I'm wondering if a Latin or special editing term exists for texts which was already in the target language in the original, and therefore has just been copied over onto the translation.

The situation is that I have an original document which contains text in the original language and short passages already in the target language. The text which can be found already in the target language is not 'pre-translated' - it is provided as it was originally spoken/written.

There are many mistakes throughout, in both languages, and I'd like to indicate that the text copied over is not my handiwork using a special term, if such a term exists.

I am aware of the term 'sic', and would like to know if there is a more specific term that could apply here.

Perhaps I need to post this is a separate question, but I'm also wondering if there is term to indicate that the translation provided is a 'best possible' / 'word-for-word' translation of a section from the original text which is incomprehensible due to it being written so badly, or because of a lack of context.

It is a legal document.

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    I doubt there is a term, but we could create one. My candidate is "stetograph" = something which by its nature must be allowed to stand unaltered.
    – Greg Lee
    May 21, 2015 at 18:17
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    I don't know of a word that means "a passage in the original text which was already in the language of the present translation". In the translator's preface one could explain the situation and say that such passages appear in a different font face to make them easy to identify.
    – TimR
    May 21, 2015 at 18:46
  • Ideally I'm looking for something inline with the text, as 'sic' is used, but if there's no such creature then explaining in the preface and using the alternative font seems like a good idea. May 21, 2015 at 22:41
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    I recall reading a short story, translated into English from Bengali, in which italics were used to indicate individual words that were already in English in the Bengali text. This of course had to be explained in a translator's note. The effect was a bit odd, since italics ineluctably suggest peculiar emphasis. Those printings of the King James Bible which use italics to indicate words without direct precedents in the original language have the same problem. May 22, 2015 at 11:38

2 Answers 2


Dale - there is no such common or abbreviated term for this situation.


Use "from the original" or "verbatim form the original" or "verbatim translation as seen in the original document" or "this section was presented, as seen here, in English, in the original document. All errors and idiocyncracies have been reproduced here verbatim." or "Quoted as such by the original text".

There are huge differences between an original passage that was ("originally") translated to English (perhaps by Google - whatever), and just an actual passage somehow from English (ie, "quoted by" the original author - NOT translated by that author) .. and so on.

Suggest just have to exactly spell it out -- in answer to your question there's no such common abbreviation/term for that situation. (Note too there are so many variants.)

  • Hey Dale - there is no such common or abbreviated term.
    – Fattie
    May 22, 2015 at 12:27

You could say that the translated sections in the original text are pre-translated segments, a term used by many translators (usually when talking about machine translation). If they are poorly translated, you could just make a note and specify that you did not translate them.

As for your second question, you could say something like, "given the lack of context, a literal translation was the only option."

I hope this helps.

  • Ideally I'm looking for something which is inline with the text, as 'sic' is used. May 21, 2015 at 22:38

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