Thursday, October 23, 2008

German quotes

Nijay has some thoughts on writing a dissertation. Along the way, he touches on something that we at Eisenbrauns think is important:

German quotes - OK, we are required to have international breadth in our research, so we must cite and interact with German and French lit. But, do we need to quote the German without an English translation? My question would be, why? The only reasons I can see why we would quote the German is because (1) we feel the wording of it is very important to the argument or (2) the German is rhetorically more appealing (i.e. a good sound-bite). There are those, I guess, who feel if a reader does not know German, he/she is out of luck. That’s just snobby, in my opinion. Are we saying we don’t want MA and undergrads to read our published theses? Are we that elitist? Well, I think we can have it both ways if we do this: Keep the German quotes in, but have an appendix in the back that has English translations of all German quotes.

<idle musing>
Good idea, except in Eisenbrauns books, we do it the other way around. We put the translation in the text and footnote the original. If the original is too long, we put it in an appendix. That way we keep the book accessible—as if Akkadian/Hittite/whatever is accessible!—to the beginner, but allow the purist to check the original. Now, if we could just get a few elitist bloggers to do the same... :)
</idle musing>

1 comment:

Bill Heroman said...

Hi, James. Thanks for this post. Since I piggybacked on it (if ever so slightly) tonight, I wonder if you might be one I could ask for a bit of feedback on my post? Hope you get a minute...