Quoting and Translating
This resource provides information on strategies that the students can use when incorporating languages other than English in their academic texts.
Contributors: Aleksandra Swatek
Last Edited: 2017-06-11 11:15:55
Foreign Words and Phrases in an English Texts
In your research, you might find that certain key concepts important to your work do not have a direct English equivalent. In this case, keep the term in the foreign language and italicize it:
No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom. (Nabokov XXXIV)
After introducing the key term, you can explain to your audience the meaning of the term and how it might compare and contrast with similar terms they know. Using the word without explanation (e.g. anguish instead of toska) can be seen as misrepresenting the key term, because it does not invoke the other layers of meaning.
Popular Foreign Words
There are a number of commonly used foreign words, abbreviations and phrases that are part of American English: ad hoc, cliché, concerto, genre, sic, versus. Such popular words can be found in a dictionary and are considered a part of the English language. There is no need to translate them, unless they are used by the author in an innovative and unusual ways. In such case, you can provide more context for them.
Quotations Entirely in a Non-English Language
If you are quoting a whole sentence, you do not have to italicize the non-English words.
Wisława Szymborska once wrote, “Tyle o sobie wiemy, na ile nas sprawdzono.” (7)
Keeping the whole sentence untranslated is a strategy that you could use when you are expecting your readers to know the language to some degree, or if you decide that the readers would benefit from reading and appreciating the original text. This is also the case, when the sentence might not be recognizable as an English translation, but is very well known in the original version.
Wisława Szymborska once wrote, “Tyle o sobie wiemy, na ile nas sprawdzono.” ("We know ourselves only as far as we’ve been tested.”; 7)
Some texts that you are using might already contain specific formatting in a non-English language. In the example below, part of the quotation was written in italics. Preserve that original formatting in your quotation.
Gloria Anzaldúa switches between two languages when she talks about her childhood: “En boca cerrada no entran moscas. ‘Flies don’t enter a closed mouth’ is a saying I kept hearing when I was a child.” (2947)
In this quotation, Anzaldúa provides a direct translation of the saying she heard as a child. Note that the saying she heard in Spanish is kept in original (just as she heard it and as she wrote it – in italics). She also provided a translation of the saying to make it understandable for the readers who might not understand it otherwise.
A clear structure is highly important if you are looking to get a top grade in A Level Spanish. If you follow the same structure for every essay you write you will get into a routine so that by exam time it will come naturally!
To begin, a short introduction is necessary to outline what you are going to talk about within the essay. It may be useful to briefly contextualise the question here before stating the different themes you will be looking at throughout your essay.
You should be aiming for 3 main themes which will in effect transfrom into 3 paragraphs. Within each paragraph you should then be looking to make 3 valid and detailed points all related to your main theme. Each point should be backed up by specific examples relating to the book/film/play/author or whatever it may be that you have studied.
To neatly finish the essay, you should then write a conclusion which aims to answer the initial question. Be careful not to repeat your previous points and instead summarise them with slightly different wording. If you have clearly stated your opinion and answered the original question the reader will be left feeling content as the conclusion ties all of the loose ends together.
If you follow this structure with every A Level Spanish essay you write, coupled with a good vocabulary and knowledge of your topic you should be able to achieve a top grade in A Level Spanish.