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Guidelines for Formatting Translations of LRO


From Charles Girard

1. Footnotes: there are 3 series of footnotes in the French:

(1) critical apparatus notes (a, b, c...)

(2) your humble editor’s notes: explanations, identifications, cross references. (1, 2, 3...)

(3) the letter writer’s own marginal notes or footnotes (#, *, +, or whatever he uses).

Because most word-processing programs can deal with only one set of footnotes (and not the 3 sets admitted by NotaBene), I offer these suggestions as to how to deal with these various notes:

(1) the apparatus notes are part of the French, a critical edition; they do not have a place in a translation and so should not be incorporated into the English translation. (Simply omit them.)

(2) the footnotes of explanation, identification, cross references, etc. remain valid in the translation, and so should be kept (as footnotes).

(3) for the letter writer’s own notes – most of which are not too long, 10 lines or less – I suggest that they be incorporated into the text in this way:

(a) use curley brackets {} at the beginning and end;
(b) put the sign which appears in the French text, such as #, *, + (superscripted and in bold);
(c) next, write [author’s note] (words in italics, within square brackets);
(d) the translation of the letter writer’s note;
(e) the whole could be set in a type size one point smaller than the regular text. (Only Bataillon on Wallis Island has some very long footnotes: Be inventive.)

2. Spelling of names: (a) Accents: If possible, generally retain the accents found in the French; although Épalle might be spelled Epalle and Élie-Régis might be Elie-Regis, names like Aimé, Macé and Françon would look funny (strange) if spelled Aime, Mace and Francon.

The breve accent (ă ŏ ŭ) used by Pezant for many Māori words/names (e.g. Tŏngăpŏrŭtu) might be omitted, but I leave this question to the Māori experts among the translators.

(b) Consistency in spelling of names: Sometimes, a writer will spell a name the way he hears it (e.g. Rosée for Rozet, Dubreuil for Dubreul). It would probably be better for the English translation to use the standard form (see list in vol. 10, pp. 19-21, "Noms des missionnaires").

Please note (and retain) the hyphen in names such as Petit-Jean and Elie-Regis.

For New Zealand Māori proper names, it might be well to use the accepted spelling throughout: some of our letter writers write "Wangaroa" for Whangaroa. The latter should perhaps be used throughout.

3. Capitalization: Follow English-language rules (different from the French). For example, Bay of Islands for Baie des îles. Capitalize proper adjectives (where French has lower case): English missionaries for missionnaires anglais.

4. Other problems may surface, and I will be happy to answer translators’ questions as they arise.

5. Nineteenth-century idiomatic expressions may be difficult to translate; I will try to help if you ask.

I can be reached by e-mail at this address:

Charley (Charles Girard, SM)


Caution: “monseigneur” should not be translated as “monsignor” which, in English usage, is an honorific title for a priest who is not a bishop. In French, the title is usually applied (and is certainly so in the Letters from Oceania) to a bishop and a vicar apostolic. So, it is usually better to put "bishop" or even "Bishop X" if you know who the Bishop is who is being referred to.

Titular Sees

The missionary bishops were initially given a notional diocese and are frequently referred to by that title. Please 'translate' such with the name of the bishop. eg Translate Monseigneur de Maronée as Bishop Pompallier

Titular See Bishop
Amata Douarre
Antiphelles Collomb
Axieri Jaussen
Enos Bataillon
Maronée Pompallier
Nilopolis Rouchouze
Orthosie Viard
Rhodiapolis Robert William Wilson
Sion Épalle

Footnotes in the translations

In general avoid these - the French is the critical edition and serious scholars can look there.
To learn how to put footnotes in a letter read the Editing help page

Paragraph Numbering

Number paragraphs of the original document with square brackets
Like this. The effect is achieved by putting a semicolon before and a colon after the square bracket.