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Translations and Transliterations

Translations

Many doctoral dissertations will rely extensively on primary and secondary sources in a foreign language.  The Faculty’s recommended practice is as follows: 

  • Direct quotations from primary sources (manuscript or print) and from any secondary source in a foreign language should be translated.  The dissertation writer, in consultation with the supervisor, can choose whether to quote the original source in the text with translation in the notes, or the other way around, provided both are there.

 

  • If the source is summarised or paraphrased in English in the text, it is sufficient simply to give the reference.  However, the appropriate treatment of foreign-language material may vary by the subject and subfield of the dissertation.  Therefore, the decision about whether foreign-language material should appear in the original only, in translation only, or both in the original and translation, is ultimately a decision to be taken by the student in consultation with the supervisor.

As the research design takes shape, the student and supervisor should reach an explicit agreement about how foreign language material is to be handled. When the thesis is submitted for examination, a note from the student should be enclosed; recording which option was agreed between student and supervisor, for the attention of the examiners.

Transliterations

Some dissertations will rely on sources written in scripts other than the Latin alphabet. 

In some cases, there are accepted conventions: for instance,

  • Hindi language transliteration should be based on the modern form of transliteration used in R S McGregor’s English-Hindi dictionary;

However, the appropriate treatment of quotations from non-Latin scripts may vary depending on the nature of the language or languages and on the character and field of the dissertation.  Therefore, the decision about handling transliteration issues must be taken by the student in consultation with the supervisor.

As the research design takes shape, the student and supervisor should reach an explicit agreement about how foreign language material is to be handled. When the thesis is submitted for examination, a note from the student should be enclosed; recording which option was agreed between student and supervisor, for the attention of the examiners.