to say whether it should be combined with the English title or the German? We would avoid that question and keep the titles more cleanly organized by keeping these separate.


message 5: by Otis, Chief Architect (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:22AM) (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
Here are my thoughts on this thread.

What I think most of us want out of combining editions is a single logical entity that allows us to talk about a book like "Huckleberry Finn" as a single work. Whether we are talking about the Spanish or German or Persian translation is irrelevant, as long as the translations are similar. In other words, if the translator was just trying to translate it and not change the book significantly, then its pretty much the same book. So thats why so far in the suggestions we've said editions in other languages should be combined.

However when a translator is doing more interpretation, having to translate cultural differences, then it can be argued that the translator has produced a distinct work. Many translations of ancient Latin texts have this issue.

So for dual-language books, it depends on what kind of translation it is. If its just a straight translation (I know, these things aren't defined clearly) I would say it should be combined.

In general, the rule I like is to just ask "Is this work significantly different from the other editions?" If so, it shouldn't be combined.

After thinking through all this, maybe what we need as we get more complicated is more tools. Maybe all editions should be combined for display purposes but then there should be 'sub-editions' within each combined work that are for books that are slightly different translations or textbook versions. Then you could view the book page for either the total work or any of the 'sub-editions'. This is getting complicated though, so I think I'm going to go get some coffee :)


message 6: by Ali (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:22AM) (new)

Ali I'm agree with Otis in priciple, as far as translated books are concerned, no matter in what language, but what about books in other languages e.g. Persian, which don't exist in any other languages? Shall we write some specifics about the book in English? Where? in Description part, or as I do in Review of the book? Or just let them be in Persian? My problem / question is leaving them be registered in Persian / German / Spanish or so, with no description in English, seems kind of Ghettos, (separated) not very much communicative ...Just my 2 cents as Xsxsxs used to say!


message 7: by Sere (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:22AM) (new)

Sere | 4 comments Otis, I agree with you! I hadn't thought of prose translations and such! Hm, I wonder why is so difficult to see if a particular edition is just a straight translation or not? Most of the dual books I can find here in Italy clearly state what kind of translation is that. I'm just curious.

Ali, I think a brief description in English is a must, even if a book hasn't been translated into English (or any other language) yet. I registered an account here to find new books to read, possibly of writers I've never heard of or had a chance to read, and I assume most users here did the same. If there's no description (or review) in English, how can we decide if a certain book or author is worth reading? How can we get to know new writers? It kind of defeat the purpose of such site, imho.


message 8: by Sere (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:24AM) (new)

Sere | 4 comments Ali, check this FAQ Zhttp://www.goodreads.com/about/help#l.... I'm not a librarian myself so I don't know if there are more rules or not.


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