I am writing a thesis in the Swedish language, where convention for quotations is to use right quotes or guillemets: ” ” or » »
But what when I quote e.g. an English source…
The Church has always emphasized the “public” character of its own liturgy.
or German …
Diese Bewegung von ,,unten” nach ,,oben” ist weiterhin deutlich spürbar.
Should I keep the quotation marks from the original source in the quoted text or change quotation marks according to the convention used in the rest of my text?
The second example above would then be rendered like this in my Swedish manuscript:
Glaser skriver att: “Diese Bewegung von ,,unten” nach ,,oben” ist weiterhin deutlich spürbar.”
Glaser skriver att:”Diese Bewegung von ‘unten‘ nach ‘oben‘ ist weiterhin deutlich spürbar.”
Quotes are punctuation.
Punctuation should always match the language of the reader. Or the primary language of the piece.
You would not use the Spanish exclamation settings in a German written piece.
- If the piece is written in English, with a few quoted Swedish phrases, use English quote marks.
- If the piece is written in Swedish, with a few quoted English phrases, use Swedish quotes.
Using foreign quote marks in a piece may look more interesting, they will however confuse the reader in most cases.
Perdue actually has guidelines for their thesis writings which support this viewpoint:
Keeping the whole sentence untranslated is a strategy that you could use when you are expecting your readers to know the language to some degree, or if you decide that the readers would benefit from reading and appreciating the original text. This is also the case, when the sentence might not be recognizable as an English translation, but is very well known in the original version.
Wisława Szymborska once wrote, “Tyle o sobie wiemy, na ile nas sprawdzono.” („We know ourselves only as far as we’ve been tested.”; 7)
Some texts that you are using might already contain specific formatting in a non-English language. In the example below, part of the quotation was written in italics. Preserve that original formatting in your quotation.
Gloria Anzaldúa switches between two languages when she talks about her childhood: “En boca cerrada no entran moscas. ‘Flies don’t enter a closed mouth’ is a saying I kept hearing when I was a child.” (2947)