Translation. Names

    The content of these guidelines is taken from the Vives University Network’s Interuniversity Style Guide for Writing Institutional Texts, an interuniversity project in which the UPC participated with the support of the Secretariat for Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia.


    People's names

    • Maintain the accents in people's names (for example, Sílvia). Write out the abbreviations M. and M.ª in full as Maria. Respect the way people write their surnames: if they use an i to connect their first and second surnames, do not translate it, remove it or replace it with a hyphen. Likewise, if they do not use a connecting i, do not add one.


    Public figures

    • Generally speaking, do not translate the names of public figures. For example, royalty should be referred to in the original language.

      King John Charles King Juan Carlos

    • However, there are some exceptions. Popes should be referred to by the English equivalent of their papal names. Likewise, transliteration of names in non-Latin scripts can cause problems (a notable example being Gadhafi). For additional details, see Appendix II: Resources and further reading.

    • Well-known Catalan figures are often referred to in foreign media by the Spanish version of their first name. Use the Catalan version, unless there is a clear and well-founded tradition otherwise. Thus, Pau Casals, but José Carreras.


    Historical figures

    • Only translate the names of famous figures from history when they have a well-established English translation.

      Alexander the Great Catherine of Aragon Wilfred the Hairy


    Place names: towns and cities

    • Refer to towns and cities within Catalonia by their Catalan names.

      Gerona Girona
      Lérida Lleida

    • Beyond the boundaries of Catalonia, things become more complicated. This guide recommends using the most widely accepted name.

      Alicante Valencia Zaragoza

    • Avoid the use of demonyms (words used to describe inhabitants) for towns and cities. Use the inhabitants of Barcelona or the people of Barcelona, rather than Barcelonans.

    • Do not translate addresses, but if they can be made more understandable or easier to read for an English-speaking audience, then this is advisable.

    • Transcribe the first letter of lower-case Catalan terms such as avinguda, carrer, carretera, passeig and plaça in upper case for English-speaking audiences even though these are lowercased in Catalan (so Carrer Sant Pau, Avinguda Diagonal, etc.).

    • Write out the full address rather than using abbreviations (so for pl. de Catalunya, write Plaça de Catalunya).

    • Floor and door numbers should be expressed in cardinal rather than ordinal numbers (i.e., 1, 2 rather than 1st, 2nd).


    Place names: geographical areas

    • Only translate the names of geographical areas if there is a well-established English translation.

      the Balearic Islands the Basque Country Catalonia

    • When there is no well-established English translation, consider the context. For example, the term autonomous community should be avoided, but may be required on occasions when it is vital to express the particular nature of the political divisions in Spain.

    • The demonym for Catalonia is Catalan (not Catalonian).


    Place names: rivers and lakes

    • Do not translate the names of rivers and lakes (River Sec) unless there is a well-established English version (River Danube).


    Place names: seas

    • Translate the names of seas. A notable example is the Bay of Biscay (rather than the Cantabrian Sea).


    Place names: islands

    • Translate the names of islands.

      Majorca, Minorca, Ibica, Formentera (the Balearic Islands)
      Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily

    • Ibiza and Formentera together are also known as the Pine Islands.


    Place names: mountain ranges

    • Translate the names of mountain ranges when there is a well-established English translation.

      the Alps the Pyrenees

    • Do not translate them when there is not.

      the Picos de Europa the Serra de Tramuntana


    Place names: landmarks and buildings

    • Generally speaking, do not translate the names of landmarks and buildings.

    • However, there are some exceptions such as the Catalan Parliament building or the Great Wall of China.

    • Likewise, descriptive translations may be used to make references clearer: for example, the Les Àligues building at the University of Girona or the Camp Nou stadium.


    Public institutions

    • Generally speaking, translate the names of public institutions. If the original is required, use it on first mention with a descriptive translation in brackets. Use the translation on subsequent mention. Examples include Generalitat Valenciana (the Valencian government) and Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police force).

    • Organisations with abbreviations should be translated but the abbreviation should be maintained and used on subsequent mention: Spanish Royal Academy (RAE) or European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). As can be seen above, use lower case for descriptive translations into English, but maintain capitals when you are translating proper names word for word or using established English versions.


    • Translate the names of universities, unless otherwise stipulated by the university in question itself. Below is a list of the names of Vives Network universities to be used when writing in English.

      Universitat Abat Oliba CEU

      Abat Oliba CEU University

      Universitat d’Alacant University of Alacant
      Universitat d’Andorra

      Universitat d’Andorra

      Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
      Universitat de Barcelona University of Barcelona
      Universitat de Girona University of Girona
      Universitat de les Illes Balears University of the Balearic Islands
      Universitat de Perpinyà Via Domitia University of Perpignan Via Domitia
      Universitat de Sàsser University of Sassari
      Universitat Internacional de Catalunya Universitat Internacional de Catalunya
      Universitat Jaume I Universitat Jaume I
      Universitat de Lleida University of Lleida

      Universitat  Hernández d’Elx

      Miguel Hernández University of Elche
      Universitat Oberta de Catalunya Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC)
      Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
      Universitat Politècnica de València Universitat Politècnica de València
      Universitat Pompeu Fabra Pompeu Fabra University
      Universitat Rovira i Virgili Universitat Rovira i Virgili
      Universitat de València University of Valencia
      Universitat de Vic University of Vic

    • University names that incorporate a proper noun, such as Miguel Hernández University of Elche, should include the definite article in running text.

      The Miguel Hernández University of Elche is a public university.



    • Translate the names of courses.

      English I Roman Law II


    Public lectures

    • Do not translate the titles of public lectures. However, they may be accompanied by a descriptive translation in brackets where deemed appropriate.

      Educació, aprenentatge i tecnologia a la societat del coneixement (Education, learning and technology in the knowledge society)


    Books, music and art

      • Do not translate the names of books. If there is an English translation of the book, give this in brackets. Nonetheless, avoid any possible confusion about which version of the work is being referred to. Do not translate the names of musical and art works unless there is a well-established English translation.

        Cervantes's Don Quijote (Don Quixote)
        Verdaguer's A Barcelona (To Barcelona)
        Mallo's Muller con cabra
        Miró's Pla de l'Os
        Casals's Song of the Birds



    • Translate the names of awards. Examples include the Catalan government's Saint George's Cross or the Max Theatre Awards.



    • Translate the names of museums, but refer to them on subsequent mention by their abbreviation if they have one: for example, the Catalan National Museum of Art (MNAC).


    Political parties and unions

    • Translate the names of political parties and unions in brackets on first mention. Use the original abbreviation, where applicable, on subsequent mention.

      the Partido Popular (People's Party, PP)
      the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya (Socialist Party of Catalonia, PSC)
      the Unión General de Trabajadores (General Workers' Union, UGT)


    Official gazettes

    • Translate the names of the governmental gazettes, accompanied by their original abbreviation.

      Official Gazette of the Government of Catalonia (DOGC)
      Official Gazette of the Government of Spain (BOE)
      Official Gazette of the Government of Valencia (DOCV)



    • Do not translate company names, although a descriptive translation in brackets may be deemed useful on occasions.

      Som Energia (a renewable energies cooperative)
      Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (a railway vehicle manufacturing company)


    Trade fairs and conferences

    • Translate the names of trade fairs and conferences. That said, if the trade fair or conference is referred to by its original abbreviation, this should be maintained in the translation. For example, CONSTRUMAT (International Construction Exhibition) and simply CONSTRUMAT on subsequent mention.