University name translations from French to English?
February 13, 2017 7:16 AM   Subscribe

As a favor to a lovely colleague, I'm translating her resume from French to English. She has worked and studied mainly in Morocco and Quebec, and her former employers and universities obviously have French names. Is there a recommended way to put these on an English-language resume?

For example: Should, "Centre international de formation de la profession bancaire, Maroc," just be translated straight-up? I've been trying to visit the various business and educational sites to see if they have a preferred English translation they use, but a few don't. Would it be good or bad to sometimes leave the French and follow it with a translation in parentheses? Thank you so much for any help you can offer!
posted by lauranesson to Work & Money (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My own preference, as an academic historian and department chair, is to see the original and then, in parentheses or brackets, an English translation, unless it's too obvious to translate. I wouldn't bother to translate "Université de Laval," for instance. But most non-francophones wouldn't understand what "formation de la profession bancaire" is, even if they could figure out that it was an international center of something, so that should be translated.
posted by brianogilvie at 7:22 AM on February 13, 2017 [14 favorites]

I would expect universities' and employers' names to be in the original language -- that's their names. If it's translated but the translated name isn't one the institution actually uses or says is its name in English, I might suspect that you're referring to a possibly sketchy English institution in the foreign country that isn't the same as the "real" one. Therefore, I'd use English exclusively only if there is an official English language name (such as Doctors Without Borders instead of Médecins Sans Frontieres). Include an additional, parenthetical translation only if it's important for understanding. I'd include a parenthetical for the example you gave, but not, say, for "Ecole Polytechnique".

Also, I'm not sure if this is an issue from your example, but when the location of the employer or university isn't part of the name, I'd put in English. For example, "Université Cadi Ayyad, Marrakesh, Morocco," not "Université Cadi Ayyad, Marrakech, Moroc."
posted by alligatorpear at 7:42 AM on February 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Could you give the institution's name in the original language, and then describe the degree she obtained (or the work she did) in English? For example:
Centre international de formation de la profession bancaire, Maroc, 2013–2015. Two-year full-time degree in accounting.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:01 AM on February 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: FR-EN translator here chiming in to say: Keep the university name in French, translate the location and the degree.
posted by Tamanna at 8:22 AM on February 13, 2017 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Another FR-EN translator nthing what others have said.

Keep the university name in French, translate location and degree and honors, if any – if the honors are French, keep them in French with a translation in parentheses in English. FWIW the rough equivalents are: mention très bien = with highest honours/summa cum laude; mention bien = with high honours/magna cum laude; mention assez bien = with honours/cum laude.
posted by fraula at 9:55 AM on February 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I used to work at a scholarly journal with contributors from all over the world. I always gave the institution in the original language, with an English translation in parentheses.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:32 AM on February 13, 2017

My situation is similar to your friend's (US citizen, but I spent my first few post-college years working in francophone countries) and I do what Johnny Assay suggested on my resume. No one has ever had a problem with it.

All of my job titles had direct English equivalents, so YMMV if that isn't the case, but I use the following format: Organization Name in French, English Equivalent Job Title, City, Country, 2007-2009.
posted by cimton at 4:19 PM on February 13, 2017

Response by poster: Thank you all! This was exactly the advice I needed. I did indeed translate the degrees and job titles, and "Université du Québec à Montréal" seems pretty self-explanatory.
posted by lauranesson at 5:44 PM on February 13, 2017

Yes, belated response on your follow-up: For many of us, UQAM is enough, but "Université du Québec à Montréal" is better for the vast unwashed!
posted by brianogilvie at 7:43 PM on March 10, 2017

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