In the past few days, I discovered that Amazon.es (Spain) is currently mistranslating a key role in book credits on its website. This became apparent with a recent book where my proper role is the Editor, not the Author. In addition to many other book titles where I am indeed the Author (and am properly listed as such on all Amazon websites worldwide), I have edited many books for fellow author clients (as part of a group of other publishing services). However, this is the first time I have become aware of the specific Amazon.es translation problem, since this Guatemalan client/author encouraged me to list me (as the Editor) in the Amazon credits. Fortunately, the word Editor appears properly on many other Amazon websites, including on the bilingual site Amazon.com (when displayed both in Castilian or in English) and on the Amazon.com.mx (México) website (in Castilian). Even though I don’t speak French or Portuguese, the term Editor seems to have been properly adapted on the Brazilian site Amazon.com.br (where it was left alone), on the French site Amazon.fr and on the Italian site Amazon.it. Ahead you’ll see visual evidence of the mistake, more details about the appropriate word, the inappropriate word, as well as independent backing from two other authoritative sources other than myself.
The proper way to express the role of Editor in Castilian
The proper way to express the role of Editor in Castilian (castellano) is written the same as in English (although pronounced differently): Editor (masculine) or Editora (feminine). The definition in the DcRAE (Diccionario castellano de la Real Academia Española) properly states what we mean when we say this word:
The term Editor fortunately appears correctly on Amazon.com and Amazon.com.mx
Below you’ll see how the bilingual Amazon.com site (set to Castilian) shows the term:
(Sadly, Amazon.com forgot to translate the word Illustrator, the way the Mexican and Spanish site did well, as you’ll see ahead.)
Below you’ll see how Amazon.com.mx (México, in Castilian) shows the term:
The inappropriate term used by Amazon.es (Spain)
Amazon.es (Spain) has inappropriately translated the word Editor as the Castilian word Redactor. as you’ll see in the capture below:
The definition from the DcRAE (Diccionario castellano de la Real Academia Española) properly states what we mean when we say this word Redactor (masculine) or Redactora (feminine):
Although in this case, it’s helpful to see the definition of the verb Redactar:
The best English translation of Redactar is to write. Although the Castilian verb Escribir is (in my opinion and that of many of my colleagues who write professionally in Castilian) much weaker than the verb Redactar, which is much stronger, the English language really has a single appropriate verb to encompass these two Castilian verbs Escribir and Redactar. This is one of many cases where one language can have much more subtleness than the other. Other examples I frequently mention are amar-querer (simply to love in English, but very different among the two Castilian verbs) or mimar-malcriar (simply to spoil in English, but very different among the two Castilian verbs).
A third authoritative source: a professional Spaniard journalist
Just in case both the DcRAE and I both might have missed a potential new usage of the term Redactor as used in Spain, I asked a good friend and professional Spaniard journalist who was born, raised and is located in the capital city of Madrid, Spain. She is Irene Jiménez Miragaya, co-owner and co-founder of the online magazine Audiovisual451.com and has also (thankfully) written the prologues in a couple of my books.
Irene completely supported my personal opinion and that of the DcRAE in this situation by responding:
Claro, el editor está por encima del redactor, supervisa su trabajo y vela por la línea editorial del medio… ¡Lo han traducido mal!
,,,or, translated to English:
Of course, the editor is above the redactor (writer). (The editor) supervises her/his work and watches over the editorial line of the medium… They translated it wrong!
The verbs Redactar and to redact are frequently “false friends”
In linguistics, a false friend is either of two words in different languages that look or sound similar, but differ significantly in meaning. In its current and most popular usage, the English definition of the verb to redact means something quite different from the Castilian verb Redactar clarified earlier. The most popular use of the English verb to redact nowadays is to remove or hide confidential or sensitive information. Although in very rare cases nowadays, to redact in English can also mean “to write”, the verb Redactar in Castilian never means to edit: Not in Castilian in the Americas nor in Spain.
Conclusions and suggestions
There are now three authoritative sources that agree that Amazon.es (Spain) has incorrectly translated the word Editor. I hope Amazon.es will soon correct it and make it appear properly as Editor. I would also appreciate it if (in the Castilian interface) they would allow selecting the feminine versions of each of the available roles, for use when configuring a book where the author, editor or illustrator is a woman. I am a man, but many of the authors I have helped publish books would prefer to appear as Autora rather than Autor whenever displayed in Castilian (or any other Amazon language where the role has a feminine version).
Este artículo está disponible en castellano
Este artículo está disponible también en castellano:
Amazon.es (España) traduce mal un rol clave (Editor) en los créditos de libros
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