Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Indexing in Spanish
© Francine Cronshaw All rights reserved
say a publisher has already published the English edition of a certain title.
Do you translate the index for the Spanish-language edition?
R.† No, Iíve
never done that and let me tell you why. To translate the index would mean that
all the text in English (the source language) is exactly the same as the text
in the Spanish version (the target language). That doesnít happen. Also, letís
take into account the 15% expansion factor when a document is translated from
English to Spanish. So itís already longer, which messes up the pagination.
Reading the Spanish book is already necessary. Secondly, translations never
match the original source manuscript exactly. Not many translators would claim
their profession is a science; it has too much of art. Many cultural nuances
canít just be translated; they need some kind of explanation or contextual
cues. Therefore the text is changing, as well as the page numbers. Occasionally
concepts canít be translated; if they are minor features of the overall
argument of the book, they may just be deleted. Those omissions will also
change the character of the index. The index in the second language will not be
Now, since the indexer already has
to read the whole book in Spanish in the quest for accuracy (and quality
control), why not just create a whole new index to clearly reflect the Spanish
edition rather than the original work in English?
it take any longer to create an index in Spanish than an English one?
R.† No, itís
about the same amount of time (Iím bilingual). The rule of thumb is a two-week
minimum, in order to get to know the book well. That goes for either language.
Longer books will naturally require more attention.
do you manage quality control?
R.† The same as
with books in English: using a spell-check and a checklist of format and
editing particular to every book. In addition, we use a Spanish name authority
to check personal names treated inconsistently in the text.
editor foresees a series where companion volumes are published in Spanish and
English. Do you recommend the same indexer for both languages?
R.† We provide
precisely that service to publishers on a regular basis. Editors seem to like
the overall consistency between the indexes in each language.
language is easier to index?
R.† Thatís a
tough one to answer in a concise way, but generally English is a more precise
and technical language and lends itself more easily to indexes. Managing to
find elegant solutions to rather lengthy terms and ideas in Spanish is a highly
enjoyable challenge, however.
do you conserve diacriticals when transmitting completed indexes online?
R.† We save the
final version in Word, using rich text format. It does a terrific job of
keeping Spanish diacriticals where they should be.