I am currently in the process of translating a lecture on the étale topology by John Hubbard from French into English (and from transparencies into Beamer). For the most part, the translation is going smoothly, but sometimes I wish I had more resources for translating technical terms.

Now I’m wondering: what are some resources which you have found useful for mathematical translation? For a given language, what are some of the tricky terms which deviate the most from English?

MathOverflow Asked by Matt Noonan on January 5, 2022

7 AnswersThis one looks far more interesting than google translate. I tested it at least for the German-English-German and the French-English-French and I found it more reliable for natural language processing and far more accurate:

Answered by PerelMan on January 5, 2022

Concerning "tricky terms that deviate most from English": It seems that many languages agree on the meaning of the words that look like "actual" (French "actuel", German "aktuell", and I think also Polish and Russian), namely that they mean "current" or "contemporary" --- not actual.

There seems to be a similar situation with (words that look like) "eventual".

Answered by Andreas Blass on January 5, 2022

I have found people that do high-quality math translations at very resonable rates on Craigslist. The going professional rate seems to be on the order of 30-40 cents per word. Rates on Craigslist are 1/4 of this. Given the small number of actual words in many mathematics papers this is for me an efficient way to "get 'er done." Plus you end up with a translated copy of the paper.

Answered by Scott Guthery on January 5, 2022

For translation to and from French, I'd recommend GrandDictionnaire.com. It's generally quite complete for technical and scientific terms (including mathematics). Descriptions are in French though.

(And it has the correct answer to your example of variété/manifold)

Answered by Bossykena on January 5, 2022

I've found that Google has a translator application which is wonderful. If you type in a sentence, it does the correct translation; it has even known mathematical terms when presented in the correct context. It is my first resource for help with translations.

Answered by Ben Weiss on January 5, 2022

I've found the German math word list here to be quite useful.

Answered by Alison Miller on January 5, 2022

I think the Cornell mathematics library has a little math technobabble dictionary for converting between various standard languages like English, French and German.

Ask at the desk. If that doesn't work, ask Jim West because I think he's the guy that pointed it out to me. It used to be on that central shelf that's sitting in front of the main door to the library.

edit: if you find out the name of the dictionary, please post it here.

Answered by Ryan Budney on January 5, 2022

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