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I'm translating a book I wrote some years ago from Portuguese to English, and there's a section that describes the locations, spaces and factions from a specific fictional work.

Whats the best word to use for this chapter's title: "Locations & Factions" or "Spaces & Factions"?

  • What is the original title in Portuguese? – Otavio Macedo Jun 14 '11 at 20:40
  • @Otavio Espaços e Facções – Geraldo Nascimento Jun 14 '11 at 23:08
  • @Joe It's science fiction, but the spaces refer to locations on Earth, nothing related to space exploration. – Geraldo Nascimento Jun 14 '11 at 23:09
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In this particular case I think you should pay attention to specific, geographical meaning of the word location

The terms location and place in geography are used to identify a point or an area on the earth's surface or elsewhere. The term 'location' generally implies a higher degree of can certainty than 'place' which often has a ambiguous boundary relying more on human/social attributes of place identity and sense of place than on geometry.

Therefore I vote for "Locations and Factions" (or "Places and Factions"; the slight difference of which, I presume, is not relevant for your translation).

"Space" is not adequate because in general sense it is a lot of things, but mainly

the boundless, three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction.

and in specialized, geographical sense

often considered as land, and can have a relation to ownership usage (in which space is seen as property or territory).

Therefor I believe that use of "spaces" would be a bit poetically wishful here.

Actually, that might not be a bad idea with another word: "Lands and Factions", which might work, although slightly metaphorically.

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If you're looking for a single word that encompasses all three concepts, I'd go with "milieu".

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Gazetteer is nice for a list of places (and possibly spaces: this isn't very clear in the question at present).

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Well, "location" carries a different connotation than "space" in common English. "A location" implies geography, specifically some named place like a city or landmark, while "a space" implies immediate surroundings and/or rooms of a building. So, the notion of "locations, spaces and factions" refers to three different ideas; the geographic places in a book, the individual spots in which scenes play out within those larger geographic locations, and the people (or groups of same) interacting within the locations and spaces.

As to what you should call the chapter, if "Locations, Spaces & Factions" isn't an option, I'd go with "Locations & Factions", as the geographically-connotated "locations" can be inferred to include the more specific "spaces".

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Places and factions is best.

Geographical divisions are called regions, so use region instead of place if the places are large divisions of territory that would be shown as shapes, rather than dots, on a map. Near-synonyms for region include land, realm, section, district, and zone.

A part of a larger book that is an alphabetical listing of people and places, with short explanations, is a glossary. If the chapter in question is like that, it could be called Glossary of Regions and Factions.

  • I get the feeling there's a word that fits in "biographical ___" and "geographical ___" better than "glossary", but if so, I can't remember what it is. – Jason Orendorff Jun 14 '11 at 20:38
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How about "Areas & Factions"? It seems like you are looking for a word that describes not specific places, but larger regions with blurred boundaries. So, "area" could be a good option.

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