Q. I have translated a German-language publication and am prepared to publish. But at the last minute I face a challenge from the author. In her work she used the term “Erneuerungsbewegung” (Renewal Movement) extensively. She consistently placed the German term within quotation marks in her work. I am now requested to do the same with “Renewal Movement.” Her explanation is that “Erneuerungsbewegung” is a self-designated, political term. Is her request valid?
A. If the Renewal Movement is an official organization (with headquarters, officers, letterhead), then quotation marks are overkill and would almost certainly be removed by a copyeditor. On the other hand, if the movement is an unofficial one and the designation inaccurate or tongue-in-cheek or in some other way deserving of scare quotes, then quotation marks are appropriate, perhaps without the caps. Repeated use of optional quotation marks is distracting in a text, so if you can work with the author to find a way to refer to this movement in a way that doesn’t require quoting it, that would be best.