Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. I am writing a text in English, but most of the literature I am using is in Spanish. When I quote from the original in Spanish, where shall I put the translation: text or footnote? If I am using the Spanish edition of a foreign book, must I translate the quotation? How do I put that the translation is mine?

A. The trick in translating is to imagine your targeted readers and write for them. If you doubt that most of your readers know Spanish, put the English somewhere handy, either in the text or in a footnote. If the translation is not that important (because it’s short, or the context makes it obvious, or the Spanish words are cognates that most readers can figure out), you might skip it. A long quotation set off as a block can be followed by a block of translation. Shorter translations can go in parentheses in the text. “(My translation)” can follow, or you can simply say in a preface or footnote that all translations are yours unless noted otherwise. Please look at CMOS chapter 13 for detailed recommendations for foreign-language quotations.