We have started translating Noir Nation into Spanish. We could use some help. Should we keep the current spelling and word order? Or should we change it to Nación Noir? We’d like to get this right at the outset. Please comment.

6 thoughts on “

  1. I think for name and brand recognition it would be best to keep it as “Noir Nation.” Also, in Europe many many, actually most, products keep the English name. Other than countries that have two national languages, English is by and large THE second language for those in Europe who speak more than one, and in most countries they start studying English at age 6. People are used to seeing products and names in English. The word “nation” is not going to be a stretch for anyone.

  2. Noir as a genre is typically referred to in Spanish as “novela policial” or “literatura policial” which in many ways is an inappropriate term. The genre is also described as “género negro” or “género negro criminal” (one of the best crime fiction bookstores in Spain is actually called Negra y Criminal.) I’d go with Nación Noir because from the outset it tells Spanish-language readers that the publication will be in Spanish. The word “noir” is sufficiently associated with “film noir” to give people an idea of what to expect, even if at fist they might think it’s a publication about movies. By the way, if you are looking for help with the Spanish translations, I’d be more than happy to do my part. Translating is one of the things I do for a living and I’ve been reading noir fiction in both Spanish and English for years.

  3. To start with, “noir” is not even an English word, even if it’s been adopted into the language with specific connotations (see Merriam Webster for example), so there’s no real translation there. I just checked four on-line Spanish dictionaries–Diccionario de la Royal Academia Española, Diccionario panhispánico de dudas, wordreference.com, Diccionario de uso de español (María Moliner) and Google Translate–and two of my own, the Larousse Usual and Oceáno. It is either not in the dictionary, stays as is or is translated as “cine negro”, a film genre, not a writing one. So I’d say Nación Noir could even be misleading in a Spanish context. The jump from “nation” to “nación” is null. I’d leave it as Noir Nation.

  4. P.S. Actually, it was five on-line dictionaries, but who’s counting? And the Moliner one is called “Diccionario de uso del español.”

  5. Who said “noir” was a word in Spanish? It isn’t a word in English either but it still works perfectly as part the magazine’s title. “Noir” means “black” in English and “negro” in Spanish and in the Spanish-speaking world the crime fiction genre is known as “género negro” or “género policial.” On the other hand, there is no reason why a perfectly translatable word like “nation” couldn’t be translated to Spanish. Since it’s the word in the title that conveys the idea that noir is a nation with no borders my humble suggestion was to translate it instead of leaving it in English. No need to look at more dictionaries, especially not the María Moliner one, considering noir is not a word in Spanish anyway.

  6. These are great and passionate comments. And very helpful in deciding how to proceed not only for the Spanish version but also for the French which is currently under production.

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